Translational research


In 2010, PRC initiated a formal research program in translational research, following a successful proposal for a NSW Health Department Capacity Building and Infrastructure Grant for the period 2010-June 2013. This research program is investigating various aspects of translational research as they pertain to health promotion interventions, such as: the extent to which interventions have been translated and transformed into large-scale population programs and policies; the factors which influence these processes; and patterns whereby health promotion research influences public health policies and practices more generally. This research program supports the PRC’s capacity to actively use research knowledge to influence health service practice and policy. The work continues with support from the PHHSRS grant.

Key concepts in translational research

A PRC paper explores the scope of "Translation in public health" and proposes for different "translation processes" that support evidence-based practice.

Related publication:
Rychetnik L, Bauman A, Laws R, King L, Rissel C, Nutbeam D, Colagiuri S, Caterson I.Translating research for evidence-based public health: key concepts and future directions. JECH 2012 (Online First, published on May 8, 2012 as 10.1136/jech-2011-200038)

While evidence reviews are widely used to inform the development of policy and intervention programs, they do not always report or examine external validity. External validity refers to the degree to which fındings from a study or set of studies can be more broadly generalized to populations and settings beyond those in the original studies, and is the focus of a PRC paper:
Laws R, St.George A, Rychetnik L, Bauman A. Diabetes prevention research: a systematic review of external validity in lifestyle interventions. Am J Prev Med 2012;43(2):205–214.

Policy and practice impacts of research

PRC staff (Lesley King, Adrian Bauman) were successful in obtaining an NHMRC Project Grant: Characteristics of intervention research that progresses to 'real world' implementation. (CIs: Chapman S, Redman S, Rychetnik L, Milat A, King L.)

Related publications:
Milat A, King L, Redman S, Bauman A. The concept of scalability: increasing the scale and potential adoption of health promotion interventions into policy and practice. Health Promot Int (advance online Jan 2012)

Milat A, King L, Redman S, Bauman A. Scaling up health promotion interventions: an emerging concept in implementation science. Health Promot J Aust 2011; 22(3): 238-239

Evidence-building for policy and practice

There are multiple stages in the process of building evidence for health promotion.
There is growing interest in "translation research" stages, which seek to identify how intervention outcome can be achieved in different settings, populations or on a larger scale.

Related publication:
Rissel C, Laws R, St George A, Hector D, Milat AJ and Baur LA. Research to practice: application of an evidence-building framework to a childhood obesity prevention initiative in New South Wales. Health Promotion Journal of Australia2012; 23(1): 16-24

Studies on media

Two publications (based on studies funded by PANORG) highlight how news media frame physical activity and sweet drinks topics. In one study, we found that TV news stories on physical activity tend to reinforce social beliefs about individual responsibility, and downplay the role of policy and environments. The other study on print media found that fruit juice was prominent in news stories about sweet drinks, and primarily portrayed as having health benefits, whilst health risks associated with sweet drinks received less coverage.

Related publications:
Bonfiglioli C, Smith BJ, King L, Chapman S, Holding S, Bauman A. Risky exercise - is physical activity losing the news race? Australian Journalism Review 2011; 33(1): 73-84

Bonfiglioli C, Hattersley L, King L. Australian print news media coverage of sweet, non-alcoholic drinks sends mixed health messages. Aust NZ J Public Health 2011; 35(4): 325-330