Giving Compass’ Take:
• The authors explore how research and co-creating evidence with communities can help build more impactful change within health systems.
• How can donors support and expand collaborative research? Why is it crucial to include communities in this process?
• Here are five tips for supporting social sector R&D.
Many advocacy efforts related to public health and medicine have had to take concrete steps beyond publishing in academic journals to make evidence count in decision-making scenarios. Physician experts, for example, have played an active role in reducing nuclear proliferation by explaining medical and scientific facts about nuclear war to policy makers and the public. Efforts like this show how researchers can help foster greater social impact by working hand-in-hand with people who make real-world decisions.
In our own work, we strive to close gaps in health outcomes between Canadian children with disabilities and their peers. These children often lack the information, spaces, support, or adapted infrastructure to access and engage in physical activity, putting them at greater risk of chronic diseases. Our approach to using research to drive action includes strategically reviewing policies that affect the outcomes for children with disabilities and their families; identifying academic literature that may address challenges we see; integrating evidence from youth with disabilities, parents, and organizations; and then shaping this evidence into action.
This approach has translated into things like policy materials that support municipal committees, and a digital database that makes information on inclusive activities available for children with disabilities and their families. Resources like these make the needs and experiences of people with disabilities relevant and accessible to both those who make investment decisions about public spaces and those who use them.
We believe researchers working in public health—and beyond—can do much more to make their insights drive social impact. Below are three takeaways from our own work.
- See Communities as Experts
- Encourage Collaborative Research
- Build Institutional Demand
Read the full article about how research can create social impact by Ebele R. I. Mọgọ, Jonathan Lai & Keiko Shikako-Thomas at Stanford Social Innovation Review.
If you are looking for more articles and resources for Advocacy and Policy, take a look at these Giving Compass selections related to impact giving and Advocacy and Policy.
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