Front page Scholar Highlight

PUBLICATION: Advancing the science of policy implementation: a call to action for the implementation science field

IS-2 Scholars, Yuka Asada, PhD, RDN (2021 Cohort) and Aimee Kroll-Desrosiers, PhD (2020 Cohort) were co-authors of the recently published work in Translational Behavioral Medicine – Advancing the science of policy implementation: a call to action for the implementation science field.


Public policies have been essential in addressing many of the most pressing public health problems in the USA and around the world. A large and convincing body of multidisciplinary research has established the impacts or effectiveness of public policies, such as smoke-free air laws and nutrition standards, on improving health outcomes and behaviors. Most of this research assumes that because an evidence-based policy is adopted or takes effect, it is implemented as intended. This assumption, however, is often incorrect. Like with clinical guidelines and other interventions, implementation science has an important role to play in promoting the uptake and implementation of evidence-based public policies that promote public health. To realize this potential, there remains a critical need to first establish a common understanding of what public policy is, the role of specific policies in the context of implementation (i.e., is it the evidence-based intervention or the implementation strategy?), and to establish an appropriate methodological foundation for the field of policy implementation science. We recommend that the field must evolve to (i) include policy experts and actors on policy implementation science study teams; (ii) identify theories, models, and frameworks that are suitable for policy implementation science; (iii) identify policy implementation strategies; (iv) adapt and/or identify study designs best suited for policy implementation science research; and (v) identify appropriate policy implementation outcome measures.

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