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How can we adapt complex population health interventions for new contexts? Progressing debates and research priorities

Evans, Rhiannon ORCID:, Moore, Graham ORCID:, Movsisyan, Ani and Rehfuess, Eva 2020. How can we adapt complex population health interventions for new contexts? Progressing debates and research priorities. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 75 (1) , pp. 40-45. 10.1136/jech-2020-214468

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Introduction: The UK Medical Research Council and National Institute for Health Research have funded the ADAPT study (2018–2020), to develop methodological guidance for the adaptation of complex population health interventions for new contexts. While there have been advances in frameworks, there are key theoretical and methodological debates to progress. The ADAPT study convened a panel meeting to identify and enrich these debates. This paper presents the panel’s discussions and suggests directions for future research. Methods: Sixteen researchers and one policymaker convened for a 1-day meeting in July 2019. The aim was to reflect on emerging study findings (systematic review of adaptation guidance; scoping review of case examples; and qualitative interviews with funders, journal editors, researchers and policymakers), progress theoretical and methodological debates, and consider where innovation may be required to address research gaps. Discussion: Despite the proliferation of adaptation frameworks, questions remain over the definition of basic concepts (eg, adaptation). The rationale for adaptation, which often focuses on differences between contexts, may lead to adaptation hyperactivity. Equal emphasis should be placed on similarities. Decision-making about intervention modification currently privileges the concept of ‘core components’, and work is needed to progress the use and operationalisation of ‘functional fidelity’. Language and methods must advance to ensure meaningful engagement with diverse stakeholders in adaptation processes. Further guidance is required to assess the extent of re-evaluation required in the new context. A better understanding of different theoretical perspectives, notably complex systems thinking, implementation science and realist evaluation may help in enhancing research on adaptation.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer)
Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group
ISSN: 0143-005X
Funders: Wellcome Trust
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 August 2020
Date of Acceptance: 24 August 2020
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2023 17:03

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