Public policy plays an important role in how public health is valued and health care is practiced. As a systems change agent, it makes sense for the foundation to play a role in the public policy debate. Knowing that advocates and decision-makers rarely have the time or resources to produce in-depth policy analysis within a short turnaround time, we realized that providing this information was an important role for the foundation could play.
Over time, we discovered that our “niche” as a neutral, non-partisan entity was to engage the best experts from around the country to not only identify public policy problems, but also suggest potential solutions in an easy-to-understand format.
But research is only one step of the process. We host educational briefings so that everyone has an opportunity to ask questions and get answers from leading public policy researchers.
We have published the findings of public policy research in different formats based on our experience over the years. For example, in 2001, we commissioned a report on the state’s constitutional spending cap and the impact it would have on the state’s ability to respond to increased demands for health and other services.
A few years later, in 2003, we realized that policy briefs, rather than lengthy reports, would be a more effective way to get information into the hands of policy-makers and stakeholders. These briefs, 4-6 pages in length, featured outcomes, results, and recommendations right at the beginning, so readers could pull out the relevant pieces more easily.