Keynote by Leader in Implementation Science Kicks Off First Session of CoHSTAR’s Virtual Institute

UPDATE: The archived slides and reference lists are now available.

The virtual event registration neared the 500-person capacity and included presentations from leaders in implementation science across areas of care.

The Foundation for Physical Therapy Research (FPTR)-funded Center on Health Services Research and Training (CoHSTAR) held the first of 2 virtual implementation science sessions on May 11. The session began with a keynote address from Enola Proctor, PhD, followed by 4 half-hour presentations from implementation science researchers, a discussion period, and virtual poster presentations.

In her keynote address, Proctor introduced the importance of context – a theme which carried throughout the day’s presentations – noting the need for localized considerations in applying general scientific knowledge. Proctor said that surfacing trauma and stress caused by the upheaval from the COVID 19 crisis have also created changing realities for stakeholders and systems – creating new questions about the abilities of infrastructures to deliver care.

Proctor noted that implementation strategies are another kind of intervention – not the “what” intervention, but “how.” In addition to highlighting resources in the field, she approached hybrid studies and other strategies to bridge the gap between effectiveness and implementation research.

Proctor is a Professor at Washington University where she leads several national initiatives to advance the science of dissemination and implementation research, including the NIMH-funded Implementation Research Institute (IRI), which trains researchers from across the nation in implementation science for mental health. Proctor is also the author of several landmark papers in implementation science. Her work was also referenced in the discussion period as providing guidance for researchers preparing to write grant proposals, specifically her article, “Writing implementation research grant proposals: ten key ingredients.”

Christine McDonough, PT, PhD, Jennifer Moore, PT, DHS, NCS, Janet Prvu Bettger, ScD, and Rani Elwy, PhD, also presented. Recordings and slides (as well as resources) from the presentations will be made available at  Some of the topics addressed included building relationships and budgeting considerations in grant proposals.

The day’s session concluded with a virtual poster presentation of 10 abstracts, including several funded in part through CoHSTAR and FPTR investments in research.

The next virtual session will take place on May 21.

The Implementation Science Institute was originally planned for an in-person meeting. However, CoHSTAR leadership shifted to a virtual format in response to COVID 19 considerations. Previous in-person CoHSTAR programs have built on emerging trends in the field. CoHSTAR held the 4th Implementation Science Research Institute in Providence, Rhode Island, on May 1-2, 2019. The theme for the institute, “A New Frontier for Rehabilitation,” reflected the advancements made in the field since the first event held in 2016. Additional support for the 2020 virtual institute was provided by naviHealth.

CoHSTAR was established in 2015 with the largest ever FPTR grant – a $2.5 million investment to be distributed over a 5-year period. Funding for this initiative was made possible with a $1 million gift from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), gifts from APTA components, and donations from physical therapists, foundations, and corporations with a shared passion for the field of physical therapy. More than 150 donors made this grant possible. Now in its 5th year, the FPTR Board of Trustees has elected to extend the grant through year 10 — effectively doubling the original scope of the project. The additional investment will total $1.25 million.  Learn more at


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