Psychiatric Quarterly, Vol. 72, No. 1, 2001
KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER, POLICYMAKING
AND COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT: A
CONSENSUS MODEL APPROACH FOR
PROVIDING PUBLIC MENTAL HEALTH AND
SUBSTANCE ABUSE SERVICES
Nahama Broner, Ph.D., Michael Franczak, Ph.D.,
Christina Dye, and William McAllister, Ph.D.
An important problem in creating new programs and polices is how to encour-
age the transfer of knowledge in non-hierarchical ways so that new, relevant
and speciﬁc knowledge is co-created by all interested parties. In this paper,
we suggest that a consensus model of policymaking is one response and iden-
tify four key structural elements thought necessary for creating such a con-
sensus infrastructure. These are a) a leadership and facilitating capacity for
initiating and promoting such an endeavor, b) a network or consortium of key
researchers, practitioners, consumers, and policymakers to empower commu-
nity ownership of the endeavor, c) a process for consensus building and strate-
gic problem-solving for such a consortium, and d) the continued creation of a
multi-directional dialogue through information dissemination. We examine
these elements in action by describing a particular problem solving and con-
sensus building model for developing and implementing a program, resolving
group differences, and evaluating the group’s process and products.
KEY WORDS: knowledge transfer; policymaking; mental health; substance abuse;
community empowerment; consensus model.
Nahama Broner, Ph.D., is Research Director of Forensic Mental Health and Dual
Diagnosis Projects, Ehrenkrantz School of Social Work Institute Against Violence, New
York University. Michael Franczak, Ph.D., is Chief of the Bureau for Persons with a
Serious Mental Illness and Christina Dye is Chief of the Bureau for Substance Abuse
and General Mental Health at the Arizona Department of Health, Division of Behav-
ioral Health. William McAllister, Ph.D., is Senior Research Scholar at the Institute for
Social and Economic Research and Policy, Columbia University and at the Center for
Urban Research and Policy, SIPA, Columbia University.
Address correspondence to Dr. Nahama Broner, ESSW, Institute Against Violence,
New York University, 838 Broadway, 3rd Fl., New York, NY 10003.
0033-2720/01/0300-0079$19.50/0 2001 Human Sciences Press, Inc.