10. Beyond the Capstone Project: Dissemination of Information and Sustainability

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter, you will be able to:

  1. Develop a plan for the dissemination of information related to their capstone project.
  2. Describe how the dissemination of information relates to sustainability.
  3. Plan for sustainability related to their capstone project.


This final chapter emphasizes the importance of dissemination of information based on your completed capstone project. The relationship between information dissemination and sustainability is also explained.  Although there is no specific model that can guarantee sustainability, and there are multiple ways to address sustainability, this chapter concentrates on information dissemination as a key component of capstone sustainability.


At the culmination of your capstone experience, you have successfully performed a needs assessment, fine-tuned the focus for your capstone project, and documented the process and findings that resulted from all your hard work.  Although you may consider your capstone experience over once you have received your passing grade, it is important for you to recognize the expertise that you have gained by undergoing this unique experience.  Now is the time to develop a dissemination plan so you can share important information and knowledge you have gained from your capstone experience to other professionals not only within your area of practice but to other stakeholders.

Upon finalization of your capstone project, you should take time to reflect on the insight you have gained by working with a community organization, understanding the needs of a specific group or population, and recognizing issues of occupational justice, evidence-based practice, and effective policy and procedure planning.  By disseminating your scholarly work, you can help other clinicians learn and provide clients with innovative treatment planning and service models.  By disseminating your work, you can also help organizations understand the important role your profession plays within the healthcare arena, and the impact they can have on patient care and outcomes (DeIuliis & Bednarski, 2020).

This is your opportunity to become an agent of change!

Disseminating Your Scholarly Work

There are many methods of disseminating your scholarly work.  Categories of dissemination include but are not limited to clinical, academic, and professional organizations, the Internet, conferences, and symposiums, continuing education venues, collaboration with community organizations, institutional repositories, peer-reviewed publications, consumer-driven publications, organizational policy, and legislative initiatives.  Furthermore, dissemination of your findings can occur locally, nationally, and/or internationally using a variety of presentation platforms, based on your dissemination goals (Refer to Table 10.1:  Dissemination and Presentation Platforms for Capstone Projects

Table 10.1:  Dissemination and Presentation Platforms for Capstone Projects

Platform Description
Oral Presentations A live presentation to an audience that is physically present in the same location as the presenter
Poster Presentations Creation of an eye-catching vertical display, including a combination of texts, figures, and/or graphics aimed at demonstrating the results of your capstone project
Internet Presentations Web-based presentations are presented synchronously and/or asynchronously
Publishing your Work Develop a manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed or consumer-driven publication
Developing a Grant Proposal An extension of the capstone project that can be used to support and enhance program development and practice initiatives with funding
Developing a Business Proposal A sophisticated sales and marketing piece you develop to define a client’s problem and/or opportunities and to sell stakeholders on your ability to provide solutions and strategies to their satisfaction


Oral Presentations

Oral presentations can follow a lecture format; however, oral presentations may also include but are not limited to demonstrations of techniques or equipment, individual or group learning activities, interactive discussions or brainstorming, case studies, and hands-on learning experiences.  Lectures are most often used with larger audiences where increased audience interaction is not practical, or when the goal of dissemination is to share technical or straightforward information.  Presentations that employ more interactive methods such as demonstrations, discussions, or hands-on learning experiences are typically less formal, and audiences are usually smaller in size and less engaged.  Oral presentations are often accompanied by handouts, overhead displays, and/or PowerPoint slides.  When preparing your oral presentation be sure that the visual elements that you decide to use to enhance your presentation support and/or enhance your spoken words, and do not take their place (Baily, Hissong, & Lape, 2015).

Poster Presentations

Poster presentations often occur at professional conferences academic presentations and meetings, where many posters may be displayed for a specific period of time.  It is also common for the creator(s) of the poster to be physically present to discuss the poster.  Poster presentations are an effective way of disseminating information about your project, eliciting feedback from others before expanding the project, or seeking publication and networking with others.  Poster presentations also provide an opportunity for first-time conference presenters because the poster presentation format may be considered less formal and intimidating than an oral presentation (Bailey, et al., 2015).

Internet Presentations (Webinars)

Internet presentations refer to any web-based presentation that may be delivered synchronously (in real-time) or asynchronously (the presentation is pre-recorded, and the attendees can access it online when it is convenient for them).  Creating a web-based presentation is similar to creating an oral presentation as both platforms must consider the audience, the amount of information to include, and how the material will be presented.  Visual aids can also be used with internet presentations to support or enhance the message being conveyed (Bailey, et al., 2015).

