How Evidence Drives Policy Change: A Study of Return on Investment in Public Health and Multi-Sector Collaborations

How Evidence Drives Policy Change: A Study of Return on Investment in Public Health and Multi-Sector Collaborations

This study assesses the extent to which return on investment evidence is used to inform or support policymaking that has implications for public health, with a particular emphasis on multi-sector approaches. The study also identifies opportunities to strengthen the production and use of such evidence.

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Investment in public health has traditionally been justified as a public good, with initiatives designed to protect health or improve health outcomes at the individual and community levels. More recently, given the constraints associated with limited resources, there are additional pressures to justify spending based on economic returns on investment.

In conducting a scan of peer-reviewed literature, online materials, and expert interviews, we assessed how ROI evidence is used in public health policymaking and identified opportunities to strengthen the production and use of such evidence, with a particular emphasis on multi-sector approaches.

This study highlights trends in the literature, and also includes expert-identified challenges to the use of ROI evidence. We conclude that ROI-related evidence could be used more in the future by:

  • more clearly linking research to the needs of real-world decision-makers;
  • improving access to research results (including unpublished work); and
  • building the analytic capacity of users/consumers of such evidence via improved translation of research.
Edward L. Hunter

Edward L. Hunter

Public Health and Public Policy Consultant

Edward L. Hunter is a public health and public policy consultant, working with clients and partners on strateg... Read Bio

MEdmonds
Staff

Margo Edmunds, Ph.D.

Vice President, Evidence Generation and Translation - AcademyHealth

As Vice President for Evidence Generation and Translation, Dr. Margo Edmunds leads AcademyHealth's portfolios ... Read Bio

Staff

Rachel Dungan, M.S.S.P.

Senior Manager - AcademyHealth

As Senior Manager, Rachel develops and applies strategies for translating and disseminating public health syst... Read Bio

Staff

Deanie Anyangwe

Research Assistant - AcademyHealth

Deanie Anyangwe is a research assistant at AcademyHealth. She manages the Management and Steering Committees f... Read Bio

Staff

Rachel Ruback

Research Assistant - AcademyHealth

Rachel Ruback joined AcademyHealth in October 2017 as a Research Assistant supporting the State Health Policy ... Read Bio