Online Program

Translating from research to public health policy: Strategies to make an impact

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 4:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Cynthia Hallett, MPH, Executive Director, American Nonsmokers' Rights Foundation, Berkeley, CA
Jennifer Ibrahim, PhD, MPH, Public Health, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA
Generating research on the development of public health laws or evaluating the impact of existing public health laws is a challenge; only to be followed by the greater challenge of using the research to make a policy impact. By thinking strategically and creating interdisciplinary teams including legal, advocacy and public health partners can result in well-crafted research questions with an audience anxiously awaiting the study findings. Similarly, such partners can help to think through communications approaches and potential opposition from special interests. Using a series of case studies of newly emerging research findings on laws related to drug overdoses, restrictions on young inexperienced drivers, firearms and mental health, lead specialty courts and sustained efforts in tobacco control, we analyze the research process in the context of opportunities for effective communication. We offer proven strategies on how to communicate research findings to policymakers and practitioners alike. While peer-reviewed publications are necessary for academic survival, effective communication for policy impact must go beyond the pages of scientific journals and be transformed into other forms of communications such as letters to editors, testimony at public hearings, earned media, communications via online social media, and integration of findings into coalition and public health agency educational materials and fact sheets. In addition, we discuss the potential barriers to effective communications, including opposing arguments and misinformation, and the potential impact of regulations such as Section 503 restrictions on lobbying.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe a minimum of three strategies to effectively communicate research findings. Explain the need for ongoing communications even before new findings are available. Discuss the implications of Section 503 on dissemination and communication of findings.

Keyword(s): Health Law, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Cynthia Hallett, MPH is the Executive Director of the Americans for Nonsmokers Rights Foundation. She is actively engaged in research, programming, policy development and advocacy in the area of tobacco control.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.