, Volume 72, Issue 1, pp 79-102

Knowledge Transfer, Policymaking and Community Empowerment: A Consensus Model Approach for Providing Public Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

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An important problem in creating new programs and polices is how to encourage the transfer of knowledge in non-hierarchical ways so that new, relevant and specific knowledge is co-created by all interested parties. In this paper, we suggest that a consensus model of policymaking is one response and identify four key structural elements thought necessary for creating such a consensus infrastructure. These are a) a leadership and facilitating capacity for initiating and promoting such an endeavor, b) a network or consortium of key researchers, practitioners, consumers, and policymakers to empower community ownership of the endeavor, c) a process for consensus building and strategic problem-solving for such a consortium, and d) the continued creation of a multi-directional dialogue through information dissemination. We examine these elements in action by describing a particular problem solving and consensus building model for developing and implementing a program, resolving group differences, and evaluating the group's process and products.