Disseminating Policy and Environmental Change Interventions: Insights from Obesity Prevention and Tobacco Control

  • Jennifer Leeman
  • Allison E. Myers
  • Kurt M. Ribisl
  • Alice S. Ammerman



Public health and other practitioners increasingly are being asked to implement policy and environmental change interventions, yet many practitioners lack the knowledge, skills, and resources to do so. In response to this need, a growing number of organizations are disseminating evidence-based interventions (EBIs) and building practitioners’ capacity to use those interventions in practice. Although advances have been made on approaches to disseminating individual-level EBIs, little is known about the optimal way to disseminate EBIs to promote policy and environmental change.


This paper describes the approach that two projects developed to disseminate policy and environmental change interventions. The Center for Training and Research Translation (Center TRT) disseminates EBIs to promote physical activity and healthy eating. Counter Tobacco disseminates EBIs to counter tobacco product sales and marketing in the retail environment.


Both Centers (1) identify the best available evidence, (2) disseminate menus of intervention strategies, (3) provide implementation guidance, (4) incorporate stories from the field, (5) build practitioners’ capacity, and (6) integrate dissemination into practitioners’ existing social networks. The Centers’ process evaluations included website analytics and online surveys.


Over 26,000 unique visitors accessed the Center TRT website in 2012 and over 17,000 have accessed Counter Tobacco’s site since its launch in August 2011. The majority of respondents to Centers’ surveys agreed that resources were easy to access and use.


Both Centers have had success reaching their intended audiences. Research is now needed to assess the extent of practitioners’ use of Center resources and the impact of the resulting interventions.


Dissemination Obesity prevention Tobacco control Public health Evidence-based practice Research translation 



The authors would like to thank members of the Comprehensive Cancer Control Collaborative of North Carolina (4CNC) research team for their reviews of earlier drafts of this manuscript.

Funding Statement

The work reported in this paper was funded through Cooperative Agreement No. U48-DP001944 to the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC. Jennifer Leeman’s work on the paper was also supported by the UNC Mentored Career Development Program in Comparative Effectiveness (grant no. K12 HS019468 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality). The findings of this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the funding agencies.

Conflict of Interest

Jennifer Leeman and Alice Ammerman declare that they have no conflicts of interest or financial disclosures to report.

Allison Myers receives compensation as the Deputy Director of Counter Tools, a nonprofit organization providing software, training, and technical assistance to communities addressing point of sale tobacco control and obesity issues.

Kurt Ribisl receives compensation as the Executive Director of Counter Tools.


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Copyright information

© International Society of Behavioral Medicine 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer Leeman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Allison E. Myers
    • 3
  • Kurt M. Ribisl
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Alice S. Ammerman
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.School of NursingUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  2. 2.Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (a CDC Prevention Research Center)University of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public HealthUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  4. 4.Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, School of MedicineUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  5. 5.Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health and School of MedicineUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA

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