Military Suicide Research Consortium Hosts Dissemination Science Institute to Address the Need for Effective Health Communication Strategies

Posted June 28, 2019

On May 14-15, 2019, at The Catholic University of America, in Washington DC, the Military Suicide Research Consortium (MSRC) brought together over 70 participants including researchers, communication experts, and military leadership to address efficient dissemination tactics, assess military health dissemination needs, and discuss dissemination techniques for communicating research findings.  "The DSI [Dissemination Science Institute] was an immersion into a scientific field of complexity and growing importance – dissemination science.  Part of the experience included group-based, highly organized brainstorming sessions focused on specific dissemination and implementation projects, a particularly helpful way to deepen working knowledge in this domain,” said Dr. Thomas Joiner, Co-Director of the MSRC along with Dr. Peter Gutierrez.

This 1.5-day event kicked off with a series of educational tutorials given by academic experts:

  • Jeff Niederdeppe, PhD, an expert in media and public health messaging from the Department of Communication at Cornell University, provided a tutorial on the mechanisms of “Strategic Health Messaging,” which may alter public and policy-maker support for health issues and policies. 
  • Shale Wong, MD, MSPH, the director of the Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center and Vice Chair for Policy and Advocacy in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado, School of Medicine, gave a tutorial on “Dissemination Through Public Policy Advocacy.” Dr. Wong has extensive experience teaching health policy, as well as facilitating health care reform and health policy.  As a pediatrician, her teaching and policy efforts have primarily focused on children from civilian and military families. 
  • Jonathan Purtle, DrPH, MSc, a researcher in health policy dissemination and implementation, presented “Effective Dissemination of Mental Health Information,” which included a reflection of his many research efforts in improving communication about mental health to the public and policy makers. Dr. Purtle conducts research on useful methods and strategies for communicating with policy makers about mental health and health equity. 

The tutorials were followed by interactive Q&A sessions where audience members had the opportunity to discuss and learn about fruitful examples of communication strategies.  Additionally, panel presentations were given from military leadership that addressed the various dissemination needs within military treatment facilities and military public health.

The event continued with a Dissemination Development Workshop centered on dissemination for the public with messaging strategies and campaigns, along with effective communication techniques for policy makers.  Workshop attendees were given the opportunity to present their own research projects and receive constructive feedback about improving dissemination methods within their research.  The workshop generated further discussion among researchers and Department of Defense (DOD) policy makers about the obstacles surrounding effective communication within military and civilian health, and particularly with military suicide prevention.

Developing the DSI was an important goal for the MSRC’s Dissemination and Implementation Core, as they seek to efficiently and effectively disseminate consortium findings through a variety of methods, to improve mental health outcomes and prevent suicides within the military.  Drs. Joiner and Gutierrez are confident that participation in the DSI was valuable for MSRC researchers and DOD stakeholders alike.

Additional details about the MSRC and the DSI are available on the MSRC website.

Dr. Thomas Joiner (Florida State University) is on the left and Dr. Peter Gutierrez (Rocky Mountain Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center) is on the right.



MSRC Website:

Dissemination Science Institute Information: 

Technical Abstract (13172001):  Military Suicide Research Consortium: Extension to New Opportunities and Challenges

Technical Abstract (13172002):  Military Suicide Research Consortium: Extension to New Opportunities and Challenges

Top of Page

Last updated Thursday, May 26, 2022