Communicating health research (9) Introducing new HIFA thematic discussion: Effective communication of health research to policymakers

1 September, 2022

Welcome to those who have joined HIFA in the past few days. I'd like to introduce you all to our new HIFA thematic discussion, Effective communication of health research to policymakers, supported by TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases at WHO. The discussion starts officially on 5 September and runs for five weeks.

What are the most impactful methods for researchers to communicate their research to policymakers so that the research is seen and applied? How can research be better packaged and communicated, including for example the role of policy briefs as well as academic journals, videos, social media, infographics, newsletters, use of video, and newsletter content?

In this discussion we are looking primarily from the perspective of researchers, whose motivation is typically to communicate their research effectively. At the same time, researchers need to know what policy-makers want and require, and they need to have an understanding of how their research fits in with the broader perspective of evidence-informed policy.

The HIFA working group on research communication [ ] offers five questions to guide the discussion. We shall look at each question in turn, week by week. We invite you to comment on any of the questions at any time, and indeed you are welcome to contribute on any aspect of research communication. The five questions are:

1. What do we mean by ‘Effective communication of health research to policymakers?’ How do we measure it?

2. What are the different approaches to communicating research (eg academic journals, policy briefs, interaction with policymakers, press releases, social media, infographics, use of video)? What is your experience with these approaches? What works and what doesn't?

3. What is the role of researchers in research communication, beyond publication of their paper? What is the role of other stakeholders (eg communication professionals, editors, media, public health professionals and critical thinkers)

4. What are the needs and preferences of policymakers?

5. What can be done to better support researchers in the communication of health research?

In my next message I'll write a few words to introduce question 1.

As usual, this discussion will take place here on the HIFA forum alongside any spontaneous discussions that may occur.

To send a message to HIFA forum, simply send email to and your message will be approved and distributed to all our members.

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Best wishes, Neil

Joint Coordinator, HIFA Communicating health research

Let's build a future where every person has access to reliable healthcare information and is protected from misinformation - Join HIFA:

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health movement (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 20,000 members in 180 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages in collaboration with WHO. HIFA brings stakeholders together to accelerate progress towards universal access to reliable healthcare information.

Twitter: @hifa_org