Integrating Theoretic and Empirical Findings of Research Evidence Use: A Healthcare Systems Engineering Approach

How do state policymakers use research evidence in decisions about mental health treatment for foster care youth?

There has been a rise in mandates and incentives to encourage the use of evidence-based programs and research-informed practices in services to monitor and treat youth in foster care. While state policymakers are responsible for planning for these services, a number of forces shape their use of research evidence, including qualities of the research itself; social networks (e.g., relationships with intermediaries); and individual (e.g. education, training, etc.), organizational (e.g., leadership, resources, etc.), and state-level (e.g., political priorities, secured funding, etc.) factors. These forces make it difficult to anticipate how and when research is used and what research might be useful. Mackie and colleagues will leverage results from prior studies on the use of research evidence, new interviews with policymakers, and input from a panel of experts to develop simulation models to test hypotheses about the forces shaping how research evidence is used in policy development and implementation. The project will include interviews with 108 mid-level administrators from 12 states’ child welfare, Medicaid, and mental health systems (nine per state).

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