Research should play an important role in the implementation of health policy. The application of research methodologies to dissemination of knowledge and practice is being recognized more and more as a legitimate and important component of the health policy agenda. The issues and priorities concerning health are changing rapidly in many parts of the world. In Canada, the health reform process is suggesting that health policy shift from a concentration on the current mainly curative system to one which is more balanced, with an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention, targeted not only to the individual but to whole populations. The reform process creates significant opportunities for research and emphasizes the need for dissemination of research findings. We have much to learn about how to disseminate to the appropriate people our current knowledge and the knowledge which will come from new research. A key challenges for dissemination is to narrow the gap between what is known and what is put into practice. Clearly we need to develop a much greater understanding of the dynamic of dissemination and the barriers to it.