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01-02-2019 | Uitgave 1/2019

Journal of Behavioral Medicine 1/2019

Translating behavioral medicine evidence to public policy

Journal of Behavioral Medicine > Uitgave 1/2019
Karen M. Emmons, Ediss Gandelman


Behavioral medicine has made significant contributions to our understanding of how to prevent disease and improve health. However, social and environmental factors continue to have a major influence on health in ways that will be difficult to combat on a population level without concerted efforts to scale interventions and translate the evidence into public health policies. Now is also the right time to increase our efforts to produce policy relevant research and partnerships that will maximize the chances that our evidence is taken to scale in ways that can influence population health broadly, and perhaps contribute to the reduction of the recalcitrant health disparities that plague virtually every area of behavioral medicine focus. As a field we must take an active role in policy translation, learning from the public policy and political science disciplines, and our own pioneers in policy translation. This article discusses importance of accelerating evidence translation to policy, and suggests several factors that could enhance our translation efforts, including embracing policy translation as a key goal in behavioral medicine, increasing our understanding in variability of evidence-based policy adoption across and within states, improving our understanding of how to most effectively communicate our findings to policy makers, conducting research that is responsive to policy makers’ needs, and considering the important role of local policy partnerships.

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