Impacting Policy by Accelerating Translation

Communicating with Decision-Makers

Effectively communicating with decision-makers is an essential skill for IMPACT-oriented scientists. IMPACT-oriented scientists understand health literacy. Using plain language helps the public (including decision-makers) read, understand, and know what to do with research findings.

Below are some clips from two videos focusing on effective communication with decision-makers:

Tips for Communicating with Decision-Makers

  • Margot Kushel, MD explains why it is important to not use jargon when speaking with decision-makers.
  • Tomika Moss, Executive Director of All Home, a community organization partnering with Dr. Kushel, shares the importance of plain language.
  • Naomi Bardach, MD and Yvette Edwards, Executive Member of Decreasing the Distance, share why it is important to keep it simple when explaining science and the “why” behind science.

Strategically Using Data

  • Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff states why it is important to use data to change the narrative.
  • Dr. Margot Kushel, Tomika Moss, Executive Director, All Home, and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff discuss using data-informed stories for policy change.
  • Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff shares how Dr. Margot’s Kushel’s data and story gathering turned into policy change.
  • Tomika Moss, Executive Director, All Home shares how data validates the community’s story.
  • Naomi Bardach, MD and Sailaja Suresh, Senior Director, Oakland Unified School District explain why it is important to help your audience interpret data.

The Changemakers Series engaged some of UCSF’s IMPACT-oriented scientists and their partners in government, community, and the media in discussions about how academics can be more strategic in accelerating evidence-informed policies and programs.  Their advice is compelling!  

Using Research to Influence Local Policy: Oakland's Initiative to Support Older Adults Experiencing Homelessness

A partnership between a UCSF scientist, government officials, media, and advocacy organizations illustrating how structural inequities can be addressed by influencing local policies and programs that can be widely scaled.


  • Margot Kushel, Professor of Medicine, UCSF
  • Libby Schaaf, Mayor, City of Oakland
  • Kevin Fagan, Reporter, SF Chronicle
  • Tomiquia Moss, Executive Director, All Home

Synthesis and Communication of Evidence – COVID-19 and School Re-Opening Policies in the Bay Area

A discussion among a UCSF scientist, an advocacy organization, a government official, and a school official about how scientific evidence can be best translated for rapid dissemination to policymakers, community members, and other collaborators.


  • Naomi Bardach, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, UCSF and Lead, California's Safe Schools for All Team
  • Yvette Edwards, Executive Member, Decreasing the Distance
  • Jenny Lam, Commissioner, San Francisco Board of Education
  • Sailaja Suresh, Senior Director of School Operations, Oakland Unified School District

Click here for clips from the Changemaker Series on IMPACT-oriented science topics.

The UCSF Office of Communications may have additional strategies and resources for disseminating your work.