State Health Policy Advocates Look for Unbiased Information

Faculty; Public Health; Research

​Lack of bias and relevance to their organization are the most important characteristics of policy-related research for state-level health advocates, according to new research from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

Researchers surveyed 77 state-level advocates to identify the desirable characteristics of policy-relevant information and research, preferred methods of obtaining information and what makes it useful. Advocates included state representatives of national organizations such as the American Cancer Society, as well as state-specific groups, such as Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi.

Advocates rated the Internet as their most frequent source. Information from their organization was considered the most reliable/believable, as was information from university-based research.

“Information exchanges among researchers, advocates, and policymakers are paramount to policy interventions to improve health outcomes,” wrote Dr. Rachel Tabak, Research Assistant Professor at the Brown School. “Researchers and advocates should partner so research is useful in advocating for evidence-based policy change.”

The study was published online March 18 in Public Health.

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