Publishing your Scholarly Work

The mechanism of disseminating your scholarly findings via manuscript development and publication is perhaps the most expected and, I argue, the most rewarding aspect of your capstone experience.  This is an opportunity for you to inform stakeholders, policymakers, and even the general public about the findings of your project.  Furthermore, this is a great opportunity to expand your professional research and writing skills and to build your resume and/or Biosketch for future employment or funding opportunities (Bailey, et al., 2015; Doll, 2010).

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Peer-reviewed journals are publications that contain articles authored by one or more experts in a particular field or topic area to confirm each article’s quality before acceptance for publication.  The publication process for peer-reviewed journals is often very rigorous with multiple revisions required over long periods of time.  The goals of most peer-reviewed journal articles are to disseminate information on quality research or evidence-based practice (Bailey, et al., 2015; O’Dell, 2014). (Refer to Table 10.2:  Key Points to Consider for Peer-Reviewed Journal Manuscript Submission).

 Table 10.2:  Key Points to Consider for Peer-Review Journal Manuscript Submission

  • Select the professional publication that best reflects the direction of your capstone project
  • Review the instructions for authors to ensure that your manuscript meets the specifications of the journal
  • Maintain communication with the journal editor to ensure that all required information has been submitted
  • If changes or modifications are recommended, address each recommendation completely

Source:  O’Dell, D. G. (2014). Implementation and dissemination of DNP Practice scholarship. DNP Capstone Projects, 171–181. https://doi.org/10.1891/9780826130266.0014

Consumer-Driven Publications

In contrast to the structured format required for peer-reviewed journal articles, the format for consumer-driven articles allows for greater flexibility and creativity.  Submitting to commercial publications can deliver information to the general public and to people who can directly benefit from your capstone information.  There is a large diversity of consumer publications covering health promotion, disease-specific issues, health lifestyle, and self-help topics (Bailey, et al., 2015: O’Dell, 2014). (Refer to Table 10.3:  Key Points to Consider for Consumer-Driven Manuscript Submission).

Table 10.3:  Key Points to Consider for Consumer-Driven Manuscript Submission

Does the publication address a publication that could benefit from your capstone project?
Consider the length of articles in selected consumer publications
Consider reaching out to published journalists of consumer publications to review the value of a specific topic to the target population for a publication
Establish rapport with editorial teams, share your expertise

Source:  O’Dell, D. G. (2014). Implementation and dissemination of DNP Practice scholarship. DNP Capstone  Projects, 171–181. https://doi.org/10.1891/9780826130266.0014

Traditional vs. Open-Access Journals

Prior to the Internet, the traditional market for scholarly journal publication was the primary method of disseminating high-quality, evidence-based research relevant to academic institutions and fields of study.  Traditional journals are primarily funded by subscriptions and advertisements. Reader access is due to personal subscription or because the reader is affiliated with an institution that maintains an institutional subscription.  The rapid growth of the Internet and the advantages of this medium over traditional communication formats in terms of speed, flexibility, and reach have made the electronic dissemination of research findings and other relevant information a formidable alternative to traditional journals.  Conversely, open-access refers to the practice of scholarly journals, individual scholars, and academic publishers offering free access to articles and book excerpts via the Internet.  Currently, the scholarly publishing market supports both the traditional and open-access platforms, with both platforms, at times, coexisting within the same publisher (Frankland & Ray, 2017).

While advances in technology have lowered costs associated with publishing and expanded access to information on the Internet, these advances have also created external costs in the form of unreliable or fraudulent research and information.  Additionally, predatory for-profit open-access journals may have exorbitant publication fees, which could be an indicator of poor quality, as publication fees can be considered a source of income for the open-access journal.  In this vein, an increased quantity of publications, regardless of quality, would result in an increase in open-access journal income (Frankland & Ray, 2017).  For these reasons, it is important for you to contact your Institution’s library to determine the databases you can use to:

  • Obtain more information about a journal you are considering for manuscript submission
  • Determine if a journal is peer-reviewed and legitimate
  • Evaluate a journal’s relative importance by viewing their Impact Factor: a measure of the frequency with which the “average article” in a journal has been cited in a particular year. It is calculated by dividing the number of current citations to articles published in the previous two years by the total number of articles published in the previous two previous (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.)
  • Establish if a journal has passed strict standards of credibility
  • Discover and compare journals similar to the one you are interested in

If you have not done so already, this is great time to contact your Institution’s Library System for support and assist with this important aspect of manuscript publication.

