My #ImpSciLife began about one year ago when I joined the Implementation Science (IS) Team at NCI as a Cancer Prevention Fellow. Despite not (yet) having the opportunity to work alongside my colleagues at the NCI campus, my postdoctoral journey into IS is hallmarked by building connections. Strong mentorship and the camaraderie of other fellows have provided the foundation for a virtual training environment that has well exceeded my expectations.
My interest in IS builds on my background in public health nutrition, community-level interventions, community/stakeholder engagement, and systems science approaches. I continue to work in these areas during my fellowship but have also found new interests at the intersection of implementation science, health equity, and cancer prevention and control. Perhaps other early-career investigators with broad research interests have similarly felt a bit of uneasiness when reckoning their own scientific identity—but through IS, I am finding peace of mind among a community that strives for transdisciplinary thinking and is united by common tools, methods, and approaches to improve population health.
I am fortunate to be involved in a variety of initiatives led by the IS Team as part of my fellowship experience. I am currently participating in the Training Institute for Dissemination and Implementation Research in Cancer (TIDIRC), which is helping me gain foundational knowledge of the field while developing my own research proposal. A true highlight has been joining former Cancer Prevention Fellow and IS Team member, and current Assistant Professor, Dr. Prajakta Adsul and other incredible investigators on the Equity and Context Action Group of the Consortium in Cancer Implementation Science (CCIS), which reconvened at the 2021 CCIS meeting. Lastly, through my involvement with the Implementation Science Centers in Cancer Control (ISC3), I have the unique opportunity to (a) learn about the organization and evaluation of a large funding initiative and (b) witness some of the top implementation scientists in the country move the field forward. I am thankful for these training opportunities, many of which have led to new collaborations and research projects.
During July’s #ImpSciLife Twitter chat (and my first ever Twitter chat), Dr. Stephanie Wheeler posed the question: Tell us about an “aha” moment when you understand something essential to #impsci for the first time? I have had a lot of these aha moments this past year—and I expect they will keep coming for many years to come—but one of my key takeaways is that IS can help strengthen connections to systems and sectors outside of health. This broadened understanding of context is one way to advance health equity through IS.
For more information about the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program, visit https://cpfp.cancer.gov/.
Dr. Ariella (Ari) Korn is a Cancer Prevention Fellow with the Implementation Science (IS) Team in the Office of the Director in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Applying an implementation science lens, Ari’s research interests include health equity, community interventions, diet-related behaviors, obesity prevention, and social network analysis. She works with Dr. April Oh and others across DCCPS.
Dispatches from the Implementation Science Team, is an episodic collection of short form updates, authored by members and friends of the IS team representing a sample of the work being done and topics that our staff are considering for future projects. Topics address some of the advances in implementation science, ongoing issues that affect the conduct of research studies, reflections on fellowships and meetings, as well as new directions for activity from our research and practice communities.