Bridging the gap between basic science and clinical practice: A role for community clinicians

Katherine Kahn*, Gery Ryan, Megan Beckett, Stephanie Taylor, Claude Berrebi, Michelle Cho, Elaine Quiter, Allen Fremont, Harold Pincus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Background: Translating the extraordinary scientific and technological advances occurring in medical research laboratories into care for patients in communities throughout the country has been a major challenge. One contributing factor has been the relative absence of community practitioners from the US biomedical research enterprise. Identifying and addressing the barriers that prevent their participation in research should help bridge the gap between basic research and practice to improve quality of care for all Americans.Methods: We interviewed over 200 clinicians and other healthcare stakeholders from 2004 through 2005 to develop a conceptual framework and set of strategies for engaging a stable cadre of community clinicians in a clinical research program.Results: Lack of engagement of community practitioners, lack of necessary infrastructure, and the current misalignment of financial incentives and research participation emerged as the three primary barriers to community clinician research participation. Although every effort was made to learn key motivators for engagement in clinical research from interviewees, we did not observe their behavior and self-report by clinicians does not always track with their behavior.Conclusions: A paradigm shift involving acknowledgement of the value of clinicians in the context of community research, establishment of a stable infrastructure to support a cohort of clinicians across time and research studies, and realignment of incentives to encourage participation in clinical research is required.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number34
JournalImplementation Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 4 Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Benefits to the profession of clinical medicine and associated specialty organizations  Contributes to the mission of medicine and improves the scientific basis for the practice of medicine.  Facilitates clinicians’ gaining support from professional organizations and NIH.  Allows clinicians to contribute to the development of new knowledge; research participation provides a mechanism for this to take place.  Support clinicians to learn and implement what’s best for their patients.

Funding Information:
This publication was made possible by Contract Number HHSN275200403390C from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The authors would like to thank Sydne Newberry for editorial assistance and Nancee Inouye for research assistance associated with the project.


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