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Am J Public Health. 2011 Nov;101(11):2059-67. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300193. Epub 2011 Sep 22.

An agenda for research on the sustainability of public health programs.

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Scheirer Consulting, Princeton,NJ, USA.


Funders of programs in public health and community health are increasingly concerned about the sustainability of changes they initiate. Despite a recent increase in sustainability research and evaluation, this literature has not developed a widely used paradigm for conducting research that can accumulate into generalizable findings. We provide guidance for research and evaluation of health program sustainability, including definitions and types of sustainability, specifications and measurements of dependent variables, definitions of independent variables or factors that influence sustainability, and suggestions for designs for research and data collection. We suggest viewing sustainability research as a further stage in the translation or dissemination of research-based interventions into practice. This perspective emphasizes ongoing relationships with earlier stages of a broader diffusion framework, including adoption and implementation processes.

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