Indexed on: 24 Feb '06Published on: 24 Feb '06Published in: Community genetics
For an emerging field such as Public Health Genetics, the partnerships that will be developed with stakeholders are of strategic importance, since they may affect long-term impact on policy-making. A concrete example in the field of health technology assessment in genetics was chosen to illustrate how the context in which scientific advisory bodies operate and the nature of partnerships developed over time influence the impact on decision-making at different levels, from the micro (professional) level through the meso (institutional) level to the macro (policy) level. As pointed out in the knowledge transfer literature, impact is not only reflected by instrumental use of knowledge, but also by problem-framing and strategic use of knowledge. Solid partnerships at the micro level, with researchers and health care professionals, are essential to build credibility and trust, and they lay the groundwork for contextualized and relevant advice and potential impact at the policy level. Even though maintaining the necessary critical distance with respect to all stakeholders is easier for institutions that are at arm's length from government, achieving the right balance between an institution's independence and service relationship is a real challenge.