Influencing policy with research—public health advocacy and health inequalities

Katherine Smith, Ellen Stewart, Peter Donnelly, Ben McKendrick

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


After charting the growing literature concerning public health knowledge translation, this chapter compares traditional public health accounts of policymaking with those evident in political science and policy studies. It then reflects on some of the difficulties facing those working to improve the use of health inequalities research in decision-making and considers claims that public health advocacy may be required. Drawing on available literature, the chapter then considers similarities between ‘advocacy’ and a range of other concepts, including ‘knowledge exchange’ and ‘lobbying’, and outlines some of the risks facing health inequalities researchers who try to engage in ‘advocacy’-orientated work. By briefly comparing tobacco control and health inequalities, the chapter reflects on the factors that appear to contribute to successful public health advocacy. Finally, the chapter makes the case for more health inequalities researchers to engage in advocacy-orientated work and considers strategies for managing some of the risks involved.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHealth Inequalities
Subtitle of host publicationCritical Perspectives
EditorsKatherine Smith, Clare Bambra, Sarah Hill
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780198703358
Publication statusPublished - 26 Nov 2015


  • advocacy
  • knowledge exchange
  • knowledge translation
  • lobbying
  • policy
  • policymaking
  • public health
  • health inequalities
  • tobacco control


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