Building the Evidence Base to Inform Planned Intervention Adaptations by Practitioners Serving Health Disparity Populations

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Many evidence-based interventions (EBIs) have been developed to prevent or treat major health conditions. However, many EBIs have exhibited limited adoption, reach, and sustainability when implemented in diverse community settings. This limitation is especially pronounced in low-resource settings that serve health disparity populations.

Often, practitioners identify problems with existing EBIs originally developed and tested with populations different from their target population and introduce needed adaptations to make the intervention more suitable. Although some EBIs have been extensively adapted for diverse populations and evaluated, most local adaptations to improve fit for health disparity populations are not well documented or evaluated. As a result, empirical evidence is often lacking regarding the potential effectiveness of specific adaptations practitioners may be considering.

We advocate an expansion in the emphasis of adaptation research from researcher-led interventions to research that informs practitioner-led adaptations. By presenting a research vision and strategies needed to build this area of science, we aim to inform research that facilitates successful adaptation and equitable implementation and delivery of EBIs that reduce health disparities.


This work was supported in part by the following institutes and offices of the National Institutes of Health: the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Office of Research on Women’s Health, and the Office of Disease Prevention.

This work resulted from an NIMHD-led workshop, which included external experts, to address intervention science for health disparities research.