June 2024

Bridging the Gap: How Bioethics Researchers are Influencing Policy

What role can bioethics research play in public policy? What skills and perspectives are needed to translate academic work for those creating that policy?

On June 17, 2024, The Greenwall Foundation hosted a webinar to showcase the work of three grantees who are taking the knowledge gained from bioethics research projects directly to those making policy in relevant areas. With support from the Foundation’s Bridging Bioethics Research & Policymaking initiative, these scholars worked with policy and communications specialists to translate research results into understandable and actionable formats that could meaningfully add to the policy conversation. 

Each project highlighted the importance of collaboration in bridging bioethics research and policy. Robert Cook-Deegan, MD, of Arizona State University, worked with communications experts to share his team’s effort to expand a collective knowledge commons for inherited cancer risks, and described his project as “taking the work that we had done and turning it into a form that was much more likely to be useful to the audience we were trying to reach in Congress and in the executive branch.” Rice University’s Kirstin Matthews, PhD, echoed this theme, touching on the important role that students across her state played in creating targeted messaging for Texas state legislators. “The goal wasn’t just to engage policymakers but also to include some of our students and staff to get involved in the policymaking process,” Matthews said. In the creation of a discussion tool for local collaboration on meeting the housing needs of aging Americans, Nancy Berlinger, PhD, of The Hastings Center, highlighted how “[policymakers] knew there was more to the picture of late life than healthcare expenditures, but they weren’t always sure how to talk about this”, remarking on the importance of “figuring out how people can have conversations about complicated issues.”

For more details on the experiences of these grantees and lessons learned from the implementation of their Bridging Bioethics Research & Policymaking projects, see the full video above or on YouTube. Be sure you don’t miss the next Greenwall Foundation event by subscribing to our newsletter at the bottom of this page.