Building on foundational research strengths and responding to gaps in public health practitioner ability to address health needs and disparities, in 2021, the UT Southwestern Medical Center established the Peter O’Donnell Jr. School of Public Health and in early 2022 has begun planning for the Center for Implementation Science (CIS) to meet evolving public health challenges. While challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the power of basic science to develop vaccines, it also exposed difficulties in vaccine delivery. Implementation science—the study of how to actualize benefits of research discoveries for people in the real world— strives to reduce these difficulties. This emerging field employs stakeholder-engaged approaches to develop strategies to deliver effective health interventions. In the case of COVID-19 vaccines, strategies could address manufacturing at scale, storage, and equitable delivery and acceptance in diverse communities. Promoting adoption of effective interventions requires a deep understanding of the people and settings where they will be used and factors for individuals, organizations, communities, and broader social environments that influence use. Implementation science moves beyond tightly controlled traditional clinical trials to research in real-world settings. Implementation scientists engage diverse stakeholders (healthcare administrators and clinicians, community leaders, and patients), to build knowledge, skills, and capacity for practice change. This learning is invaluable for research settings and for healthcare organizations that can use findings to create real improvements in their communities. The focus on the diverse stakeholders in implementation science requires dedicated, accessible space for outreach and engagement. Led by national experts, the CIS will use requested funds to renovate space and purchase equipment to support its threefold mission of community engagement, multidisciplinary trai
ning, and research to advance reach and impact of health discoveries. The HRSA Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) construction projects funds will be used to modernize and renovate existing interior space on the second floor or entrance/ground level in the Florence (E) building, found in the middle of UTSW’s South Campus, the educational heart of the Medical Center. The CIS space is planned as a single-phased renovation project of 9,290 SF. Plans include creation of a large meeting place accessible to community members, students, public health practitioners and researchers to engage, learn, and conduct research aimed at improving health in the community, in the region, and in the nation. The space will include 2 large classrooms, a community space, huddles spaces and offices.