2002 Communications Campaign Promotes Health Services Research

Campaign to broaden understanding of and support for health services research

In 2002 and 2003, AcademyHealth, a nonprofit health policy resource center and professional association in Washington, developed Connecting the Dots, a communication campaign to educate key audiences on the value and impact of health services research.

Knowledge generated by health services researchers has led to programs that:

  • Benefit the elderly.
  • The use of technology to help prevent medication errors.
  • Expanded access to mammography for women.

Yet health services research remains under-funded and underused in part because, unlike biomedical research, the public and policy makers do not understand its impact on health.

Key Results

Staff at AcademyHealth reported the following results:

  • Project staff designed an education campaign called Connecting the Dots: Transforming Health Care Through Research to highlight the connections between research and its practical applications to improved health.

    The campaign strategy identified four key audiences — policymakers, health services researchers, advocates and the media — and developed targeted messages for each group.
  • The project team created materials for the campaign including:
    • Six flyers called HSR Impacts tell brief "success stories" to illustrate the positive impact health services research has had on health policy and practice in these areas: obesity, patient safety, health care staffing, aging, racial disparities and women's health.
    • 19 "Champion" statements, from such opinion leaders as Carolyn Clancy of the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, U.S. Senators William Frist (R-Tenn.) and John D. Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Bill Novelli, president of the AARP, highlight the importance of health services research.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) awarded a $50,000, one-year grant for this project, beginning in August 2002.