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J Cancer Educ. 2012 Dec;27(4):680-6. doi: 10.1007/s13187-012-0395-3.

Challenges to replicating evidence-based research in real-world settings: training African-American peers as patient navigators for colon cancer screening.

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Department of Oncological Sciences, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY 10029, USA.


Many cancer-prevention interventions have demonstrated effectiveness in diverse populations, but these evidenced-based findings slowly disseminate into practice. The current study describes the process of disseminating and replicating research (i.e., peer patient navigation for colonoscopy screening) in real-world settings. Two large metropolitan hospitals collaborated to replicate a peer patient navigation model within their existing navigation systems. Six African-American peer volunteers were recruited and trained to navigate patients through colonoscopy scheduling and completion. Major challenges included: (1) operating within multiple institutional settings; (2) operating within nonacademic/research infrastructures; (3) integrating into an established navigation system; (4) obtaining support of hospital staff without overburdening; and (5) competing priorities and time commitments. Bridging the gap between evidence-based research and practice is critical to eliminating many cancer health disparities; therefore, it is crucial that researchers and practitioners continue to work to achieve both diffusion and fusion of evidence-based findings. Recommendations for addressing these challenges are discussed.

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