Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sharing the Road with Friends

Lynne Garner, PhD

As a funder of research that will “promote practical benefit for improving health,” Donaghue has an uphill road to climb. Sure, competently and ethically funding research is a big job, but it’s one that I think we’ve done fairly well. But funding the type of research that will lead to actually improving health and healthcare? Now that’s a far greater challenge.

As we work on this challenge, partnering with others who share this same passion is a real help. Though INQRI and Donaghue each have their own ways of developing new knowledge and learning how that knowledge can make an impact, we’ve found several ways to work together on those goals:

Host a Funders Form – The question of why knowledge from research doesn’t more readily get used by health care providers, systems and consumers is too frequently laid at the doorstep of researchers and their institutions. Certainly, there are a lot of answers to be found there, such as poorly aligned rewards and the heavily-resourced intervention being tested that can’t be sustained without a research grant. But funders need to look at themselves for answers, too. What expectations do we require or discourage that later impacts implementation? Are funding cycles too short to make a real impact? Do we focus on research that is more theory-driven than reality-driven? These are some of the themes explored during a two-day forum of over 20 funders hosted by INQRI and Donaghue in 2009.

Use Stakeholders – And speaking of how funders can shape their programs to enhance the uptake of research findings, INQRI was an innovator in requiring their researchers to work with practice and policy stakeholders through the course of the research project and beyond. The impact of these stakeholder’s perspectives is clear when INQRI researchers describe their work. Learned from INQRI’s example, Donaghue has incorporated stakeholders in our programs and review panels.

Try Out New Research Models – One of Donaghue’s goals is to work with others to test new ideas in grantmaking and health research. So we were delighted when RWJF and INQRI asked us to join the Future of Nursing Funders’ Community. By using an online portal and quick review of the proposals’ match with the program requirements, the community increases the efficiency of researchers applying for funds and of grantmakers looking to identify relevant opportunities.

A journey is always better if you can share the road with a friend, and Donaghue thanks INQRI for their work on these important issues. Donaghue welcomes - and I’ll bet INQRI does, too - others who want to work on them with us.

Lynne Garner, PhD, is the President and Trustee for the Donaghue Foundation. 

This post is part of our week-long blog carnival focused on the Medical Care supplement.  Click here to access all posts in this carnival.

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