Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar Program Clinical Scholars Program
University of North Carolina
Health Services Research Call for Papers
Special Issue

Bridging the Gap Between Research and Health Policy – Insights from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program

Sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars

Submission deadline: December 17, 2010

Health Services Research (HSR) and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars program are pleased to announce a call for papers to a Special Issue of the Journal, regarding how research can inform health policy. Current Clinical Scholars and alumni/ae of the program are encouraged to submit their best research on this topic. The deadline for manuscripts is December 17, 2010. Read on for more details…

HSR and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars program are partnering to publish a Special Issue on a critically important topic: how to inform health policy through research. Current Clinical Scholars and alumni/ae of the Clinical Scholars program will serve as the lead and/or senior authors of articles published in the supplement.

Two critical gaps often impede the translation of evidence into policy. First, relevant evidence may simply not yet exist. That is, time-sensitive policy needs frequently exceed the reach of available research, which may be well designed and carefully conducted but fails to answer questions in ways that policymakers find useful. Second, even when sound evidence supports a particular policy intervention, fiscal, political, and other pragmatic concerns can impede the implementation of effective policy.

Increasingly, health services investigators are designing and conducting research to inform policymakers at multiple levels. These research efforts encompass a broad variety of research methods, including qualitative and quantitative approaches, local and national data, and cutting-edge work involving community-based participatory research, multi-level hierarchical analyses, and dynamic multi-state modeling. Some of the most visible and active leaders in research-informing-policy efforts have been alumni/ae and current fellows of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars program.

Current and former Clinical Scholars are invited to submit manuscripts for consideration for a Special Issue of HSR that will feature top-quality examples of policy-relevant research. Authors are asked to include a section in their manuscripts describing how their research has informed or is expected to inform policymakers.

We are soliciting the following types of submissions:

Original research describing the generation or consequences of health policy: One example of such work would be policy evaluation; another example would be a study or an account of translating research into policy.

Original research describing patient or community level factors that should be incorporated into health policy:
Well-meaning policy interventions can have unintended consequences if they are created or implemented without input from the target population. An example of a suitable submission would describe original efforts that follow the principles and practices of community-based participatory research, particularly as a way to identify targets for policy interventions or barriers to effective policy application and then move such findings forward.

Reports from “the field”: We are seeking detailed, critical appraisals of the process of bringing evidence to bear on policy decision-making. An example would be a description from researchers, policy officials, and/or policymakers of how they have systematically approached and learned from the research-informing-policy challenge.

Criteria for selection of manuscripts include:
(1) quality, rigor and originality,
(2) significance and usefulness for informing policy through research;
(3) and clarity of writing and presentation. 

All manuscripts must follow the "Instructions for Authors," When ready to submit, please go to

To be considered for the Special Issue, each manuscript must have as either the first or last/senior author:

a current Clinical Scholar OR

an alumnus/a of the CSP

These qualifications should be noted as part of the cover letter in the submission process. The intent of this call is that at least one author must be a current or former Clinical Scholar and have a prominent role as an author. That is, a Clinical Scholar or alumnus/a should be first author (or last author for senior researchers) or at least have a demonstrably key role as a senior author. We particularly encourage current Scholars or very recent graduates (2006 or more recent) to be first authors.

Manuscripts submitted for this supplement will undergo the usual HSR peer review process, coordinated by Special Issue Guest Editors Cary Gross (Yale CSP) and Matt Davis (Michigan CSP) and Senior Associate Editor Carolyn Clancy from HSR. While accepted manuscripts for this Special Issue will be published in print as a set in February 2012, all accepted articles will be published electronically within a few weeks of a given manuscript’s acceptance (i.e., as soon as it has undergone production and copyediting processes) using Wiley-Blackwell's Early View process. Articles published through Early View are fully published, appear in PubMed, and can be cited with the effective date of online posting.

Key dates for authors:

Deadline for receipt of manuscripts: December 17, 2010

Potential advance online publication dates: April 2011 - January 2012

Print publication date for the Special Issue: February 2012.