Commonly offered: This course is very likely to be offered in the next one to three years.
A small experiential learning class in the spring for UW-Madison undergraduates who are interested in health policy. The students will be placed into four groups. Each group will produce a set of research outputs analyzing one health policy question. Each group will research their question by pulling together, synthesizing, and analyzing existing information and research on the topic. They will also investigate what current WI state policies are on the topic. Then they will pick 2-4 other states to investigate what their policies are on this same topic. Thus, each student group will be using a “comparative states approach where they will gather insights on what policies are working well, and not so well, across other American states. They will then make recommendations based on their analyses regarding how WI state law might change in order to better address their health policy question.
Facilitates skill-building to answer questions such as how policymakers use research and evidence in their jobs, how researchers can make their work useful to policymakers, and how legislative support staff and other stakeholders use research and evidence to shape policy. Students will explore the definition of “evidence-based”, learn about different kinds of evidence and how it is used, and learn strategies for judging the rigor of research evidence. They will also explore the difference between an education-based approach to working with policymakers versus an advocacy-based approach, learn strategies for communicating research to policymakers (including written and oral presentations and data visualizations), research examples of successful evidence-based policymaking efforts, and understand the limits of using research in policymaking.