Grant Writing for Funding

A grant is an award, usually financial, that is given by one entity to an individual or a company to facilitate a goal or incentivized program.  Although grants may differ based on the source, the application process require similar demands on your time and resources (Bailey, et al., 2015).  (Refer to Table 10.3:  Key Points for Developing a Grant Proposal).

Table 10.3:  Key Points for Developing a Grant Proposal

  • Recognize the mission of your project’s targeted funding source
  • Determine if the funding organization’s mission and requirements align with those of your project
  • Do not apply for a grant that is going to compromise the process or outcomes of what YOU want to accomplish
  • Network and keep detailed notes throughout the grant process:  who is giving you the required information and where you are obtaining information to support the mission of the grant

Source:  Bailey, D. M., Hissong, A. N., & Lape, J. E. (2015). Bailey’s research for the Health Professional (3rd ed.). F.A. Davis Company.

When gathering information to support the components of a grant, start by utilizing what you have already written in your capstone project.  Start with your abstract and then look at your literature review.  You will find that many of the answers to questions within the grant applications can be copied and pasted and fine-tuned from the comprehensive work that you have already accomplished. Grant proposals include most of the components that are also used in capstone development:  understanding the population/community, identifying a problem, issue, or need, identifying a potential solution to address the problem, issue, or need, conducting a comprehensive needs assessment, drafting an evaluation plan and implementing your solution.  The skills and competencies you have acquired throughout your capstone experience will help you be successful in the grant-writing process (Bailey, et al., 2015: O’Dell, 2014).

Developing a Business Proposal

Now that you have finished your capstone project, you may have an opportunity to develop and promote it as a business, or part of a business entity, such as a continuing education venue.  A business proposal is a sophisticated sales and marketing piece that you develop to define a client’s (your population’s) problem and/or opportunities and to demonstrate to a potential client your ability to provide evidence-based solutions and strategies to their satisfaction (Hamper & Baugh, 2011). (Refer to Table 10.4:  Business Proposal Categories).

Table 10.4:  Business Proposal Categories

Category Description
Internal Usually written within a company by a particular division, department, group, or individual to persuade top management to support an idea or project
Solicited Sometimes a company, or individual is formally invited to submit a proposal.  The client has a particular project or problem and is looking for outside help to get the job done
Unsolicited This is a way to generate new business; however, it is the riskiest to write.  You may have developed a new program or concept; however, clients have not requested the proposal; therefore, you are competing with a client’s internal operations and other businesses for the client’s attention and acceptance
Sole-Source In some instances, a government agency, private firm, or association will contract with only one company to supply a product or service.  The format is often standardized and requires detailed information about the product, services, and prices.  If a request for a proposal (RFP) indicates that it is targeted at a specific company, you would have little to no chance of winning the contract. Therefore, in this instance, it would not be wise to submit a proposal

 Source:  Hamper, R. J., & Baugh, L. S. (2011). Handbook for writing proposals (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill.

Writing effective proposals is an important skill for winning business in today’s competitive business environment. Although a step-by-step guide on how to write an effective business proposal is beyond the scope of this guidebook your completed capstone project can help you to develop a winning business proposal, should you choose this path.  It is important to remember that the main objective of your proposal is to convince the client or stakeholders that you, or your firm, are uniquely qualified to do the job.  From your client’s perspective, proposals make it possible to evaluate the skills and capabilities of a select range of firms, or individuals, and to choose the best for the job (Hamper & Baugh, 2011). (Refer to Table 10.5:  Elements of a Winning Business Proposal).

Table 10.5:  Elements of a Winning Business Proposal

Element Description
Evidence that you clearly understand the client’s problem and situation Your capstone’s Needs Assessment, Project Background, and Literature Review should help you determine if you can address your client’s needs

Additional research may be necessary

A strategy and program plan or design that the client feels will solve the problem and produce the desired result Your capstone project’s outcomes can be used to clearly state what benefits clients will gain by accepting your solutions
Clear documentation of your qualifications and capabilities for carrying out the plan Your current resume and bio sketch can be used to demonstrate your expertise and ability to accomplish the work better than anyone else
Evidence that your firm is reliable and dependable You would include references and other stakeholder contacts who can vouch for you
A convincing reason why the client should choose you over other competitors for the job You should highlight your program plan and your expertise in the field
Be sure your proposal looks like a winner Just like your completed capstone project, your proposal should have a cover, title page, format, and graphics that convey your passion, spirit, and professionalism.  In addition to grammar and spell checks, take the time to proofread your proposal

Designing Your Capstone for Dissemination and Sustainability

Designing your capstone project for dissemination and sustainability refers to the principles and methods for enhancing the fit between a health program, policy, or practice and the context in which it is intended to be adopted (Kwan, Brownson, Glasgow, Morrato & Luke, 2022).  It is important to remember that sustainability is a key implementation outcome.  To promote program sustainability and resilience, the dissemination of knowledge acquired throughout your capstone experience is vital.


