Oct 16

How Can We Use Epidemiology to Integrate Knowledge Emerging from Basic, Clinical, and Population Sciences?

Trends in 21st Century Epidemiology: From Scientific Discoveries to Population Health Impact on December 12-13, 2012


The Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program (EGRP) has initiated a strategic planning effort to develop scientific priorities for cancer epidemiology research in the next decade in the midst of a period of great scientific opportunity but also of resource constraints. EGRP would like to engage the research community and other stakeholders in a planning effort that will include a workshop in December 2012 to help shape new foci for cancer epidemiology research.

EGRP Invites Your Feedback

To facilitate this process, we invite the research community to join in an ongoing Web-based conversation to develop priorities and influence the next generation of high-impact studies.

Our aim is to enhance the application of epidemiologic methods along the translational continuum from basic discoveries to population health impact.  This week, we address the use of epidemiology in knowledge integration and meta research.

Incorporation of Knowledge Integration into the Translation Continuum

Figure 1. The continuum of translational research from discovery to reducing
the burden of disease in a population with the integration, incorporating the knowledge integration scheme.

Knowledge integration, as observed in Figure 1, serves as an engine to drive translational epidemiology by effectively using information that is generated, gathered, shared, and transformed into knowledge to improve health. Knowledge integration represents the methodological process of selecting, storing, collating, analyzing, integrating, and disseminating information within and across disciplines for the benefit of population health.

Knowledge integration consists of three processes, including knowledge management, knowledge synthesis, and knowledge translation.

Knowledge management is the process of scanning, selecting, storing, curating, and tracking information from multiple disciplines and phases of translation. An emerging field called infoveillance adopts a methodological approach to horizon scanning and surveillance by using technologies to scan databases, registries, publications for relevant information.

Knowledge synthesis is a systematic review of information across multiple disciplines to assess the validity and utility of information. Using direct and indirect evidence, knowledge synthesis models the value of information and employs meta-analysis and decision analysis.

Knowledge translation is the process of disseminating synthesized information to influence policy, develop guidelines, and close knowledge gaps, furthering the research agenda along the translation continuum. It largely involves engagement of stakeholders and knowledge brokering, a strategy which promotes interactions between researchers and end users and builds capacity for informed decision making based on sound evidence and integrated knowledge.

Knowledge integration is a multi-stakeholder enterprise that calls for adequate resources and support from both public and private sectors. The volume and rapid evolution of information requires knowledge integration to be robustly incorporated in all phases of translational epidemiology as a means of transforming knowledge that drives policy, practice, and further research.

We would like to get your feedback on the following fundamental question:

  • How can epidemiology help integrate knowledge from basic, clinical, and population sciences to accelerate translation from research to practice?

Please use the comment section below to share your perspectives.

We encourage you to be as specific as possible. You can use or be inspired by the NCI Provocative Questions exercise. Your comments will be used to shape the workshop discussion in December, aspiring to transform the future of cancer epidemiology in the next decade.

Comments are also still welcome in response to first four questions of the strategic planning series:


EGRP’s Workshop Science Advisory Group

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