Implementation to Maximize Population and Community Translation
(IMPaCT Core)

At CTSI, we use “IMPaCT” to mean the positive effect of research on society, including its effects on healthcare delivery; on financing and policy; and, ultimately, on the health and well-being of individuals and communities themselves. Even after we have envisioned how a research finding will impact society, we often run into barriers and delays when attempting to move it into the real world. CTSI has created the IMPaCT Core to accelerate this movement.

The path to real-world impact becomes easier when researchers keep the steps necessary to reach it in view. The “Path to Impact” from Step 1, where a research question is developed, to the final steps, where research findings are impacting practice, policy, and/or individual and community health, is illustrated below. Click the boxes to see examples of things to consider on the path to impact.

Develop New Research Question
  • Consider impact regardless of where your research lies on the translational continuum.
  • Consider the end users: healthcare providers, patients and their families, and others to get a 360° view of a problem.
  • What is the specific health problem motivating your research – as it is viewed by healthcare professionals (like difficulty titrating insulin in real-time) and patients (like how to live day-to-day while controlling diabetes)?
  • Start with a problem from within the places where you want to create change -- rather than a solution from within your own research community.
  • Who will be affected directly or indirectly, positively or negatively, by your research?
    • This may include those in your research community, those who will be offered or who will receive a related healthcare intervention, those who will deliver such an intervention, and/or systems that support the intervention or cause blockages.
  • How will your team engage these individuals and ensure research reciprocity?
    • Would it be possible or beneficial to integrate them into the research design, conduct, analysis/interpretation, or dissemination process?
  • What are the implications of your study design for how patients, providers, and policymakers will act on your findings in the real world?
    • Are there alternative research designs that would produce more actionable findings?
  • Whose expertise could help strengthen your study design?
    • Look across geographic regions and disciplines, both inside and outside academia, and include stakeholders and end-users.
  • What outcomes will be important in determining how far you have succeeded in making an impact
    • How can you measure these outcomes?
  • Where does your research lie on the translational continuum?
    • Does your research question most directly address basic science, efficacy, effectiveness, dissemination, implementation, or patient/community impact?
  • When things don’t go as planned, how can you make changes while maintaining your goals for impact?
  • Does your research point towards a solution to the specific health problem you started with?
    • Are there contextual factors that are needed to make your solution work in the real world, or that limit its applicability?
  • Who can conduct further research to build on your findings?
    • This may include researchers in other disciplines, including both applied and basic sciences, physical and social sciences, and humanities, and may involve moving forward or backward on the translational continuum.
  • How will your findings reach the people and communities they might help?
  • If you have produced actionable findings, how can you help them reach individuals, populations, and/or communities in a meaningful way?
Improve Community & Population Health

How CTSI Can Help

CTSI can enhance your research impact by:

  • Designing, planning, and conducting research using tools and approaches that maximize future impact.
  • Writing compelling “Impact” statements for grant applications.
  • Integrating stakeholders into each step of the research process.
  • Disseminating study findings to interested stakeholders (community outreach, policymakers, health systems, public health officials, etc.).
  • Accelerating translational research impact through dissemination & implementation services.
  • Providing facilitator support for research implementation and implementation science projects.
  • Providing pilot funding.
  • Providing training in dissemination and implementation (MS, Certificate, non-credit courses, seminars, workshops, DISC videos, etc.).

Failure to adopt effective clinical practices is a pervasive problem in US healthcare. Only 14% of evidence is translated to patient care and it can take up to 17 years.

The IMPaCT core’s mission is to encourage investigators to consider impact early and often in their research, regardless of where it lies on the translational continuum.

Are you ready to make an impact?

Failure to adopt effective clinical practices is a pervasive problem in US healthcare. Only 14% of evidence is translated to patient care and it can take up to 17 years.

The IMPaCT core’s mission is to encourage investigators to consider impact early and often in their research, regardless of where it lies on the translational continuum.

Questions to Consider

Overall Health Problems

What is the overall health problem motivating my research? Tip: This is the broad area of health concerns, like diabetes or opioid overuse. It will help you provide more context for the specific health problem you plan to address.


Who will be impacted by my research? Tip: Specify the stakeholders that will be impacted now or in the future (at-risk population, patients, providers, caregivers, insurers, researchers, policy makers, purchasers, administrators, community organizations, and industry). How will our team reflect, engage, and benefit these stakeholders? Tip: Consider having a stakeholder as part of the team or even integrate them into the research design process. Also, consider the anticipated benefits to the stakeholders who participate.

Specific Problem

What can my research change? What is the specific problem I will address? Tip: Think about how you can specifically state the health problem in a single sentence. For example: Overall health problem might be diabetes but your specific problem might be the difficulty in accurately titrating the insulin in a real-time manner.


What is our hypothesized solution to the problem? Tips: Consider writing out your solution using hypothesis language.

How will my team work to address the problem? Who will be on my team? Tips: Speak to your team about the project, thinking about the path to a solution and your current team and your work can lead to that outcome.

What type of study will we conduct?

Ultimate Impact

How will our research ultimately contribute to improving the health of individuals, communities, and populations? Tips: Think about the stakeholders and how success is measured.

Steps in The Path to IMPACT

How will our project inform progression along the translational continuum? Tips: Next steps may be clear and more distant steps less clear.

Aim 1: Accelerate translational research impact through D&I services, tools, and pilot funding.

IMPACT Facilitators

Stakeholder Engagement
Human-Centered Design
Commercial Translation

D & I Playbook

Online playbook
Comprehensive, searchable catalogue of resources (Pitt & beyond)
Regularly updated

Pilot Funding

Targeted Pilot Studies program
Support exploratory D&I research
Partner with Other Cores (e.g., Community Engagement, Health Informatics)

Aim 2: Train translational investigators in D&I science.

ICRE Course & Micro-credentialing

D & I track
D & I modules with certification

Seminars & Online Videos

Seminar series
Online videos
Target different stakeholders: researchers, clinicians, etc.

Annual Workshop

Advance the field of D & I
Learn from other fields, e.g., systems science, commercial translation

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Janet Freburger, PT, PhD
Co-director, IMPACT Core
Phone: 412-383-3281
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John Maier, PhD, MD
Co-director, Implementation Lab
Phone: 412-383-2319
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Shari Rogal, MD, MPH
Co-director, IMPACT Core & Implementation Lab
Phone: 866-482-7488
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Christine McDonough, PhD, PT
Faculty, IMPACT Core & Implementation Lab
Phone: 412-383-4603
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Natalie Leland, PhD, OTR/L, BCG, FAOTA, FGSA
Faculty, IMPACT Core & Implementation Lab
Phone: 412-383-3405