Background: Tobacco control program leaders and their partners, who often present evidence to policymakers, can increase the use of evidence in program and policy development. However, up-to-date evidence from the scientific community about what works is slow to reach leaders. We describe efforts to understand and utilize tobacco control leaders' preferences for receiving evidence and report on resulting dissemination strategies, translational products, and outcomes.
Methods: This work is part of the Advancing Science and Practice in the Retail Environment (ASPiRE) Center, an interdisciplinary research center focused on understanding and evaluating tobacco retail policy. Participants were members of the ASPiRE Community Advisory Board (CAB), comprised of tobacco control leaders from 30 metropolitan areas representing all regions of the US plus nine representatives from leading national tobacco control organizations (N = 39). During meetings in February 2019 and October 2020, all CAB members were invited to participate in live polls consisting of six survey questions each. Questions addressed preferences for receiving scientific evidence and their anticipated use of ASPiRE translational products. Responses were analyzed descriptively and informed translational product development and communications with ASPiRE contact list members (N = 125). ASPiRE email and website interactions were tracked from March 2019 to May 2021 as a complementary indication of content use.
Results: Response rates for 2019 and 2020 CAB meetings were 66% (n = 26) and 59% (n = 23), respectively. CAB members indicated preferences for email communication (33%) and webinars (31%), communications once per month (46%), and short-format documents (28%). In response, the team developed translational short-format products including case studies, fact sheets, and research briefs. On average, 52% (SD = 14%) of recipients opened the newsletter and 17% (SD = 9%) clicked a link within the newsletter. Overall, 95% of responding CAB members found the products useful and all responding CAB members reported using them to communicate evidence to policymakers, staff, and coalition members.
Conclusions: Our successful dissemination approach to making evidence more accessible and useable for tobacco control leaders could be adapted by researchers working with community partners to assess and respond to stakeholders' preferences for receiving evidence in other areas of health policy.
Keywords: Academic-Community partnership; Community advisory board; Dissemination; Health communications; Policy implementation; Tobacco control.
© 2022. The Author(s).