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Building a Bridge to Somewhere Better: Linking Health Care Research and Health Policy

Of all the ways to influence health policy, using research to inform change has the dual appeal of sounding both straightforward and rigorous. However, reality intrudes in many forms to disrupt the otherwise common-sense connection between what we know, what we consider as policy and what we are doing. Different languages (academic versus political), disparate timeframes (deliberate versus opportunistic), and contrasting priorities (most rigorous versus good enough) often make translating research into policy an exercise in frustration. Just as basic scientists and clinical researchers grapple with the challenge of bringing innovations from bench to bedside, health services researchers must wrestle to make their work most relevant to policy realities in communities near and far.

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