Planning for Program Diffusion

What Health Educators Need to Know

  • Karen Denard Goldman Health Education and Social Marketing Consultant


Many programs shown effective in single trials are never adopted or successfully implemented in other sites. While the health education literature does include descriptions of efforts to diffuse research, programs, curricula, and workplace policies and examples of instruments for measuring aspects of the diffusion process, it does not include an overview of program diffusion principles and practices. The purpose of this article is to provide program planners with research and practice based insights into the program diffusion process. After identifying and defining key program diffusion terms, discussing diffusion’s theoretical bases, and arguing for more pro-active program replication among health educators, the author discusses program diffusion options (dissemination and/or replication), presents existing criteria for identifying model programs, puts forward typical reasons why program replication fails, and suggests specific strategies for increasing the likelihood of successful program replication. The paper ends with a call to plan programs with replication in mind.
How to Cite
Goldman, K. D. (2003). Planning for Program Diffusion: What Health Educators Need to Know. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 1(1), 123-139.