Exploring potential research contributions to policy: The salud America! Experience

Judith M. Ottoson, Amelie G. Ramirez, Lawrence W. Green, Kipling J. Gallion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Increasingly, funders expect that public health researchers will include policy contributions as outcomes. Lack of agreement as to what constitutes a policy contribution of research provides little conceptualor implementation guidance toresearchers who lack policy training, as well as to evaluators called on to assess "good" policy contribution. Purpose: This study applies a previously developed policy framework to explore potential policy contributions from research conducted by 20 principal investigators of Salud America!, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children. Methods: The literature-driven "Policy Contribution Spectra" served as the conceptual framework to jointly develop 20 cases of potential policy contribution. Data collection included document reviews and interviews. Data analysis included within- and cross-case analyses, member checking, data triangulation, and expert reviews. Results: Plotting all 20 projects on the Policy Contribution Spectra showed projects have the potential to contribute to policy across intervention types (e.g., needs assessment or applied research); levels (e.g., local or state); timing (e.g., before or after policy enactment); and outcomes (e.g., process action or health benefits). Potential policy contributions on the Spectra framework were shown as multidirectional; multilayered (e.g., simultaneous state and local action); and multidimensional (e.g., multiple strategies aimed at multiple stakeholders). Conclusions: The Policy Contribution Spectra adds a useful policy lens to existing public health practice by enabling researchers, funders, advocates, and evaluators to visualize, reframe, discuss, and communicate with policymakers and the public to resolve important public health issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S282-S289
JournalAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine
Issue number3 SUPPL. 3
StatePublished - Mar 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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