The 2022 annual National Academy of Kinesiology (NAK) meeting program was a timely and highly significant venture into the integrated areas of translational and implementation science—two prominent areas in which kinesiology research has tremendous value for enhancing society’s health and wellness. Translational research seeks to produce meaningful and positively impactful results that directly benefit human health and wellness by (a) encouraging and promoting multidisciplinary collaborations among basic science, clinical researchers, and health/wellness educators and practitioners and (b) incorporating the desires of the public, with communities being actively engaged in determining their needs for health and well-being innovation and practices (https://tri.uams.edu/about-tri/what-is-translational-research/). The goal of translational research is to translate (move) basic science/kinesiology discoveries more quickly and efficiently into practice—moving basic research from the bench, to bedside, to backyard, and beyond.
Implementation science is the scientific study to promote the effective and timely uptake of research findings and other evidence into practice, with the goal of improving the quality and effectiveness of public health and wellness. Implementation science emerged from the recognition that there is typically a 17-year (or more) gap between when kinesiology and health scientists discover something significant from rigorous research and when educators, practitioners, and the general public implement the results. Broadly, implementation science is the systematic, scientific approach to ask and answer questions about how we get what works to people who need it, for as long as they need it, with greater speed, fidelity, efficiency, quality, and relevant coverage.
The topics and speakers at the NAK Annual Meeting were generated, recruited, and organized by the NAK Program Advisory Committee (PAC) consisting of Fellows of the NAK (FNAK): Melinda Solmon (FNAK #472, Louisiana State University), Bo Fernhall (FNAK #455, University of Massachusetts), Debra Rose (FNAK #447, California State University, Fullerton), NiCole Keith (FNAK #605, Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis), and Thomas Templin (FNAK #473, University of Michigan). The PAC was fortunate also to have the synergistic and creative leadership of Doune Macdonald (NAK International Fellow, University of Queensland), who recruited an exceptional cadre of international scholars to participate in the C. Lynn Vendien International Lecture/Panel. David Perrin (FNAK #401, University of Utah) and Ronald Zernicke (FNAK #503, University of Michigan) cochaired the PAC. Significantly, as the PAC developed ideas and themes for the program, it received invaluable input from many NAK Fellows about potential speakers and session topics. Collectively, the PAC sincerely thanks all who recommended topics and speakers, and all Fellows of the NAK extend their sincere and utmost gratitude to each of the distinguished speakers who participated in the NAK 2022 Annual Meeting.
The topics of the lectures and scientific sessions included the following: (a) Overview of Dissemination and Implementation Science, (b) Physical Activity and Social/Emotional Health in Youth, (c) Implementation Science Related to Physical Activity and Health for Children and Youth, (d) Successful and Active Aging and Health Equity, (e) Innovative International Models of Implementation Science, (f) Implementation Science—Physical Activity and Health Equity, and (g) Future Directions for Kinesiology Implementation Science.
Overall, the scientific program and in-person interactions at the NAK Annual Meeting were intellectually stimulating and revealed unique methods and new opportunities for catalyzing and driving the future, positive impacts of kinesiology and health-related research for all in society.
As guest editors of the current special issue of Kinesiology Review, we invited a subgroup (i.e., Nettlefold, Gray, Sims-Gould, and McKay—University of British Columbia) of the exceptional scholars who participated in the NAK Annual Meeting to provide a succinct and focused overview of translational research, implementation science, and scale-up, which follows this Introduction.