TCC Summit Tackles Tough Topic:
How Do We Translate Science Into Policy Impact?


Science alone is not enough when it comes to eliminating health disparities.

"What we often don’t recognize is that much of what we do is dictated by policy," said Dr. Jammie Hopkins, project director at Morehouse School of Medicine's (MSM) Transdisciplinary Collaborative Center (TCC) for Health Disparities Research. "Policy change is necessary to build the pathways needed for people to maximize their health. Science has a role in helping us understand which policies are most effective in supporting the needs of historically vulnerable populations."

Such realities were the focus of the inaugural TCC Health Policy Research Summit, held Thursday, April 28, 2016 at MSM's National Center for Primary Care. Titled "Translating Science into Policy Impact," the all-day event explored the nuances of conducting innovative collaborative research and effectively translating knowledge to inform policy while advancing health equity.

The summit dovetailed with TCC's role as an institution-wide, health disparities research center. More than 150 members of the public and TCC consortium attended "Translating Science into Policy Impact." Highlights included:

  • Seven interactive breakout sessions with topics ranging from adolescent sexual health in Mississippi and health IT policies to health policy leadership and the improvement of quality and access to integrated care for African-Americans in primary care settings.
  • A book signing for 150 Years of ObamaCare, written by Daniel E. Dawes, executive director of government relations, health policy and external affairs at MSM.
  • The "TCC Shark Tank" competition where competitors vied for a shot at $50,000 to implement their small, health policy-oriented research projects. Two winners were selected: Stephanie Johnson (NaviPsych, LLC) and Dr. Jane Kelly (Georgia Department of Health).
  • A poster presentation session featuring the work of MSM students, faculty, and TCC consortium partners.
  • An interactive Health Equity Vision Board display where attendees developed personalized health equity vision statements.
  • A Policy Hot Topics forum that allowed TCC consortium members and attendees to sound off on important health policy issues and brainstorm opportunities to address persistent barriers to achieving health equity.

Keynote addresses were given by Beverly Malone, chief executive officer of the National League for Nursing; and Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association.

The TCC supports partnerships between communities, academic institutions and health organizations to conduct research to ultimately inform health policy and advance health equity in the Southeast U.S. The summit was a chance to convene and galvanize the TCC consortium and others.

"Events like this allows policy stakeholders from diverse perspectives a platform to share their work and build stronger partnerships," Hopkins said. "Achieving health equity through policy change is a team effort."

TCC is supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) Grant Number U54MD008173, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of NIMHD or NIH.