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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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What is the NIH Pathways to Prevention (P2P) program?

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

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

This program was developed out of a need for a process that (1) could be implemented in approximately a year, and (2) addresses topics with methodological weaknesses. Previously known as the Evidence-based Methodology Workshop (EbMW) program, P2P program was renamed in 2013 to better reflect the overarching goal of the program.

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

Most other scientific and medical conferences rely on content experts to make recommendations; however, this raises the possibility of potential conflicts of interest given the experts’ financial and intellectual ties to the topic. In contrast, a P2P workshop examines the topics from an unbiased perspective through a workshop panel, which is carefully vetted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Disease Prevention (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 NIH P2P workshop topics selected?

Topic proposals are submitted online and reviewed by the NIH 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 real or apparent conflicts of interest. Panel members are nominated by content area experts, who submit nominations for panel members to the ODP during the workshop planning process. 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, nonhealth 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 P2P workshop panel report?

Every P2P workshop panel report reflects an assessment by an independent panel of the scientific knowledge available at the time the statement is written. As such, it provides a “snapshot in time” of the state of knowledge on the workshop topic. It is not a policy statement of the NIH or the federal government.

Immediately following the workshop, the panel convenes in executive session for 1 day and develops a draft report. Forty-eight hours after the conclusion of the workshop, the draft report is posted on the ODP website for a 15-day public comment period. The panel may edit its statement for clarity, correct any factual errors that might be discovered, and revise the draft report according to public comments. Approximately 2 weeks after the 15-day public comment period, the panel releases its final report. After the panel report is finalized, the panelists hold a press telebriefing to address media questions.

How can the panel be independent when the program is run by the NIH?

The ODP conducts the P2P program; however, it has no granting or contracting authority with respect to the topic under consideration. The ODP’s objective is to maintain the integrity of the process. To avoid any potential influence, sponsoring NIH ICs and Offices are kept separated from the panel throughout the process.

Will any materials be available to the audience before or during the workshop?

Before the workshop, a draft evidence report is released for public comment. The evidence report, which is produced by one of a network of Evidence-based Practice Centers through a contract with the AHRQ, is a clear and objective description of the state of the science, a summary of ongoing research, and an evaluation of research needs. The workshop panel and speakers, as well as the general public, will have an opportunity to review the draft evidence report and provide comments during the open comment period.

On the first day of the workshop, the final evidence report will be posted on the NIH P2P program website by the AHRQ and the ODP. During the workshop, program materials will be made available. These will include a workshop overview and agenda, presentation summaries, speaker biographies, and financial disclosures from planners and presenters, as well as information about the Working Group, panel members, and ODP staff.

How does the public participate in the workshop?

Every P2P workshop is open to the public, and there will be opportunities for members of the public to comment and ask questions during the workshop. In addition, each P2P workshop panel will 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 during the 15-day public comment period.

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

NIH P2P workshops are free and open to the public, and registration can be accessed from the NIH P2P program website. In addition, the P2P workshop will be videocast live and the proceedings will be archived. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Can my organization sponsor or financially contribute to the workshop?

Although the ODP appreciates the offer, in order to keep the workshops independent, we cannot accept contributions or sponsorship from nongovernment entities.

Can I distribute materials at the workshop?

Tables are available for participants who wish to share materials with other audience members. These are kept separate from any government publications because the NIH, as a federal agency, does not endorse any particular product or viewpoint.

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?

Yes, continuing medical education (CME) credits will be available. This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the essential areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the NIH. The CDC is accredited by the ACCME to provide CME for physicians. Please note that continuing education credits are not available for webcast viewers. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.

Will a webcast of the workshop proceedings be available?

Yes, the P2P workshop will be videocast live during the workshop, and the proceedings also will be archived on the NIH P2P program website.