About Synthesis

The Synthesis Project is an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to produce briefs and reports that synthesize research findings on perennial health policy questions. These products give policy-makers reliable information and new insights to inform complex policy decisions. The project pairs researchers with policy analysts to produce Synthesis reports and briefs. Members of the project's advisory group provide insights and guidance to the project and actively participate in the development and review process for Synthesis products. View all



Why aren't research results more useful to policy-makers?

  • Policy-makers are besieged with information but results are not translated for policy decisions.
  • Research does not address pressing policy questions.
  • Journal articles and research reports are written for researchers, not policy-makers.
  • Policy-makers have little time to stay abreast of current research.


The Foundation developed Synthesis products to address policy-makers' requests for short, skim-able and policy-focused information. The project's reports and briefs share the following characteristics:

  • They are structured around policy questions, rather than research issues.
  • They distill and weigh the strength of research evidence in a rigorous and objective manner.
  • They draw out the policy implications of findings.

The prototype Synthesis products are tailored to the diverse needs of policy-makers and analysts:

  • Policy Briefs: Short and skim-able summaries highlight major findings and policy implications.
  • Research Synthesis Reports: Somewhat longer reports provide more in-depth and layered information, analysis of information gaps and questions for future research.
  • Charts: Data and information sources for policy briefs and research synthesis reports.

We welcome your feedback as we develop products to meet policy-makers' information needs. Please contact us at synthesisproject@rwjf.org.

Contact Policy Synthesis


Synthesis Working Team


  • Linda T. Bilheimer, Ph.D., Congressional Budget Office
  • Jon B. Christianson, Ph.D., University of Minnesota
  • Paul B. Ginsburg, Ph.D., Center for Studying Health System Change
  • Jack Hoadley, Ph.D., Georgetown University Health Policy Institute
  • Haiden A. Huskamp, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School
  • Julia A. James, Independent Consultant
  • Judith D. Moore, Independent Consultant
  • William J. Scanlon, Ph.D., National Health Policy Forum
  • Michael S. Sparer, Ph.D., Columbia University


  • David C. Colby, Ph.D., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Katherine Hempstead, Ph.D., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
  • Sarah Goodell, M.A., The Synthesis Project