Many of us work on policy-relevant research which aims to inform decision makers as they work towards the development of effective solutions. However, advances in the evidence base don’t always lead to policy changes, and changes in policy don’t regularly reflect the evidence base. Filling the gap between the best available evidence and public policy is critical for improving population health. This can be facilitated by a better understanding of the policy making process. The purpose of this session is to get the perspective of one researcher – Sara Bleich – who served as a White House Fellow from 2015 to 2016 where she worked as a Senior Policy Advisor to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the First Lady’s Let’s Move initiative. She will discuss what drove her to step away from academic life into this policy experience and highlight key takeaways, such as important lessons learned and how this experience has affected the approach she now takes to research.

5:15pm My Year in the White House
Sara N Bleich, PhD