Making research more useful for policymakers

June 2, 2021

What’s the role for research in terms of children’s mental health policy?

That was the subject of a recent 40-minute Zoom talk by Children’s Health Policy Centre director Charlotte Waddell on May 31. She was speaking with 25 doctoral and post-doctoral mentees and their supervisors from across Canada as part of a Pathways in Autism longitudinal study.

Waddell’s key message was that to effectively influence policy, researchers must first appreciate the policy process. “As researchers, we are faced with very different concerns than the ones that policy leaders must grapple with,” she said. “So, learning about the policy process is a crucial first step for researchers who want their work to be useful for policymakers.”

Waddell also discussed how policy engagement by parents of children with autism has acted as a constructive example — showing the way forward to significantly improve services for children.

Following her talk, Waddell also led a 20-minute session working through policy-research case studies and encouraging conversation.