Stakeholder Dialogues are one of the Forum’s two core programs and build around a deliberative dialogues approach. Dialogues consist of a multi-stage process that aim to ensure relevant evidence on pressing health concerns is used to fuel action for improving health outcomes through collective problem solving. The innovative program developed by the Forum focuses attention on a health challenge by marshalling research evidence, and convening stakeholders for an off-the-record discussion that will inform future actions and policymaking. The dialogues involve representation from many groups who would be involved in or affected by decisions on the issue, including policymakers, researchers, medical personnel and other stakeholders. The entire group learns from the different views and experience at the table. This mixing can uncover unique understandings of the underlying problem, and spark insights for viable solutions and key implementation considerations that can only come about when all of those involved in or affected by future decisions related to the issue can work through it together.
Steps in a Dialogue
Stakeholder Dialogues address some of the factors that have been identified as ways to increase the use of research evidence in policymaking and support the translation of research evidence into action. First, dialogues increase interaction among policymakers and researchers and build the informal relationships that have been shown to increase the use of research evidence. Second, dialogues can be organized on short notice in order to respond in a timely way to a 'window of opportunity.' Third, dialogues enable all participants to understand how the existing research evidence does or does not align with the existing beliefs, values, interests or political goals of key stakeholders (including within their own stakeholder group), and therefore where opportunities for synergy can be capitalized upon and tensions can be addressed more openly.