The production of health policy-relevant research is necessary, but not sufficient, to promote its utilization in policy. Our objective was to understand the perspectives of United States’ state-level policy makers and health researchers on the barriers and facilitators to the translation of health evidence into the policy process, with a particular focus on issues related to relationship building. We conducted interviews with 215 US health services and health policy researchers and 40 state-level staffers and legislators. Researchers and policy makers faced the same major barrier to research translation: lack of dedicated time to do so. Some policy makers questioned the credibility of research, and researchers questioned policy makers’ authentic desire to use evidence in decision making. For some study participants, a mutual mistrust of the other group challenges stronger relationship formation. Interventions are needed to help both groups understand a broader role that research plays in policy making and to increase personal contact, and ultimately trusted relationships, across various actors in the policy process.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health & Society Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
© The Author(s) 2017.
- Health policy
- Qualitative research
- Research evidence