The public health impact of children's mental health services and intervention research is maximized when findings are used by state agencies to inform policy decisions. Unfortunately, a substantive body of evidence suggests that research typically has limited influence on policy decisions as barriers related to ineffective dissemination, organizational complexities, and politics impede the translation of research into policy. The use of research evidence in state children's mental health policymaking can potentially be improved by dissemination strategies that are tailored to the individual attributes of decision makers and the contexts in which decisions are made. However, very little policy dissemination research has focused on mental health and almost none has focused on children's mental health. The proposed project will begin to address this knowledge gap by integrating methods from the fields of policy dissemination research and systems science. We will conduct a web-based survey of 450 policymakers in state behavioral health, health, and Medicaid agencies, use a qualitative comparative case study approach and conduct approximately 50 interviews with state agency policymakers in four purposively selected states, and integrate quantitative and qualitative data using an agent-based modeling methodology. The project's specific aims are to: 1) Assess the extent of research use in children's mental health policymaking within state agencies and identify individual, agency, and state factors that influence policy decisions; 2) Integrate quantitative and qualitative data to develop a conceptual framework of the determinants of the uses children's mental health research evidence within state agencies; and 3) Build a prototype agent-based model to identify modifiable targets for intervention to enhance the uses of children's mental health research evidence within state agencies. The project is innovative because it will: A) produce the first national snapshot of the uses of children's mental health research by state policymakers and their policy priorities; B) generate a framework of the determinants of children's mental health research use in state agencies; and C) apply systems science methods to identify targets for dissemination intervention. The project is significant and will have impact because it will provide an empirical basis for the design of dissemination strategies that enhance the use of children's mental health research in state agencies, thereby accelerating the translation of child mental health services research into evidence- informed policy decisions. The project team consists of an early career investigator with expertise in mental health policy dissemination research (Purtle) and senior investigators who have extensive experience working with children's state mental health authorities (McKay, Hoagwood) and systems science methods (Luke). The ultimate goal of the project is to map the determinants of children's mental health research use within state agencies and identify targets that can be modified by tailored dissemination strategies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
Specialized Center (P50)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZMH1)
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
New York University
New York
United States
Zip Code