Lauren Gerlach is a senior manager at AcademyHealth, where she manages the day-to-day work of the Translation and Dissemination Institute. In this role, she contributes to several projects that aim to strengthen the use of health services and policy research in health policy and health care practice. This work includes helping policymakers and other decision makers assess existing evidence on topics of interest, while helping researchers identify areas where new or better evidence may be needed in the future. Ms. Gerlach also supports proposal evaluation, convening, and dissemination activities for several Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grantmaking programs managed by AcademyHealth.
Ms. Gerlach has worked for a decade to develop clear, engaging content that meets the information needs of diverse audiences. Prior to joining AcademyHealth, Ms. Gerlach covered local government for a daily newspaper in northern Minnesota and later reported on health and human services legislation for a publication of the Minnesota House of Representatives. Most recently, she produced online content for a television station serving the Twin Cities metropolitan area.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and American studies from St. Olaf College and a master’s in public policy from the University of Minnesota.
The most effective health care policy is informed by objective, rigorous evidence. For 25 years, AcademyHealth served as the national program office for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization (HCFO) grantmaking initiative and continues to manage special topic solicitations for the Foundation covering a broad array of topics.
With guidance from the Foundation, AcademyHealth staff manage rigorous external review of grant proposals, monitor funded projects, and collaborate with grantees to disseminate study findings through a variety of channels, including meetings, written products, and social media. AcademyHealth is known for managing successful grantmaking programs that promote the development of high-quality evidence that is useful and used by policymakers and other decision makers. AcademyHealth staff are currently managing the following special topic solicitations:
If you have questions about any of these projects, please contact Megan Collado.
Translation and Dissemination Institute
AcademyHealth’s Translation and Dissemination Institute helps the field of health services research move its findings more effectively into policy and practice. It undertakes activities that enable research producers to better understand the needs of research users, helps place research in context, and serves as an incubator for new and innovative approaches to moving knowledge into action.
With a membership that spans health services researchers, health policymakers and analysts, industry professionals, public health practitioners, and health care providers, AcademyHealth is uniquely positioned to bridge the gaps between research, policy, and practice. The Translation and Dissemination Institute does this work in a number of ways, including:
Listening to policymakers, delivery system leaders, and other health care stakeholders to help researchers identify pressing research needs.
Learning from a variety of disciplines about how to advance the art and science of how we translate and disseminate research findings for policy and practice.
Innovatingby testing new approaches and tools, including processes for quickly but rigorously synthesizing evidence for policymakers and other research users.
Translation and Communications Interest Group
The Translation and Communications Interest Group is comprised of researchers, policymakers, advocates, journalists, consumers, practitioners, and others interested in improving the quality of health care. The group focuses on practical ways to understand, translate, and communicate research findings to meet the needs of various audiences, including improving the quality of information that informs health policy development.
The Institutes's activities are guided by an external Advisory Committee whose members bring expertise from a wide range of disciplines relevant to research translation, dissemination, and implementation.
The Institute is currently accepting nominations to fill open positions on its standing Advisory Committee. The deadline for nominations is Friday, Oct. 6, 2017.
Co-hosted by the National Institutes of Health and AcademyHealth, the 9th Annual Conference aims to grow the research base by bridging the gap between evidence, practice, and policy in health and medicine. The abstract solicitation and conference structure have been designed to focus our thinking and discussion on the highest priorities for dissemination and implementation science now and in the future to help optimize health and health care in the U.S. and elsewhere.
In this competition held during the 2016 Annual Research Meeting (ARM) student competitors presented a health services research project or an analysis of a body of rigorous evidence that addressed a current issue in health policy or health care research. In their presentations, students used tools such as personal narrative, relevant audio or visual materials, or other creative approaches to presenting research to interested but perhaps non-technical audiences.
With support from Kaiser Permanente, AcademyHealth’s Translation and Dissemination Institute undertook a series of activities to better understand safety net providers’ evidence needs and how the health services research community can be a better partner in helping fill important knowledge gaps. This Google Hangout features findings from a series of issue briefs that explored innovations in care at three safety net hospitals and the experiences of leadership in using research and other evidence to help inform their work.
Dr. Mebane joined AcademyHealth as an Innovator-in-Residence in April 2015. In this role, she produced a podcast series, Health Services Unplugged, which links health services research studies to timely issues facing vulnerable or underserved populations.
This free webinar was the first in a two-part introductory series for health services researchers at all stages of their careers, public and population health professionals, and those from the policy arena interested in learning about simulation models and how to use them.
This free webinar built upon the introduction to simulation presented in the first webinar and highlighted the value of using models to enhance decision-making in health policy and public health. Speakers from both health policy and simulation backgrounds discussed experiences and lessons learned from using and communicating about models.
‘Why Tweet?’ was the first in a three-part webinar series from the EDM Forum in collaboration with the AcademyHealth Translation and Dissemination Institute. In this session, new users learned the basics of Twitter as well as some tips, tricks, and guidance on strategy to achieve Twitter’s maximum potential.
This webinar, the second in a series sponsored by the EDM Forum in collaboration with the AcademyHealth Translation and Dissemination Institute, discussed strategies for moving knowledge into action through Twitter, based on feedback from researchers and media who are active in the space.
In this webinar, Dr. Marsha Gold discussed rapid cycle evaluation, with a special focus on methodology and particular issues common to this type of research. This webinar will be of interest for individuals working in, or affiliated with organizations that have an interest in, how to apply research techniques to evaluate and help shape innovations in health care and public health to improve system performance in ways that achieve improved population health.
Pilots & Programs
Rapid Evidence Reviews Project
The Rapid Evidence Reviews Project is piloting innovative approaches to quickly, but rigorously identifying and communicating evidence to inform public and private decision-making. The Institute is testing these approaches by applying them to questions relevant to building a Culture of Health, the current focus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the project’s funder.
The Institute’s Evidence Roadmaps provide a selected minimal set of key resources on a given topic, including research studies, grey literature, and systematic reviews. Some take a closer look at evidence needs identified in the Listening Project reports. The Roadmaps aim to help policy analysts and other research users better understand whether a perceived research gap represents an actual lack of evidence or failure of existing evidence to reach the policy arena, that is, a failure of adequate translation and dissemination.