The past several months have set the field of health and human services on an accelerated path towards adaptation and innovation for how we invest in outcomes that work for children and families. As our nation grapples with the deepening inequities that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated, there is more urgency than ever for state and local health and human services agencies to adopt policies and practices that work. Yet, in the face of dire need in our communities, mounting budget shortfalls, and rapid transformation of business processes to support social distancing, agencies must make decisions that respond to the crises of today while using research evidence to support outcomes for the future.
To overcome these challenges and translate research into policy and practice, we must make evidence relevant, accessible, and actionable. Achieving this requires systematic approaches to connect human services policymakers and practitioners that are building the evidence base in the field with the research community that is lifting up insights for future investments. Through these connections, we must bridge differences in language, culture, and perspective to advance our shared commitment to building healthy and thriving communities.
With these principles in mind, I am excited to announce APHSA’s new initiative, the Applied Research in Policy (ARIP) program. Through ARIP, APHSA will strengthen the connections between state and local implementers and academic researchers to advance a culture of evidence in health and human services. This initiative provides a platform for collaboration by disseminating important research to implementers responsible for translating evidence into action, involving the voice of state and local implementers in research planning and design, and using best practices in the field to inform research priorities. Most importantly, through ARIP we will co-create a learning agenda between researchers and state and local agencies to advance modern approaches to sound policies, build capacity to enable healthy families and communities, and accelerate learning and practical solutions together.
I encourage both APHSA members and those within the research community to join us in this shared journey to advance the use of research and invest in outcomes that work. You can learn more about ARIP and how to get involved by visiting our ARIP page.