Transdisciplinary Training in Health Research: Distinctive Features and Future Directions

  • Shalini MisraEmail author
  • Daniel Stokols
  • Kara Hall
  • Annie Feng


The malaria and AIDS epidemics, rising cancer, diabetes, and obesity rates are but some of the tremendously complex global health challenges of the twenty-first century. Since these challenges do not lie in the domain of any one academic discipline, many scholars have recognized that if they are to be tackled effectively, a new generation of scientists and health promotion practitioners must be trained to ensure that they have the requisite conceptual, methodological, and interpersonal skills to enable them to bridge traditional discipline-based, regional, and cultural boundaries (Nash, 2008; Nash et al., 2003; National Academy of Sciences, 2003; von Ruschkowski, 2003).


Academic Discipline Social Ecology Disciplinary Perspective Curricular Component Postdoctoral Trainee 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank the editors for the helpful comments on earlier versions of the chapter.


  1. Bammer, G. (2008). The case for a new discipline of integration and implementation sciences (I2S). Integration Insights. Retrieved May 6, 2008, from
  2. Bradbeer, J. (1999). Barriers to interdisciplinarity: Disciplinary discourses and student learning. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 23(3), 381–396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Campbell, D. T. (1969). Ethnocentrism of disciplines and the fish-scale model of omniscience. In M. Sherif & C. W. Sherif (Eds.), Interdisciplinary relationships in the social sciences(pp. 328–348). Chicago, IL: Aldine Press.Google Scholar
  4. Chang, S., Hursting, S. D., Perkins, S. N., Dores, G. M., & Weed, D. L. (2005). Adapting postdoctoral training to interdisciplinary science in the 21st century: The cancer prevention fellowship program at the National Cancer Institute. Academic Medicine, 80(3), 261–265.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Fuqua, J., Stokols, D., Gress, J., Phillips, K., & Harvey, R. (2004). Transdisciplinary scientific collaboration as a basis for enhancing the science and prevention of substance use and abuse. Substance Use and Misuse, 39(10–12), 1457–1514.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. ID-SURE. (2004). UCI interdisciplinary summer undergraduate research experience. Retrieved June 17, 2008, from
  7. Kahn, R. L., & Prager, D. J. (1994). Interdisciplinary collaborations are scientific and social imperative. The Scientist, 8, 12.Google Scholar
  8. Kessel, F. S., Rosenfield, P. L., & Anderson, N. B. (Eds.). (2008). Interdisciplinary research: Case studies from health and social science. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Lattuca, L. R. (2001). Creating interdisciplinarity. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Misra, S., Stokols, D., Harvey, R., Pine, K., Fuqua, J., Shokair, S., et al. (2009). Evaluating an interdisciplinary undergraduate training program in health promotion research. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 36(4), 358–365. Retrieved July 31, 2010, from Google Scholar
  11. Mitrany, M., & Stokols, D. (2005). Gauging the transdisciplinary qualities and outcomes of doctoral training programs. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 24, 437–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Morgan, G., Kobus, K., Gerlach, K. K., Neighbors, C., Lerman, C., Abrams, D. B., et al. (2003). Facilitating transdisciplinary research: The experience of the transdisciplinary tobacco use research centers. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 5(Suppl. 1), S11–S19.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Nash, J. M. (2008). Transdisciplinary training programs: Key components and prerequisites for success. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 35(2S), S133–S140.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Nash, J. M., Collins, B. N., Loughlin, S. E., Solbrig, M., Harvey, R., Krishnan-Sarin, S., et al. (2003). Training the transdisciplinary scientist: A general framework applied to tobacco use behavior. Nictoine and Tobacco Research, 5(S-1), S41–S53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. National Academy of Sciences. (2003). The NAS/keck initiative to transform interdisciplinary research. Retrieved July 18, 2003, from
  16. National Cancer Institute. (2008). National Cancer Institute cancer prevention fellowship program. Retrieved December 28, 2008, from
  17. Nyden, P. (2003). Academic incentives for faculty participation in community-based participatory research. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 18, 576–585.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Rhoten, D., & Parker, A. (2004). Risks and rewards of an interdisciplinary research path. Science, 306(5704), 2046.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (2008). Robert Wood Johnson Foundation health and society scholars. Retrieved December 27, 2008, from
  20. Rosenfield, P. L. (1992). The potential of transdisciplinary research for sustaining and extending linkages between the health and social sciences. Social Science and Medicine, 35(11), 1343–1357.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Stokols, D. (1998). The future of interdisciplinarity in the School of Social Ecology. Retrieved March 25, 2005, from
  22. Stokols, D. (2006). Toward a science of transdisciplinary action research. American Journal of Community Psychology, 38(1), 63–77.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Stokols, D., Fuqua, J., Gress, J., Harvey, R., Phillips, K., Baezconde-Garbanati, L., et al. (2003). Evaluating transdisciplinary science. Nicotine and Tobacco Research, 5(Suppl. 1), S21–S39.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Stokols, D., Hall, K. L., Taylor, B., & Moser, R. P. (2008). The science of team science: Overview of the field and introduction to the supplement. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 35(2S), S77–S89.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Stokols, D., Harvey, R., Gress, J., Fuqua, J., & Phillips, K. (2005). In vivo studies of transdisciplinary scientific collaboration: Lessons learned and implications for active living research. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 28(2S2), 202–213.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. UC Irvine. (2008). UCI School of Social Ecology. Retrieved December 28, 2008, from
  27. von Ruschkowski, E. (2003). Changes in the world of science: The realities of interdisciplinary training. Science. Retrieved July 31, 2010, from
  28. Younglove-Webb, J., Gray, B., Abdalla, C. W., & Purvis Thurow, A. (1999). The dynamics of multidisciplinary research teams in academia. The Review of Higher Education, 22(4), 425–440.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shalini Misra
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Daniel Stokols
    • 2
  • Kara Hall
    • 2
  • Annie Feng
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Social EcologyUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA
  2. 2.School of Social EcologyUniversity of CaliforniaIrvineUSA

Personalised recommendations