HRC UKHealth Research Forum                                                                         

Health Research Forum

The Health Research Forum aims to develop and disseminate new ideas for the improvement of public health in the UK and elsewhere. These new ideas will be presented in expert reports that will be made available to the public and health professions. The ideas will also be promoted in the media as a whole and letters commenting on reports will be published on the website. Health Research Forum (HFR) may also hold conferences to explore new ideas in health research and may from time to time provide advice and assistance to enable the implementation of new ideas for improvement of public health.

HRF intends to encourage the development of a sound health policy and healthy lifestyles based so far as possible on scientific evidence, and it intends to make this sound health policy as widely known as possible. HRF reports will question assumptions on which current health policy is based and look for better or more efficient ways of promoting good health and of preventing damage to health at all stages of life. The reports published by HRF aim to be authoritative. They will be based on in-depth research of the medical, scientific and lay literature and will be fully referenced. They will be subjected to a process of peer review with subsequent revision before publication.

It is hoped that HRF will fill an important gap in the chain of knowledge that leads from cutting edge research to best contemporary practice. We hope to shorten the time it takes for new ideas to become publicly known, appraised and, when appropriate, put into practice. We also intend to act as a forum for discussion and testing of new ideas and new approaches in the health disciplines.

Medical and scientific knowledge has grown at an accelerating rate for many years and is now so vast that no one can claim to know it well. Experts have the background learning and the skills to quickly update their knowledge when needed, but they do not generally have the time to question assumptions and obtain answers in areas outside their speciality. As a result much important knowledge that lies in the gaps between established areas of expertise may be taken for granted, its assumptions unquestioned, old truths lost, and new findings never integrated into the general body of knowledge. HRF will make it its business to examine important gaps in knowledge and question the assumptions on which current policies that influence health are based.

This role is an essential one in what has come to be called "knowledge translation". Knowledge accumulates in the learned literature, but for it to make any significant difference to health it must be utilised to change policy and alter professional practice, to modify the behaviour and lifestyle of individuals, and challenge commercial practices. It is the aim of HRF to explore our resources of knowledge, old and new, critically examine opposing ideas and find the best policy and practice for the future health of the public.