Consumer Health as a Second Language

Most of us need a translator when it comes to health-relevant research. Research translation* is a growing emphasis in public health. Research translation is about helping “real people” use the evidence that scientists are building. It’s about helping us understand what the results of health-related research are, and what we can do with that information to improve our own lives.

For most people, public health evidence isn’t even a second language, much less our first. For consumers (all of us), that’s a problem. If we don’t speak the language, how are we supposed to understand and use good, credible information to make the healthy choices we’d really like to make?

That’s where research translation comes in. And it’s a key part of improving consumer health. Most of what you’ll find here at consuminghealthmatters will include some research translation. Our hope is that it will be interesting enough that you’ll want to learn more, and meaningful enough that you’ll want to use more public health evidence in your own daily life. Why not? If it’s affordable, easy, and enjoyable, and will probably improve our own long-term health and quality of life, why wouldn’t we make at least some healthier choices at least some of the time? We hope that consuminghealthmatters helps you see areas you might want to make a change – and how to do that.

*Translational research is the term most often used, and “includes two areas of translation. One is the process of applying discoveries generated during research in the laboratory, and in preclinical studies, to the development of trials and studies in humans. The second area of translation concerns research aimed at enhancing the adoption of best practices in the community.” (McGartland Rubio, et al, 2010, p. 3) In other words, translational research helps us move from what we learn using test tubes and rats to planning research with humans. It also helps move evidence from those human studies into doctor’s offices, classrooms, and homes.