Performing doctoral scholarly work is admirable; however, the completion of the project itself is not enough to truly demonstrate the potential of your doctorate degree.  As the number of allied health students with doctoral degrees increases, the probability that healthcare outcomes will improve also increases.  However, these improvements can only take place with the dissemination of information based on your evidence, experiences, and the knowledge gained by your capstone experience (O’Dell, 2014).  Sustainable programs are successful programs:  well designed and complementary to both the community and its needs and capacities.  Dissemination of your capstone outcomes will exemplify the impact your program has made and will contribute to continued stakeholder buy-in.

Case Study:  Sustainability Planning and Dissemination of Information

  • Glynn has completed her written capstone project. Part of Glynn’s OTD program requirements was to complete an Oral Presentation and Poster Presentation on their capstone project. This was also successfully completed. Glynn successfully obtained their OTD and is now employed as an Associate Professor in a well-known university setting.
  • It is now 5 years status-post capstone project completion. The following are the results, to date, of Glynn’s dissemination and sustainability planning:

December 2017:  Final Capstone Project:  A Health Literacy Workshop for Occupational Therapists Incorporating Elements of the Universal Precautions Toolkit

-Written Product

-Oral Presentation to University Stakeholders

-Poster Presentation to University Stakeholders

Dissemination and Sustainability Plan Results


2020:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:  Impact Case Study, New York occupational therapy program promotes health literacy with AHRQ’s toolkit. https://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsroom/case-studies/202002.html

2019:  Workshop series for occupational therapists using the US agency for healthcare research and quality’s health literacy universal precautions toolkit and other supported tools. Health Education Journal, 78(4), 451–463. https://doi.org/10.1177/0017896918820067

2019:  Health literacy:  A universal call to action, Journal of Psychology and Mental Health Care, Doi: 10.31579/ 2637-8892.19/011

2018:  Developing a sustainable level II occupational therapy fieldwork program in a juvenile detention center, OT Practice Magazine, http://www.aota.org

2018:  Workshop series for occupational therapists using the US agency for healthcare research and quality’s health literacy universal precautions toolkit and other supported tools, Health Education Journal: Online First, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0017896918820067#

2018:  Health literacy:  Pure and simple, Annals of Physiotherapy & Occupational Therapy, 1(2): 000109

2018:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality:  Impact Case Study, AHRQ Toolkit Helps Connecticut Rehab Center Boost Health Literacy Skills. https://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsroom/case-studies/201805.html?utm_source=201805&utm_medium=en&utm_term=&utm_content=20&utm_campaign=ahrq_ics_2018

2018:  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, News Now Newsletter, Issue 27, Featured Impact Case Study:  AHRQ Toolkit Helps Connecticut Rehab Center Boost Health Literacy Skills. https://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsletters/e-newsletter/627.html


2020:  The Dean’s Annual Seed Grant, Touro College, School of Health Sciences, Occupational Therapy Program, New York, NY ($2,500)

Further Research

2021: “A Health Literacy Universal Precautions Workshop for Touro College School of Health Sciences Students.”  Principal Investigator and Faculty Mentor

2020: “Cutting Through Medical Jargon:  A Health Literacy Universal Precautions Workshop for Third-Year OT Students.” Principal Investigator and Faculty Mentor

2019: “A Health Literacy Universal Precautions Workshop for Touro College OT Students in Manhattan.” Principal Investigator and Faculty Mentor, Occupational Therapy Program, Touro College, NY.


2019:  Poster: “A health literacy universal precautions workshop for OT students.” Coauthors:  T.  Rosen & T. Hoffman. Annual Conference, New York State Occupational Therapy Association (NYSOTA), Palisades, New York

2019:  Oral Presentation: “Health literacy universal precautions in OT practice.” Dr. Janet Falk-Kessler (JFK) Distinguished Lectureship and Day of Scholarship, Columbia University, New York, NY

2018:  Oral Presentation: “Designing a framework for a health literacy workshop incorporating elements of the universal precautions toolkit.” Annual Conference, NYSOTA, Palisades, NY

2018:  Poster: “A health literacy workshop for occupational therapists incorporating elements of the universal precaution’s toolkit.: Annual Conference, AOTA, Salt Lake City, Utah

Academic Course Curriculum

2020:  OTHN 602:  Advanced Fieldwork Elective:  A Health Literacy Workshop (Creator and Instructor)







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