Understanding "agency" in the translation of a health promotion program.

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Health promotion interventions conducted under "ideal conditions" to prove their efficacy are often difficult to translate and disseminate for utilization in "real-world" settings. This article retrospectively integrates and analyzes the experience of three related projects. We investigate how the development and dissemination of a school-based nutrition and physical activity curriculum for American Indian elementary school children inspired the implementation of an across-the-lifespan train-the-trainer program that has trained more than 600 trainers in American Indian communities nationwide. This process provides an opportunity to explore how individuals in the community and the context in which the research was conducted affected project outcomes in ways which were not anticipated. Results challenge the use of "internal validity" as the primary measure of success in translation-dissemination-utilization research.