Skip to main content

Moving Knowledge into Action: Developing the Rapid Synthesis and Translation Process Within the Interactive Systems Framework


The Interactive Systems Framework (ISF) for Dissemination and Implementation presents an overall framework for translating knowledge into action. Each of its three systems requires further clarification and explanation to truly understand how to conduct this work. This article describes the development and initial application of the Rapid Synthesis and Translation Process (RSTP) using the exchange model of knowledge transfer in the context of one of the ISF systems: the Prevention Synthesis and Translation System (see [special issue “introduction” article] for a translation of the Wandersman et al. (Am J Community Psychol 41:3–4, 2008) article using the RSTP). This six-step process, which was developed by and for the Division of Violence Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in collaboration with partners, serves as an example of how a federal agency can expedite the transfer of research knowledge to practitioners to prevent violence. While the RSTP itself represents one of the possible functions in the Prevention Synthesis and Translation System, the resulting products affect both prevention support and prevention delivery as well. Examples of how practitioner and researcher feedback were incorporated into the Rapid Synthesis and Translation Process are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. 1.

    The Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) Grant Program provides more than $42 million in funding to support rape prevention activities in all 50 states, 8 territories, and the District of Columbia. The Rape Prevention and Education Program: At A Glance, available at, describes the authorizing legislation and approved uses for RPE funding and provides examples of prevention activities from various states and territories.

  2. 2.

    Violence Education Tools Online;



Rapid Synthesis and Translation Process


Interactive Systems Framework


Prevention Synthesis and Translation System


Prevention Delivery System


Prevention Support System


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


National Center for Injury Prevention and Control


Division of Violence Prevention


Rape Prevention Education


  1. Backer, T. E. (2000). The failure of success: Challenges of disseminating effective substance abuse prevention programs. Journal of Community Psychology, 28(3), 363–373.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Backer, T. E., David, S. L., & Soucy, G. (1995). Introduction. In T. E. Backer, S. L. David, & G. Soucy (Eds.), Reviewing the behavioral science knowledge base on technology transfer (Vol. 155, pp. 147–168). Rockville, MD: National Institute on Drug Abuse.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Balas, E. A., & Boren, S. A. (2000). Yearbook of medical informatics: Managing clinical knowledge for health care improvement. Stuttgart, Germany: Schattauer Verlagsgesellschaft mbH.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Brussoni, M., Towner, E., & Hayes, M. (2006). Evidence into practice: Combining the art and science of injury prevention. Injury prevention, 12, 373–377.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Clancy, C. M., & Cronin, K. (2005). Evidence-based decision making: Global evidence, local decisions. Health Affairs, 24(1), 151–162.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Dawkins, N., Wethington, H., Kettel Khan, L., Grunbaum, J. A., Robin, L., Pitt Barnes, S., et al. (2010). Applying the systematic screening and assessment method to childhood obesity prevention. New Directions for Evaluation, 2010(125), 33–49.

  7. Ganann, R., Ciliska, D., & Thomas, H. (2010). Expediting systematic reviews: methods and implications of rapid reviews. Implementation Science, 5, 56.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Glasgow, R. E., Vogt, T. M., & Boles, S. (1999). Evaluating the public health impact of health promotion interventions: The RE-AIM framework. American Journal of Public Health, 89(9), 1323–1327.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Graham, I. D., Logan, J., Harrison, M. B., Straus, S. E., Tetro, J., Caswell, W., et al. (2006). Lost in knowledge translation: Time for a map? The Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 26(1), 13–24.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Institute of Medicine. (1994). Reducing risks for mental disorders: Frontiers for preventive intervention research. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Jack, S., & Tommyr, L. (2008). Knowledge transfer and exchange: Disseminating Canadian child maltreatment surveillance findings to decision makers. Child Indicators Research, 1, 51–64.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Klein, K. J., & Sorra, J. S. (1996). The challenge of innovation implementation. Academy of Management Review, 2(4), 1055–1071.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Knox, L. M., & Aspy, C. B. (2011). Quality improvement as a tool for translating evidence based interventions into practice: What the youth violence prevention community can learn from healthcare. American Journal of Community Psychology, 48, 56–64.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Landry, R., Amara, N., & Laamary, M. (1998). Utilization of social science research knowledge in Canada. Research Policy, 30, 333–349.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Lavis, J., Ross, S., McLeod, C., & Gildiner, A. (2003). Measuring the impact of health research. Journal of Health Services Research & Policy, 8(3), 165–170.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Lomas, J. (2000). Using ‘linkage and exchange’ to move research into policy at a Canadian foundation. Health Affairs, 19(3), 236–240.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Lomas, J. (2003). Health services research: More lessons from Kaiser Permanente and Veterans’ Affairs healthcare system. British Medical Journal, 327, 1301.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Mallonee, S., Fowler, C., & Istre, G. R. (2006). Bridging the gap between research and practice: A continuing challenge. Injury prevention, 12, 357–359.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Mercy, J. A., Rosenberg, M. L., Powell, K. E., Broome, C. V., & Roper, W. L. (1993). Public health policy for prevention of violence. Health Affairs, 12(4), 7–29.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC Injury Research Agenda, 2009–2018. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2009. Available at

  21. Reardon, R., Lavis, J., & Gibson, J. (2006). From research to practice: A knowledge transfer planning guide. Toronto, ON: Institute for Work and Health.

  22. Rimer, B. K., Glanz, K., & Rasband, G. (2001). Searching for evidence about health education and health behavior interventions. Health Education & Behavior, 28(2), 231–248.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (2009). The synthesis project. Retrieved from

  24. Rogers, E. M. (1995). Diffusion of innovations (4th ed.). New York: Free Press.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Saul, J., Wandersman, A., Flaspohler, P., Duffy, J., Lubell, K., & Noonan, R. (2008). Research and action for bridging science and practice in prevention. American Journal of Community Psychology, 41(3–4), 165–170. doi:10.1007/s10464-008-9169-9.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Schoenwald, S. K., & Hoagwood, K. (2001). Effectiveness, transportability, and dissemination of interventions: What matters when? Psychiatric Services, 52(9), 1190–1197.

    PubMed  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Wandersman, A., Duffy, J., Flasphor, P., Noonan, R., Lubell, K., Stillman, L., et al. (2008). Bridging the gap between prevention research and practice: The interactive systems framework for dissemination and implementation. American Journal of Community Psychology, 41, 3–4.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. Watt, A., Cameron, A., Sturm, L., Lathlean, T., Babridge, W., Blamey, S., et al. (2008). Rapid versus full systematic reviews: Validity in clinical practice?. Australian and New Zealand (ANZ) Journal of Surgeons, 78, 1037–1040.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information



Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sally Thigpen.

Additional information

The findings and conclusions in this submission are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Thigpen, S., Puddy, R.W., Singer, H.H. et al. Moving Knowledge into Action: Developing the Rapid Synthesis and Translation Process Within the Interactive Systems Framework. Am J Community Psychol 50, 285–294 (2012).

Download citation


  • Synthesis
  • Translation
  • Dissemination
  • Implementation
  • Violence