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Abstract

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has attracted national attention for his public health policy reforms. The policy process behind the reform program has received less scrutiny, especially the use of research by policymakers. We show that the process used to develop, promote, and evaluate polices is heavily based on five types of data and research. New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene staff conducted in-depth appraisals of existing published research, used local health surveys and private laboratory surveillance data, engaged in “shoe-leather” field research, formed research collaborations within and outside government, and disseminated research to legitimize policy changes. The findings are based on 27 semi-structured key-informant interviews with individuals from a range of organizations engaged in implementing or influencing public health policies in New York City.