Since 2015, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Policies for Action (P4A) research program has been funding a growing body of work to understand how policies shape the root causes of health and survival, and, in particular, what policy solutions are needed to significantly boost population health, well-being, and equity in the United States. Scholars at the Urban Institute, home of the national coordinating center for P4A, have been working closely with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, providing both strategic advice and programmatic support. We developed this review as part of our planning work together, to help sharpen our thinking and oversight of P4A and its potential impact in the policymaking field. This review aims to unpack what we know about evidence-based policymaking and how it can be improved. This knowledge can advance at least three goals:
- Increasing the production of sound evidence for policymaking, keeping in mind what constitutes evidence and who is involved in its generation
- Improving the use of evidence (its ability to be acted upon) at all levels and stages of policymaking
- Applying a racial equity and justice lens to both the production of evidence and its use in policymaking.