From Pilot to Policy:

Tools for program staff, philanthropy and other stakeholders

Throughout the state, creative and caring Ohioans are working together to design and implement programs that improve health and well-being in their communities. Private philanthropy, nonprofit organizations and public entities are launching pilot programs to test whether an innovative or tailored approach can achieve desired outcomes. Even with proven or promising results, it can be difficult for program leaders to communicate lessons learned with policymakers and others, advocate for policy changes to support the program and secure funding to sustain or expand the program.

Though the challenges Ohioans face are complex and will likely require policy and system changes, improvement is possible. Approaches being taken by different health and human services pilot programs can result in positive change in the lives of Ohioans, and policymakers can invest resources strategically.

To develop “From Pilot to Policy,” HPIO conducted 11 key-informant interviews with 13 experts in Ohio, including current and former policymakers, program staff and individuals involved with state policymaking. Insights shared in the key-informant interviews, as well as key quotes from the interviews, are included in this document.

What's included:

This document provides recommendations, guidance, tools and resources for use by program staff and philanthropy to:

  • Determine the barriers faced and successes achieved in launching, evaluating and scaling up pilot projects to improve health, achieve equity and lead to sustainable healthcare spending
  • Understand the steps involved in launching, evaluating and scaling up pilot projects
  • Increase awareness of the types of evidence and information that policymakers need to support scaling up pilot projects
  • Identify potential sources of sustained funding, including blending and braiding of public and private funding sources
  • Understand the next steps needed to increase the successful scaling of pilot projects into programs and policies that reach Ohioans in need at the scale necessary to achieve measurable improvements in health, equity and healthcare spending

Funding for this project was provided through a grant from bi3, a philanthropic initiative of Bethesda Inc., and HPIO’s other core funders.

Key Recommendations

Program staff, philanthropy and other stakeholders can promote the development, implementation and sustainability of evidence-informed or promising pilot programs by:

  • Building trust with policymakers and other decision-makers by developing strong relationships that transcend specific pilot program needs or “asks”
  • Presenting policymakers and other decision-makers with high-quality, contextualized data showing effectiveness or promising results of pilot programs paired with testimonies from clients
  • Aligning messaging with priorities of policymakers and other decision-makers
  • Engaging the assistance of a champion or group of champions — people who will advocate strongly on behalf of the program for its sustainability and longevity
  • Educating state and local decision-makers about health and human services policy and demonstrating how evidence-informed and community-supported programs address complex problems facing Ohio


Stephen Listisen, MPA

Published On

February 9, 2023

Table of Contents

  1. What's included:
  2. Key Recommendations
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