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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2010 Dec;55 Suppl 1:S27-31. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e3181f9c1da.

Implementation science for the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS.

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Department of Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY 10065, USA.


Implementation science is the scientific study of methods to promote the integration of research findings and evidence-based interventions into health care policy and practice and hence to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services and care. Implementation science is distinguished from monitoring and evaluation by its emphasis on the use of the scientific method. The origins of implementation science include operations research, industrial engineering, and management science. Today, implementation science encompasses a broader range of methods and skills including decision science and operations research, health systems research, health outcomes research, health and behavioral economics, epidemiology, statistics, organization and management science, finance, policy analysis, anthropology, sociology, and ethics. Examples of implementation science research are presented for HIV prevention (prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, male circumcision) and HIV and drug use (syringe distribution, treating drug users with antiretroviral therapy and opioid substitution therapy). For implementation science to become an established field in HIV/AIDS research, there needs to be better coordination between funders of research and funders of program delivery and greater consensus on scientific research approaches and standards of evidence.

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