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Translational health research: perspectives from health education specialists

DOI: 10.1186/2001-1326-1-27

Keywords: Translational research, Health promotion, Health education specialists, Health disparities

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Abstract:

Health Education Specialists have the training and experience to engage in and facilitate translational research, as well as the opportunity to learn from the translational efforts of other professions and enhance our research, practice, and community partnerships through translational efforts. In this paper, a Translational Health Education Research framework for health education researchers is suggested to foster increased translational efforts within our profession as well as to promote interdisciplinary collaborations to translate a variety of health-related research. A conceptual framework adapted from translational health disparities research that highlights the level and scope of translational research necessary for changes in practice and policy is also provided.A recent commentary [1] focused on diverse interpretations and definitions of clinical and translational medicine. Health Education Specialists and health disparities researchers have a particular interest in translational health disparities research and community health. Health disparities have been defined as “systematic, plausibly avoidable health differences that adversely affect socially disadvantaged groups” ([2], p. S151). Health equity – the concept of social justice in health – thus involves addressing structural and societal barriers that get in the way of people being able to attain optimal health [2]. The integration of a “social mission” perspective [1] among clinical translational scientists has been prioritized, and it is important for our public health colleagues to consider their own role in the translational research process. The phrase “from bench to bedside to curbside” is a common definition of translational research among health disparities researchers [3]. Health Education Specialists make important contributions to the field of clinical translational medicine, particularly in light of U.S. health care reform and a renewed emphasis on medical home or health care home [4] models

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