Plenary Session 1

Assessing and changing implicit cognitive processes in addiction: does it generalize from substance-related to non-substance-related addictions?

Per Nilsen, Department of Medical and Health Science at Linkoping University, Sweden

Chair: S. Andreasson

Abstract: Forty years ago, an Expert Committee on “Problems related to alcohol consumption”, invited by the World Health Organization (WHO), gathered in Geneva to discuss what could be done about the growth of alcohol‐related health problems worldwide. The meeting led to a re‐orientation by WHO towards a population strategy to the alcohol problem. Since then, substantial evidence has accumulated for the effectiveness of brief alcohol interventions to reduce hazardous and harmful drinking. Still, forty years later, widespread implementation of such interventions still has not occurred, with their delivery remaining suboptimal in routine primary care and other health settings. Why is that? This keynote lecture applies an implementation science perspective to understand factors of relevance for implementing brief alcohol interventions.

Implementation science has emerged as a vital and rapidly growing multidisciplinary research field to address challenges of achieving wider adoption and use of empirically supported practices in routine practice to improve health and welfare of populations. Implementation science is usually defined as the scientific study of ways to promote the systematic uptake of research-based practices into routine practice to improve the quality and effectiveness of health services and care. Determinant frameworks are commonly used in implementation science to identify influences on implementation outcomes and plan strategies to support implementation. I will discuss the challenges of implementing brief alcohol interventions based on an implementation determinant framework.

Per Nilsen is a Professor of Social Medicine and Public Health, with a particular focus on implementation science, at Linköping University, Sweden. He was responsible for building a research program on implementation science at Linköping University, which has attracted national and international interest. He leads several projects on implementation of evidence-based practices in various health care and community settings. Nilsen has developed Master and doctoral-level implementation courses, which have run annually since 2011. The PhD course attracts students from all the Nordic countries and beyond. His research also covers issues such as patient safety, workplace learning and change responses. Nilsen takes particular interest in issues concerning behavior and practice change and the application of theories, models and frameworks for improved understanding and explanation of implementation challenges. His research interests can be traced to his varied background, including studies in behavioral economy, with graduation from Stockholm School of Economics, and in systems development. Before he became a researcher in 2003, he had a 15-year career as organizational consultant in competence issues and as author of international books on artists such as David Bowie, Iggy Pop and Prince.