Core C | Research Translation

Kelly Pennell and Lindell Ormsbee, of UK-SRC Research Translation,
at 2014 SRP Annual Conference, San Jose, CA

Lindell Ormsbee (Core Leader)
Lisa Gaetke
Anna Goodman Hoover
Kelly G. Pennell


The Research Translation Core (RTC) seeks to translate UK-SRC research to such target audiences as local, state, and national government regulators and policymakers; physicians and allied health care professionals; industry representatives; concerned citizens, both within and outside of Superfund communities; and other researchers. In addition, project personnel are working to improve existing communication models among these very diverse stakeholder groups and to develop new models that further dialogue and shared understanding related to environmental health and risk issues.

The RTC's specific aims are:

  1. to communicate important research outcomes to appropriate audiences to ensure the accurate and timely use of data generated by individual research projects;
  2. to develop and implement mechanisms for receiving feedback from designated target audiences to ensure the utility and appropriateness of selected communication tools; and
  3. to ensure that research results are being appropriately applied to immediate environmental and health issues through the use of partnerships and other communication tools.

The Research Translation Core strives to ensure that knowledge and technologies generated through the UK-SRC help to reduce both levels of environmental contamination and the related negative public health impacts of such contamination. The RTC attempts to assist SRC researchers with informing key audiences about potential real-world uses for research outcomes, while helping graduate students and postdoctoral scholars develop communication skills that will support the bench-to-bedside translation of future research outcomes. Translational channels include communication training programs for SRP personnel and an RTC seminar series that brings the latest developments in environmental health sciences to audiences at both the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection in Frankfort and the University of Kentucky.

The UK-SRC Research Translation Model

The UK-SRC Research Translation Core (RTC) utilizes an expanded Logic Model (see Figure 1) to manage and evaluate the activities of the RTC.  The model is composed of 10 separate elements and reflects a stakeholder focused translation philosophy in which the translational objectives, strategies, and activities are driven by stakeholder needs that are identified through a bi-directional communication process. 

Figure 1. Translational Model 2014

Translational Objectives

Translational objectives are tailored to specific stakeholder audiences.  Examples of translational objectives include:  new policies and procedures, guidance, products and technologies, and scientific findings, knowledge, new health practices or technical applications (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. UK-SRC Detailed Research Translation Model

Translational Evaluation Metrics

The effectiveness of the RTC in meeting these needs is quantified through an iterative evaluation process that involves four different measures (input metrics, output metrics, feedback, and impact metrics) that seeks to inform and direct both the research and the research translation of the UK SRC.  Examples of such evaluation measures are provided in Table 1.

Table 1. Research Translation Evaluation Measures

In addition to these metrics, the UK RTC has developed a comprehensive stakeholder engagement process that includes several metrics for use in evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of the evaluation process. This process was recently highlighted in the NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health Evaluation Metrics Manual. A detailed summary of the stakeholder engagement process can be found in the report: Community Visions for the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant Site.

Translational Partnerships

The UK-RTC works with several other departments and centers at the University of Kentucky in support of research translational activities associated with the UK SRC.  These include the following:

Center for Clincal and Translational Science
Kentucky Water Resources Research Institute
Kentucky Center for Applied Energy Research
The Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service
Kentucky Research Consortium for Energy and Environment
The UK College of Engineering
The UK College of Agriculture
The UK College of Public Health
The UK College of Medicine

Translational Strategies

The UK-RTC uses four different translational strategies in achieving these objectives.  These include:


2)Collaborations with other Scientists

3)Technology Transfer

4)Communication with Stakeholders



Research Translation