I would like to share some thoughts on Q1: what is effective communication of health research to policy makers and how do we measure it?
1. I think to be effective there needs to be a clear roadmap for the communication which details the inputs, processes, and expected outcomes (both intended and potentially unintended). These (inputs, processes and outcomes) may be considered useful measurement points of effectiveness because doing the right thing, in a right way, is likely to produce the desired results
2. At the inputs level we can think about the key messages (content), which need to be aligned to the issues that are pertinent to the policy makers, in format that they find easy to interact with and provide clear recommendations in what actions need to be taken to bring about the desired change. It would also be useful to ensure that the message is accurate and reliable to ensure that it fosters sustained reliance on evidence to inform decision making by the policy makers in the long term.
3. The processes may include considerations such as the identification of the correct stakeholders/ audience for the specific message, timing of the communication, frequency of communication (will there be need for follow-up communication to reinforce/ clarify the issues), nature of forum/ setting for the communication etc.
4. The outcomes may include the consideration of the evidence alongside the other factors to be considered in the decision-making; an indication of intent to initiate a behavior change; interest from the decision makers to know more about the subject and what other evidence there is on the subject, etc.
These are just my personal reflections from my experience.
HIFA profile: Jacklyne Ashubwe-Jalemba is a medical doctor and health systems researcher based in Nairobi, Kenya. She is a member of the HIFA project on Communicating health research, supported by TDR
Email: jashubwe AT live.com