The Prevention Research-to-Policy Bridge is a collaborative effort supported by the PEPR Network to facilitate information exchanges between prevention researchers and policymakers. In an effort to build a more responsive science that supports the use of evidence in policymaking, PEPR engages in a number of activities including direct work with federal and state legislative bodies and government offices, rapid response to policymaker requests, ongoing consultation with legislative staff and various agencies. Examples of our collaborative work can be found below.
Congressional Briefing on the Economics of Prevention
On May 14, 2015, NPSC and PEPR hosted a briefing with nationally recognized experts on the economics of prevention. The meeting focused on specific strategies that can prevent human suffering, save tax payer dollars, and strengthen the labor market across different sectors. There was a special emphasis on the use of Social Impact Bonds (SIB) and Pay for Success (PFS) vehicles as one way to finance prevention. Congressional legislators discussed their bipartisan legislation to support this performance-based financing of prevention.
Representative Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) made opening remarks. Max Crowley, Ph.D. (Assistant Professor of Human Development, PEPR Director, Pennsylvania State University) began this briefing with an overview entitled "The Science of Investing in Prevention". Phaedra Corso, Ph.D. (UGA Foundation Professor of Human Health and Director of the Economic Evaluation Research Group, University of Georgia) spoke on the use of economic evidence for informing policymaking. Thomas Conroy, M.A. & M.B.A. (Vice President, Government Performance, The Pew Charitable Trusts) discussed The Pew-MacArthur Results Initiative describing the model for states and efforts to invest in programs that work. John Roman, Ph.D. (Senior Fellow in the Justice Policy Center, Urban Institute) presented work on the new Pay For Success Initiative and its role in scaling outcomes-based governance.
Briefing Introduction by Rep. Bobby Scott
The Science of Investing in Prevention
Economic Evidence for Informing Policymaking
In its second collaborative project with the National Prevention Science Coalition, PEPR is developing and testing a model for enhancing researcher and policymaker collaboration. This project focuses on building bridges between researchers and legislative staff to provide productive collaborations around translating research into evidence-based policy.
The Research Policy Collaboration (RPC) model aims to develop an effective and replicable strategy that initiates and develops productive relationships among prevention researchers, practitioners (i.e., professionals with applied research and evaluation expertise), and federal officials. This includes developing a strategic plan for future collaboration involving the use of evidence-based (EB) prevention practices into public policies.
Step 1 – Building prevention researcher's capacity to rapidly respond to the real-time needs of government officials’ offices by organizing a network of researchers with expertise related to crime prevention and juvenile justice.
Federal Policy Issue Identification – initial interviews with government offices will identify the expertise needed to develop a Rapid Response Network.
The Rapid Response Network – a broad network of members with expertise related to crime prevention will be identified via membership registration forms. These individuals will be invited to participate in trainings in preparation for potential involvement in a Hill Day event.
Step 2 – Identify real-time needs of government offices and develop a Rapid Response Team (RRT) who will travel to Washington, D.C. for meetings on April 18, 2016 to collaborate with government offices to develop a strategic plan for addressing government officials’ needs for prevention science expertise.
Rapid Response Needs Assessment – Interviews with government offices in March 2016 will delineate real-time needs for prevention science expertise. Rapid Response Team (RRT) Event – 7 to 10 selected Rapid Response Network participants will comprise two RRTs and will meet with collaborating government offices in April 2016 to develop a strategic plan (detailing objectives, strategies, and next steps) for addressing identified needs of government offices.
Informal Social Gatherings – Strong relationships, trust, and commitment are essential to successful collaboration. These gatherings provide opportunities for camaraderie between the RRT and government offices.
Step 3 – Carry out the strategic plan via working relationships between the RRT and government staff. This is expected to facilitate legislative change and enhance recognition of prevention science as a trusted, “go-to” resource.
Follow-up and Technical Assistance – The RPC Project Coordinator will follow up with researchers and government officials regarding the progress being made on actions proposed in the strategic planning process for at least 3 months (approximately August 2016)
DHHS Administration for Children and Families: The Role of Administrative Data in Economic Evaluation
NIH Office of Director Translational Oportunities on Economic Evaluation: Planning and Financing Evidence-Based Prevention
On August 27 and 28, 2015, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) sponsored a workshop on the Economics of Prevention. The goals of the workshop were to showcase research supported by the Health Economics Common Fund Program, discuss the state of the research field, and identify gaps and opportunities to be addressed in future research.
Dr. Crowley of PEPR presented on the opportunities for economic evaluation of prevention within NIH research portfolios. In particular, the utility of economic evaluation for translating prevention research and supporting planning and financing. The meeting led to the publication of a NIH report on the economics of prevention.
As outlined in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memo M-14-06, Guidance for Providing and Using Administrative Data for Statistical Purposes, there are high-quality and reliable data that can provide the foundation for research and evaluation to help understand how public needs are changing, how well policy and programs are addressing those needs, and where greater progress could be made. On October 1-2, 2015 the Administration for Children and Families Office of Planning Research and Evaluation held a meeting on "the Promises and Challenges of Administrative Data in Social Policy Research". The meeting focused on gaining an understanding of the types of research questions that can be addressed using administrative data. Dr. Crowley of PEPR presented on the role of administrative data in economic evaluation. This presentation outlined a framework for using administrative data to conduct cost, cost-effectiveness and benefit-cost analyses of social programs. This framework was later integrated into a report by the National Academies around the use of economic evidence.
Research Policy Collaboration Model
Congressional Breifing on Preventing Opiod Misuse
Recent legislative priorities include bills aiming to address the opioid epidemic. On June 24, 2016 The NPSC & PEPR Research-to-Policy Collaboration project hosted a briefing in collaboration with RTI International and the American Orthopsychiatry Association. Nationally recognized experts discussed research-based evidence for strategies preventing, intervening, and maintaining abstinence from opiate addictions.
This briefing reviewed the empirical support for a number of approaches that could be part of a comprehensive strategy for addressing the heroin epidemic. Systematically addressing substance abuse commands the need for prevention strategies among youth, contending with current users identified through the criminal justice system, and encouraging abstinence among those coping with substance addictions in communities. These approaches inherently require coordinating efforts in a range of settings, including schools, primary care offices, courts, prisons, probation offices, and community or civic centers.
This session should be of value to legislative staff as well as administrators, researchers, and interest groups seeking to advance the use of research-based approaches that demonstrably combat opioid addictions before, during, and after they occur.