NIH: Office of Disease Prevention


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Pathways to Prevention: Weighing the evidence. Identifying the research gaps. Determining next steps.
What is the NIH ODP Pathways to Prevention (P2P) program?

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?

Most other scientific and medical conferences rely on Content-Area 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 a workshop panel that is carefully vetted by the NIH 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 an evidence report, prepared by one of a network of Evidence-based Practice Centers through a contract with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The evidence report 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?

Topic proposals are submitted online and reviewed by the ODP on a rolling basis. Any NIH Institute or Center (IC), or Office, 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 or Office 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 an insufficient evidence base for conducting a substantive systematic review (e.g., lack of randomized controlled trials).
How is the P2P workshop panel selected, and what does the panel do?

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 Content-Area Expert Group planning meeting, the Workshop & Panel Chair is given recommendations for the panel by the Content-Area Experts. Each panel is an unbiased, independent group typically composed of 8 to 10 members who give balanced, objective, and informed attention to the topic.

Panel members represent a variety of perspectives 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), and individuals representing public-centered values and concerns. They are recruited with the aim of appropriately reflecting a diverse set of professional and experiential perspectives within the workshop panel. 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. 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 to them, including speaker testimony and public input during the workshop.

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

Content-Area Expert Group members collaborate with one another to make recommendations to the Workshop & Panel Chair regarding the workshop questions, agenda, and panelist 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?

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.

How does the ODP support the work of P2P panels?

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 evidence reports.
  • 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?

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?

Every P2P workshop is open to the public, and there are opportunities for members of the public to comment and ask questions during the workshop. In addition, each P2P workshop panel includes 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?

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?

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

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

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

Will continuing education credits be available?

Depending on the workshop topic, the following credits may be available to participants through the ODP’s partnership with the Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC).

  • Continuing Medical Education (CME): The CDC is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
  • Continuing Nursing Education for Nurses (CNE): The CDC is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.
  • IACET Continuing Education Units (CEU): The CDC has been approved as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
  • Continuing Education Contact Hours in Health Education (CECH): The CDC is a designated provider of continuing education contact hours (CECH) in health education by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc.

The CDC is accredited by the ACCME to provide CME for physicians. Please note that continuing education credits are not available for webcast viewers.

Will a webcast of the workshop proceedings be available?

The P2P workshop is videocast live and archived on the ODP website.