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Stakeholders Inform Use of Research Evidence in Perinatal Policymaking

an asian woman and her baby smile for a photograph

The Colorado Lab recently convened policy decision-makers and influencers to co-develop strategies that Colorado can adopt to support evidence-based decision-making and drive equitable outcomes in perinatal health for all families. The convening was the culminating event on a project exploring how to improve the use of research evidence in perinatal policymaking. Investing in families in the perinatal period, from pregnancy through the first year of life, is crucial to helping infants and their caregivers get a healthy start in life.

The project was legislatively authorized by SB21-194 (Maternal Health Providers), a part of the Birth Equity Bill package to study the use of research evidence in policies related to the perinatal period. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment partnered with the Colorado Lab to fulfill this legislative opportunity.

Following initial “numbers and narratives” data gathering by the Colorado Lab, family, community, and policy leaders came together to address this task collaboratively. They were highly engaged and energized as they learned more about the development of a commonly accepted vision for Colorado’s approach to evidence-based decision-making (EBDM) and discussed how to:

  • Provide research evidence in context (e.g., also consider implementation feasibility, community voice, cultural values, etc.) during policy and budget decisions;
  • Make research evidence clear so that it is useful across the policymaking process, from vision to creation to implementation;
  • Make EBDM understandable so that it is actively used to support and align perinatal policy actions and investments; and
  • Provide easy access to sources of quality research evidence and close evidence gaps for communities that have been historically harmed by research practices.

The Colorado lab is creating a guide informed by project findings and key strategies identified by stakeholders in the convening. Available this fall, the guidance will support policy, family, and community leaders in working toward systems-level solutions in perinatal health.

To learn more, please contact Dr. Courtney Everson.