Demonstrating how research directly impacts an elected official’s district should be a priority for advocates, according to speakers who shared their insights on measuring advocacy outcomes during a June 1 webinar hosted by the Society for Neuroscience and Research!America. The webinar was the fourth in a series aimed at strengthening advocates’ understanding of science communication, policy and public opinion research.
Research!America board member The Hon. Bart Gordon, partner, K&L Gates, said advocates should identify how their requests to policymakers benefit their districts and constituents before contacting them. Using Alzheimer’s research as an example, he urged advocates to “talk about how many individuals in their district or state have Alzheimer’s, how many families will be impacted, and the cost it will have on those families.”
Monitoring the impact of advocacy efforts can be as simple as tracking media coverage, policymaker engagement, or legislation in an Excel spreadsheet, said Annette L. Gardner, Ph.D., MPH, assistant professor, Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. “This is the type of data you can collect readily to see if what you’re doing is making a difference.”
Organizations should also pinpoint areas where their capabilities fall short, said Carlisle Levine, Ph.D., president and CEO of BLE Solutions, so they can “identify allies who can help fill those gaps.”
To watch a recording of the webinar, click here.