Research That Informs Policy

As government and communities become increasingly aware of the importance of policy based on evidence, the Center is committed to translating scientific research that can improve public health into meaningful yet easy to understand information. Once we publish our research findings for the field, we don't stop there. We aim to take it one step further and convey our research in a meaningful way that can guide policy- and decision-making and, at the same time, influence public opinion. We are currently increasing our research capacity to include economic analyses of prevention policies and practices.

The Center has been successful at influencing state-level policy and funding priorities for evidence-base practices through its EPISCenter project with the state of Pennsylvania. The EPISCenter has become an internationally recognized model for how intermediary organizations can improve the reach, implementation, quality, and sustainability of prevention efforts informed by science. We are expanding our translation research and practice beyond the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to other states, the federal government, and internationally. 

We also work closely with National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives (NPSC) to expand the transfer of information from science to practice and policy and capitalize on the connections it has with community organizations and policymakers. The Coalition distills prevention research findings, makes corresponding policy recommendations, educates the public and informs decision-making in multiple forums, from congressional briefings to white papers and opinion editorials.

Our first social emotional learning grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation made possible the development of a series of briefs on current research, evidence-based practices and the policy implications of social and emotional learning. Topic areas included SEL across development (infancy, preschool, elementary school, middle/high school), teacher stress, parent engagement, and others.

Our second social emotional learning grant from this Foundation is focusing on future directions in SEL. Briefs are being prepared with a look toward “what’s next” in the field, including which innovative strategies have the potential to address the critical remaining challenges and opportunities for the sustainable scaling of SEL in families, schools and communities.

Through these advocacy research activities, we can reach more communities and ideally influence social change that will improve outcomes for children and families everywhere.