Evidence-Based Health Policy Project

The Evidence-Based Health Policy Project advances Wisconsin’s health by providing policymakers in the public and private sectors with timely, non-partisan, high-quality information for evidence-based decision-making.

The project emphasizes increased involvement of University of Wisconsin – Madison faculty in researching and teaching issues related to state public policy. The project is part of the School of Medicine and Public Health’s acceleration of changes in public health and across-sector program development.


The Evidence-Based Health Policy Project is a partnership of the University of Wisconsin – Madison’s La Follette School of Public Affairs and the Population Health Institute, and the Wisconsin Legislative Council to bridge medicine and health policy, and research and practice, and to link academic research in a meaningful way in service to government and the Wisconsin Legislature.

The project methods are based on the premise that, to make research more applicable to real-world circumstances, researchers must interact with people involved with the provision and funding of health care. This better communication and collaboration will produce work that is more relevant, more timely, and presented in formats that benefit policymakers. These practices will increase the utility of university-generated research and its incorporation into policy and practice.

Public sector participants include members of the Wisconsin Legislature, high-ranking officials of state agencies, and members of the governor’s staff and academics. From the private sector, this project engages industry executives, physicians, hospitals, insurers, and advocates. In this way, the project stimulates dialogue and familiarity among persons from different sectors who might not otherwise cross paths. They then can consider promising arenas for collaborative research and for advancement of public policy.

Methods and venues for sharing information include:

  • Forums: Invitation-based events provide public and private sector policymakers with high quality information on health issues and an opportunity to discuss the ramifications of this information in a safe harbor environment.
  • Expert panel symposia: Lectures, and question and answer sessions led by experts in health policy, health care, and related fields provide legislators, staff, and state agency employees with timely, factual information for sound decision-making.
  • Just-in-time briefings: University expert-led briefings provide legislators, staff, and state agency employees with quick, evidence-based responses to priority issues raised in the Legislature.
  • Methods exchanges: Structured meetings between legislators and researchers provide opportunities for legislators and researchers to learn from each other, paving the way for continued collaboration.

La Follette School faculty involved in the project


La Follette School Associate Director Hilary Shager, hshager@lafollette.wisc.edu