The Center for Dissemination and Implementation Science (CDIS) was founded in 2017 to advance implementation research, practice, and education with community partners to achieve local and global health. In the past year, under the direction of Geri Donenberg, PhD, CDIS expanded its robust program of extramural research funding, scholarship, and mentorship, and launched several new initiatives to support its mission to build a healthier world through implementation science.

Leadership Team

Dennis Watson And Bethany Bray

The Center welcomed two new investigators to its leadership team. Dennis Watson, PhD, Associate Director for Community Engagement, leads the CDIS Development Core and Bethany Bray, PhD, Associate Director for Scientific Outreach leads the CDIS Methods Core.


Center investigators managed 23 active research projects with awards totaling over $14 million in extramural research funding. Notable projects include IMARA South Africa, a two-year, $1.2 million grant with the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre to adapt an evidence-based mother-daughter intervention for South Africa to reduce incident sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Three additional years of funding totaling $2.6 million will support an evaluation of the intervention in a randomized controlled trial with 525 mother-daughter pairs. Dr. Dennis Watson received funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to assess implementation and test the effectiveness of a model to link people who use opioids to evidence-based medication assisted treatment through syringe service programs combining health navigation with immediate linkage to care.

In the past year, CDIS faculty and staff produced 54 peer reviewed publications, presented at 34 national and international conferences, participated in 7 study sections, were invited to give 21 talks, and were mentioned 31 times in local and national media. A recent publication in Health Psychology (Donenberg, Emerson, Kendall, 2018) reporting the efficacy of the PHAT Life intervention for juvenile offenders in reducing sexual risk was featured by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities. Angela Walden, PhD co-authored an op-ed in the Chicago Tribune, “The invisibility of Chicago’s Native American residents,” highlighting the need to include Native Americans in conversations about racial equity in Chicago.


Other notable projects include four career development, training, and fellowship awards for CDIS faculty and mentees. CDIS also trained three Clinical Psychology Interns and three undergraduate Summer Interns; welcomed two post-doctoral fellows; and advised numerous other students and mentees.

Center Initiatives

2019 D&I Workshop Presenters: Geri Donenberg, Dennis Watson, Nyssa Snow-Hill

CDIS initiatives this year include:

  • monthly Works-in-Progress seminars, for scholars to share work, receive feedback, and explore potential partnerships.
  • one-on-one consulting, for researchers needing guidance with grant review, implementation framework/theory, methods, or measure selection. Two of four proposals reviewed by CDIS consultants were subsequently funded.
  • an annual one-day workshop, which gave 20 attendees a foundational understanding of dissemination and implementation science.
  • Methods Lunch, a monthly opportunity to discuss innovative methodological topics.
  • the triannual CDIS Colloquium Series, co-sponsored by the CCTS and the Richard Weber Lecture series, which hosted renowned implementation science scholars, including Lisa Saldana, PhD and Matthew Aalsma, MA, PhD, HSPP.