Research about sustainability is becoming a hot topic. The
Brown School of Social Work at Washington University hosts a
sustainability research conference beginning today, February 9.
This is a topic that has never achieved much attention on the
agendas of researchers or funders, but that condition may be
shifting. This conference features Ross Brownson, Enola Proctor,
and Doug Luke from Wash U, and adds researchers such as Jill
Marsteller, Kurt Stange, and Phyllis Panzano who will discuss cases
of sustained programs and the factors that led to their
continuation. Program officers from CDC, NIMH, NIDA, and NCI will take part, too. Perhaps a large part
of the lack of funded projects that explicitly study sustainability
is that the timelines required to study long-term effects are,
well, long. This will be a prime obstacle in creating a research
agenda about sustainability, but it may also force consideration of
alternative study designs.