case study

Positioning a Leading Voice in Health Policy


The Challenge

In 2005, leaders at the Commonwealth Fund were looking to do more with their research and their experts. They wanted their data, analysis and survey research to be in the room where it happens—informing health policy conversations among policymakers and influencers at the federal and state levels.

They brought in Burness to help them get there by providing the strategy and bandwidth needed to establish the Fund and its leaders in the right places. Over time, we have also been called on to work side by side with the Fund’s leadership on a broader strategic vision to advance specific pieces of their work, including their state health system performance scorecards, international research, health care delivery system reform program and recently established health equity portfolio.

Our Approach

We work in true partnership with the Commonwealth Fund’s communications team and leadership. We function as an extension of their staff, embedding ourselves into their everyday work. As a result, we have a strong understanding of their needs and nuances that informs our strategy at every level.

Simply put, we work with the Fund to put out good, timely information. We get it in the right hands and we make sure that the Fund’s experts can explain it clearly. We advise them on what to put out, when, how to frame it and how to craft and deliver messages for impact. We translate complex health policy research into newsworthy, relevant and digestible communications for a lay audience. In addition, we have built and continue to nurture strong media relationships with reporters at top outlets.

Results and Impact

Our efforts in partnership with the fantastic communications team at the Commonwealth Fund have yielded tremendous results. The Fund’s leaders are viewed as preeminent voices in the health policy world, and journalists frequently seek out the Fund’s researchers for comment  when health policy news breaks. Its work is consistently mentioned in top media outlets such as The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, The Washington Post and NPR. Often cited in The New York Times’ editorials and on opinion pages, the Fund’s work has influence—and it is growing. This exposure translates into a broader reach for Fund research as policymakers regularly tap the Fund’s experts for their insights and guidance.

Contact Our Team

Send us details about your project, ask us about our services or just say hello.