Despite concerns that the health policy academy is divorced from policy making, the articles in this special issue generally suggest that academic policy research played important roles in the development, implementation, and subsequent defense of the Affordable Care Act. One reason for this relative success was the presence of many “embedded academics”—researchers who took leaves from universities to spend time working for the Obama administration or Congress. Embedded academics can help bridge the wide gap between the institutional cultures of the academy and of government and can thus act as translators of academic research for policy-making purposes. This essay describes how the cultures of the academy and of government policy research differ and suggests ways to use those cultural differences to improve knowledge translation.

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