The Role of Research in Policy and Practice: The Zika Phenomena in Puerto Rico

Gloria Nazario-Pietri, Luis A. Bonilla-Soto, Cruz María Nazario


On April 19, 2017, the 37th Medical Sciences Campus Annual Research and Education Forum opened with the discussion panel The role of research in policy and practice: The Zika phenomena in Puerto Rico, with Dr. Cruz M. Nazario Delgado, Dr. Carmen D. Zorrilla and Dr. Luis A. Bonilla Soto. In this article, we critically examine the public policy process of the Zika epidemic in Puerto Rico, as presented by authors Nazario and Bonilla. We argue that policymaking and the public health responses to confront the Zika epidemic in Puerto Rico took place in a political environment where different US and local actors operated to advance their goals and vision, undermining the role of knowledge, evidence and past experiences. We propose a bottom to top preventive and community empowerment approach to control the vector. This model must be built on successful policy implementation experiences with epidemics in the Island and strengthened by evidence, international guidelines and ethical principles.


Zika in Puerto Rico; the political economy of epidemics; Evidence-based policymaking political economy of epidemics

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