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Am J Ind Med. 1996 Apr;29(4):324-8.

Intervention research: a model from the National Cancer Institute's Smoking and Tobacco Control Program.

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Public Health Agency Section, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MD, USA.


Recognizing that the scientific method is as critical to cancer control as it is to basic laboratory research, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) established a well-defined, systematic strategy for attaining its cancer control goals and objectives. This strategy, operationalized in the early 1980s as a five-phase process, emphasized cancer control as a research science rather than a demonstration science. The five phases of NCI's cancer control research strategy progress from hypothesis development, to methods development, to controlled intervention trials, to defined population studies, and finally to demonstration and implementation programs. This research base provides the foundation for nationwide prevention and health services programs. The application of this five-phase approach to NCI's efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality attributable to tobacco use is described, and some of the challenges that faced the Institute in this process are identified. These experiences provide an important framework for other disciplines faced with the challenge of translating science into practice.

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