Assoc. Prof. Yothin Sawangdee, Ph.D

Workshop #1

How to Plan, Write, and Communicate an Effective Health Policy Brief

Assoc. Prof. Yothin Sawangdee, Ph.D

Institute for Population and Social Research – Mahidol University, Thailand


Knowledge produced through research must be translated into understandable, accessible, and relevant evidence that can be used by decision makers to mobilize resources, formulate policy, implement programs, and evaluate impact. However, shortcomings found in the translation process mean that evidence is not always utilized as effectively as it could be. Indeed, research findings are often not synthesized, packaged, or contextualized for those very audiences that could have the largest benefit. The resulting discontinuity between research and action is sometimes referred to as the “knowledge-action gap.”

Although many health care professionals are interested in health policy, relatively few have training in how to utilize their clinical experience and scientific knowledge to impact policy. Providing a summary of results from peer-reviewed papers in a format that is easily accessible to community advocates, and to policy makers (often elected officials with limited content area knowledge, training, or time), can facilitate policy discussion and change. One of the approaches to summarize results for consumption by community members and policy makers is the “policy brief.”

In this session, you will be guided by Yothin Sawangdee to understand how to plan, write, and communicate an effective health policy brief. He is an Associate Professor at Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, Thailand. He is an expert in demography, poverty, migration, and socio-economic development and mortality. He obtained a Master of Arts in Demography from Mahidol University, Thailand and a Doctor in Sociology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA. He writes a lot about socio-demographic determinant of health, family planning, woman’s health, migration, mental health, and other population health-related issues.