Texas Research-to-Policy Collaboration Project

The Texas Research-to-Policy Collaboration (Texas RPC) project will bridge research and policy by supporting partnerships between child health research experts and policymakers. The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living is implementing this program, with the intent of identifying state policy priorities, and preparing and engaging researchers (our Network) to serve as resources for policymakers’ priorities in 2020-2021 that promote health, with a focus on child health.

While the ultimate goal is to advance the use of public health scientific information in the policymaking process, it is expected that responding to policymakers’ existing interests and evidence questions will support the timeliness and usefulness of research in the context of trusting, consultive relationships. Therefore, our primary intermediary objective is to facilitate researcher-policymaker partnerships.

Our goal for 2019 is to build capacity for implementation by growing the Research Network and connecting with legislative champions who are leaders on policies that shape public health. This project will support the facilitation of 10 researcher-policymaker partnerships in 2020-2021.

The Texas RPC project is being carried out by the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at the UTHealth School of Public Health in Austin, with project funding provided by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. The Texas RPC project will allow us to assist legislators and provide better use of Texas research, data, and resources.

Timeline

Summer/Fall 2019

The Texas RPC Network will recruit researchers from the following partners:

  • Live Smart Texas
  • The Partnership for a Healthy Texas
  • The Texas Health Improvement Network through the UT System Population Health
  • UTHealth School of Public Health faculty in Texas, representative of other geographies
  • Other academic institutions
  • Professional associations

For successful partnerships around current policy issues, researchers will be matched based on:

  • Their areas of expertise
  • Availability to commit to a partnership, preparation for policy engagement (e.g., trainings and hands-on support or guidance through coaching or modeling)
  • Locale in relation to the legislator’s region

Matches are made for Rapid Response Meetings, which may occur in different locations of the state to accommodate the availability of legislators and researchers.

A baseline survey will be conducted to access legislators’ use of research evidence as it relates to public health issue areas.

  • A semi-structured policy identification needs assessments will be conducted with a broader group of legislators beginning in Fall 2019 and continuing throughout 2020
  • Legislators will be prioritized for their involvement based on their interest in public health issues, which is to be gleaned by their (co)sponsorship on relevant bills and public statements

2020

Capacity building trainings (web-based and in-person) in the RPC framework will be provided for network members.

Legislators who are highly active on public health issues, particularly those in leadership roles on relevant Committees and Caucuses, will be identified, and initial relationship development with the Texas RPC will begin with meetings that use a semi-structured needs assessment to identify policy priorities for 2021.

  • These needs assessments are expected to elicit initial requests for research evidence
  • Responses to these requests will build rapport with legislative champions and support the goal of strengthening the Network by identifying researchers who have relevant expertise but have not yet been identified by the Network

These research-legislator partnerships will inform better legislative efforts based on Texas data. In addition, these partnerships will provide for more efficient and appropriate use of Texas data in real time.

Resources

2013 Texas Health Perception Survey One-Pager

2013 Texas Health Perception Survey Report

Research Team

Deanna M. Hoelscher, PhD, RDN, LN, CNS, FISBNPA, Principal Investigator
Alexandra van den Berg, PhD, MPH, Co-Investigator
Tiffni Menendez, MPH, Project Director
Kathleen Manuel, Research Assistant II
Christine Jovanovic, MPH (Dell Health Scholar)

Consultants:

Max Crowley, PhD, Pennsylvania State University
Taylor Scott, PhD, Pennsylvania State University