Active Surveillance of Policy Ecosystems and Networks (ASPEN) to Enhance Brokering of Research Evidence into State Policymaking
Knowledge brokers—organizations and individuals who develop relationships between producers and users of research—can be key actors in attempts to improve the use of research evidence. In this multi-stage project, the researchers will collaborate with one such knowledge broker, the National Alliance on Mental Illness in New Jersey, to develop and study an intervention to promote the use of research in adolescent mental health policy, specifically universal adolescent mental health screening in New Jersey schools. The intervention involves synthesis of existing evidence on adolescent depression screening, development of New Jersey-specific research reports addressing the concerns of key stakeholders in the state, and creation of an online portal where advocates, policymakers, and other stakeholders can access the research through briefs, reports, and multimedia content. Other key intermediaries will also receive a one-day training to tailor their outreach and advocacy activities to state legislators. Use of research on the portal will be tracked through web analytics and network analysis of data from the media. Longitudinal network analysis will enable the researchers to identify influential policy actors and their dissemination of research-informed policy prescriptions on adolescent depression screening. This project will build knowledge of how to provide research-based support to knowledge brokers in developing policy, building political will across stakeholders, and advancing legislation.