Program FAQs

Pathways to Prevention (P2P) workshops identify research gaps in a selected scientific area, identify methodological and scientific weaknesses in that scientific area, suggest research needs, and move the field forward through an unbiased, evidence-based assessment of a complex public health issue.

What is the NIH ODP P2P program?

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The goals of the P2P program are to host workshops that:

  • Identify research gaps in a selected scientific area that is considered a complex public health issue.
  • Identify methodological and scientific weaknesses in that scientific area.
  • Suggest research needs.
  • Move the field forward through an unbiased, evidence-based assessment.

How is the P2P program different from other conferences or meetings?

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Most other scientific and medical conferences rely on experts to make recommendations; however, this raises the possibility of potential conflicts of interest due to financial, intellectual, or personal considerations that may compromise professional judgment and objectivity. In contrast, a P2P workshop examines the topics from an unbiased perspective through an independent workshop panel that governs workshop proceedings and writes a panel report summarizing its recommendations for moving the field forward. The workshop panel is carefully vetted by the ODP. The panel members are highly regarded in their own fields, but have no financial or intellectual conflicts related to the topic. In addition to the unbiased, independent panel, each P2P workshop has a systematic evidence review, prepared by one of a network of Evidence-based Practice Centers through a contract with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The systematic evidence review serves as a cornerstone of the P2P workshop process by providing a clear and objective description of the state of the science, a summary of ongoing research, and an evaluation of research needs.

How are P2P workshop topics selected?

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Topic proposals are submitted online and reviewed by the ODP on a rolling basis. Any NIH Institute, Center, or Office (IC) may submit a proposal for a workshop to the ODP. In addition, trans-NIH workgroups and other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies may submit proposals, as long as an NIH IC has been identified as the sponsor. A topic must:

  • Have a primary or secondary disease prevention focus.
  • Have broad public health importance. Key considerations are the severity of the problem and the feasibility of interventions.
  • Have limited published data, or incomplete or underdeveloped research.
  • Have a need for a synthesis and critical assessment of the current state of the science.

How is the P2P workshop panel selected, and what does the panel do?

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The P2P workshop panel is independent of the NIH and the federal government, and each member is carefully vetted by the ODP for conflicts of interest. During the Organizational Meeting, a committee of key federal employees makes nominations for the Workshop & Panel Chair, workshop panelists, and members of the Content-Area Experts Group. Each panel is an unbiased, independent group typically composed of five to six members who give balanced, objective, and informed attention to the topic.

Panel members are recruited with the aim of reflecting a diverse set of professional and experiential perspectives within the workshop panel, and may include:

  • Biostatisticians
  • Epidemiologists
  • Practicing and academic health professionals
  • Clinical trial researchers and other investigators
  • Non-health professionals with expertise in fields relevant to the specific topic (e.g., ethicists, economists, attorneys)
  • Individuals representing public-centered values and concerns.

The P2P workshop panel attends the full workshop, where the panelists listen to and have the opportunity to question speakers who are experts in the topic. Panelists then produce a report that synthesizes all the evidence presented during the workshop, including speaker testimony and public input. Panel members are not paid a fee or honorarium for their efforts; however, they are reimbursed for travel expenses related to their participation in the conference.

What is the role of the Content-Area Experts in the P2P workshop process?

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Content-Area Expert Group members are experts in the given workshop topic and collaborate with one another to make recommendations to the Workshop & Panel Chair regarding the workshop questions, agenda, and and speaker nominations. These experts come from the federal government, academia, and clinical practice.

Why is the roster of P2P panelists not available until the first day of the workshop?

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The list of names of the P2P panelists is not released until the first day of the workshop to ensure that the panel reviews the evidence without bias or influence and to promote impartiality during the workshop planning process.

How does the ODP support the work of P2P panels?

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The ODP provides administrative and technical support to the P2P panels. As part of this support, the ODP:

  • Oversees day-to-day program operations.
  • Funds the production of systematic evidence reviews.
  • Ensures consistent implementation of P2P processes.
  • Helps disseminate panel recommendations.

While ODP staff supports P2P panels, it is important to note that panels are independent and their reports and recommendations do not require NIH approval and are not policy statements of the NIH or the federal government.

What is the P2P workshop panel report, and how is it used to advance research?

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P2P panel reports identify research gaps in a given scientific area, identify methodological and scientific weaknesses in the scientific area, and highlight issues that need to be addressed to move the field forward. Although P2P workshops are convened by the NIH, the recommendations set forth in the final panel reports are intended for use by the broader research community. Panel reports are not policy statements of the federal government.

How can stakeholders participate in the P2P process?

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Every P2P workshop is open to the public, and there are opportunities for members of the public to comment and ask questions throughout the workshop. In addition, some P2P workshop panels include an individual representing public-centered values and concerns. The public is also encouraged to submit comments on the draft panel report when it is posted on the ODP website for a public comment period. Once the final report is available, the public is encouraged to share it widely.

How do I register for the workshop? How much does it cost to register?

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P2P workshops are free and open to the public and registration can be accessed from the ODP website.

Can my organization sponsor or financially contribute to the workshop?

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To avoid conflicts of interest, we cannot accept contributions or sponsorship from non-government entities.

Where can I get the systematic evidence review that is prepared for each workshop?

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On the first day of the workshop, a draft systematic evidence review, prepared by one of a network of Evidence-based Practice Centers through a contract with AHRQ, is released for public comment. The final systematic evidence review is posted on the ODP and AHRQ websites approximately one month after the workshop.

Will a webcast of the workshop proceedings be available?

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P2P workshops are VideoCast live and available after the workshop on the ODP website.