Journal article

Measurement of the translation and impact from a childhood obesity trial programme: rationale and protocol for a research impact assessment

Public health Public health evaluation Child health Overweight children Research impact Social impact Australia
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Background: There is growing recognition amongst health and medical research funders and researchers that translation of research into policy and practice needs to increase and that more transparency is needed on how impacts are realised. Several approaches are advocated for achieving this, including co-production of research or academic-practitioner research. The Population Health Unit (PHU) within the Hunter New England Local Health District in regional Australia, as an early adopter of this model, has been working to increase the likelihood that its research is translated into community health benefits. With the New South Wales Ministry of Health, the PHU responded to the burden of child overweight and obesity by combining service delivery with research expertise. The ‘Good for Kids, Good for Life’ (Good for Kids) dissemination trial was developed and implemented in seven community settings in the Hunter region of Australia between 2006 and 2010. This study aims to undertake a retrospective impact assessment to measure the research translation and impact of Good for Kids.

Methods: The method will be based upon the application of the Framework to Assess the Impact from Translational health research (FAIT), comprising three core elements, namely quantified metrics, economic assessment and a narrative of the process by which the research in question translates and generates impact.

Discussion: Increasingly, funders are interested both in the outcomes resulting from investments in health research and in the expected return on their investments. FAIT was developed specifically for this purpose and its use is anticipated to provide transparency to the pathway to translation and potentially drive increased investment in translational research programmes such as Good for Kids.

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