Evidence & Policy
A journal of research, debate and practice

Public-academic partnerships to foster use of research evidence in improving youth outcomes: findings from document analysis

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  • 1 Fordham University, , USA
  • | 2 Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Philadelphia, , USA
  • | 3 University of Pennsylvania, , USA
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Background:

Although public-academic partnerships (PAPs) to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations have proliferated in public care for youth, existing literature lacks information about whether PAPs lead to public care agency leaders’ use of research evidence and promote youth mental health and well-being.

Aims and objectives:

The document analysis was conducted to understand PAP contexts and mechanisms leading to public care agency leaders’ use of research evidence. This paper introduces US public mental health and child welfare systems, shares strategies of identifying PAPs, obtaining and conducting systematic document review of PAPs, and documents analysis findings.

Methods:

This project conducted document analysis of US PAPs aiming to improve mental health and promote well-being of youth aged 12–25 years.

Findings:

The 23 PAPs analysed had diverse partnership goals including implementation and dissemination of research/evaluation evidence, information sharing, and prioritising and streamlining research priorities. PAPs sustained longer than 10 years had more focused goals of programme and policy evaluations and professional training, while PAPs 10 years or newer were engaged in more diverse goals. The majority of PAPs used journal articles, presentations, and multimedia as dissemination strategies of findings. Fewer than half of the PAPs reported on use of PAP-generated evidence in subsequent decision making by public care agency leaders.

Discussion and conclusions:

Further research should examine which mechanisms link partnership contexts, PAP leaders’ research evidence use, and youth outcomes improvement. Future research should also examine PAPs by detailed stages of development and ask PAP leaders directly about their evidence use.

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  • 1 Fordham University, , USA
  • | 2 Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Philadelphia, , USA
  • | 3 University of Pennsylvania, , USA

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