Embracing policy implementation science to ensure translation of evidence to cancer control policy

Nov 30, 2021 | Emmons

Although health-related policies are abundant, efforts to understand how to ensure that these policies serve as an effective vehicle for translating scientific evidence are relatively sparse. This paper explores how policy-focused implementation science (IS) may contribute to understanding the translation of scientific evidence to health-related policy in governmental and nongovernmental sectors. Expanding the focus of implementation science in cancer control could systematically address policy to both increase the use of scientific evidence in general and to address health equity. In this Commentary, we look to relevant work outside of IS that could be informative, most notably from the field of political science. We propose several ideas for future research that could help move the field of policy implementation science in cancer control in the USA forward. Although most efforts to increase uptake of the scientific evidence base reference translation to “practice and policy,” there has been relatively little emphasis in the USA on implementation at the policy level, especially related to cancer control. If we are to achieve the full benefits of scientific discovery on population and public health, we will need to consider policy as a critical mechanism by which evidence can be translated to practice. We have a robust set of methods within implementation science that are increasing the pace of adoption and maintenance of evidence-based programs in a variety of settings. Building on these efforts, the time is right to expand our focus to include policy implementation.

PubMed Abstract

Emmons, K. M., Chambers, D., & Abazeed, A. (2021). Embracing policy implementation science to ensure translation of evidence to cancer control policy. Transl Behav Med, 11(11), 1972-1979. doi:10.1093/tbm/ibab147