KT Canada Summer Institute

The NSHRF’s REAL Knowledge Program sponsored three participants to attend the Knowledge Translation (KT) Canada Summer Institute. Held in Quebec City from June 9-11, 2014, the purpose of the SI was to provide participants with the opportunity to increase their understanding of knowledge translation research as well as opportunities and challenges in this field. The SI provided participants with the chance to network with colleagues including national and international KT experts. The theme of the 2014 SI was “Knowledge Translation for 4 Ps (patients, providers, public and policymakers).

We caught up with the three successful participants to learn more about what they wanted to achieve at the KT Summer Institute and then followed up with them upon their return to to hear about their experiences. 

Participant Interviews
Christine Cassidy
Jessie-Lee McIssac 
Annette Elliott Rose

Christine Cassidy

Christine Cassidy, RN, is a graduate student at Dalhousie University’s School of Nursing and Research whose work focuses on Barriers and Facilitators of Access to Sexual Health Services among University Students. To date, there is an extensive amount of research that has explored university students’ sexual health behaviors and associated negative sexual health outcomes; however, it remains unclear why many students are not using sexual health services especially, since this population is at the highest risk for negative sexual outcomes, such as sexually transmitted infections. To explore this gap in the literature, Christine will use a mixed methods design to identify the barriers and facilitators to accessing sexual health services among university students. This will lay the foundation for interventions that may increase the use of sexual health services for this “high-risk” population, which will prevent negative sexual health outcomes and improve sexual well-being.

Pre-Attendance

1. How do you incorporate Knowledge Translation into your research?

As a registered nurse and graduate student, I have witnessed the critical role KT plays in clinical practice and research.  While striving to adhere to evidence-based practice, I am constantly challenged with colleagues who do not use evidence because it is not the way they have always practiced.  Furthermore, as a graduate student I am frightened by the amount of exceptional research that is only disseminated in peer-reviewed journals.  This is a resource that many end users will most likely never go to.  As a result of my experiences in both practice and an academic setting, I have become increasingly intrigued in knowledge translation and knowledge translation research.  Why do health care providers not use evidence in practice when they are trying to provide the best care possible to their patients?  What facilitates change in these individuals? And how can we, as researchers, promote change in practice? I continue to ask myself these types of knowledge translation questions as I learn more about how to explore and conduct research.  As I enter into doctoral studies, I plan on identifying the barriers and facilitators of access to sexual health services among university students. The overall goal of this knowledge translation initiative is to develop an effective intervention that will improve university student’s sexual well-being. 

2. What are you most looking forward to at the KT Canada SI?

Since I will be delving into my doctoral work in the upcoming months, I am looking forward to being in a setting with a variety of researchers who have a range of experience and expertise in this area. This will be a great opportunity to discuss my knowledge translation research plan. In addition, I am looking forward to learning more about this exciting area of research and how it can be used to improve the application of knowledge in various health care settings. 

3. What do you hope to learn at the KT Canada SI that you can incorporate into your research?

As a novice researcher, attending the KT Summer Institute is an incredible opportunity that will advance my interest and knowledge in this area of research and clinical practice. I am hoping to learn specific tools that will assist me in my KT research in my doctoral work.  Ultimately, I want to develop an intervention that will improve access to sexual health services among university students. Hopefully the KT Summer Institute will provide me with a foundation of knowledge in order to achieve this goal.

Post-Attendance 

1. Did the KT Canada SI meet your expectations?

My time at the KT Summer Institute exceeded my expectations.  Each day was filled with informative guest speakers, engaging discussions, and exciting group work.  I was pleased with the opportunity to present my proposed research plan in a short two-minute presentation. These two minute presentations allowed for the other participants to get an idea of what research was being conducted and find the presenter at their poster to ask questions and gain a deeper understanding of their work.

2. Is there anything in particular you learned that you will implement in your own research?

One of the most useful sessions was on how to develop and critique a KT plan.  I will implement this into my own research when writing grants and research proposals, and while carrying out my research plan to ensure an integrated KT process from beginning to end.
 
3. Is this something you would be interested in participating in the future?

The KT Summer Institute was a wonderful opportunity and I am very grateful for having had the chance to attend. I look forward to the opportunity to participate in a KT Summer Institute in the future to further enhance my KT knowledge and skills and develop valuable relationships with fellow researchers.

Jessie-Lee McIssac 

Jessie-Lee McIssac will be undergoing a fellowship at the Atlantic Health Promotion Research Centre, where she will be focused on advancing school health strategies within the school system. Jessie-Lee’s area of research focuses on the evaluation of “population health interventions” that aim to prevent chronic disease through healthy school environments. There is building evidence on healthy school policies and practices but barriers prevent the uptake of this information. Jessie-Lee is learning how to help policy-makers, practitioners, educators and parents understand and use this information within the school system. Her postdoctoral research will build a robust program of research to design, implement and evaluate KT strategies. By working across research and government settings to bridge-the-gap between research, policy and practice, Jessie-Lee will be helping to create healthier schools for children and youth.

Pre-Attendance

1. How do you incorporate Knowledge Translation into your research?

At the Applied Research Collaborations for Health, we integrate KT throughout the research cycle. I foster ongoing relationships with stakeholders in the Provincial Government, School Boards and District Health Authorities to respond to their policy and practice needs and integrate their priorities in our research proposals and design. I also implement and evaluate dissemination strategies from current research studies (e.g., workshops, publications, video, website, webinar, presentations) to share key results of the research and identify future areas of research with our partners. In my upcoming fellowship, I will have the opportunity to align the “practice” and the “science” of KT by facilitating meaningful exchange between research and policy systems and determine how to support school health initiatives. 

2. What are you most looking forward to at the KT Canada SI?

My presentation will provide an overview of the impact of KT strategies used in a large school-based project and our next steps for the research. I am most looking forward to having the opportunity to share my KT experiences through this project and learning how to enhance the application of KT in my research.

3. What do you hope to learn at the KT Canada SI that you can incorporate into your research?

Attending this institute will allow me to learn from other trainees, researchers and mentors that are interested and have experience in different types of KT research. Building my knowledge and skills in KT and a professional network related to KT is timely as I develop a foundation for my career as an independent researcher. I hope to enhance my skills in the science and practice of KT and gain knowledge to inform the current research projects that I am supporting in NS, including my upcoming fellowship that will focus on KT.

Post-Attendance 

1. Did the KT Canada SI meet your expectations?

The KT Canada SI exceeded my expectations. The interactive format and collaborative environment encouraged ongoing discussion about our KT experiences with other trainees and mentors. I enjoyed the opportunity to share my research experiences and learning about others through the 2-minute and poster presentation. The plenary presentations were informative and relevant and the group work allowed us to work collaboratively on a KT task. I was able to network and learn from others and gained knowledge and skills that I will apply throughout my fellowship.

2. Is there anything in particular you learned that you will implement in your own research?

All of the KT resources I learned about during the SI provide helpful knowledge to apply to my research. I particularly enjoyed learning tips on how to write an effective KT plan in a grant application as this is something that will help with grant proposals this fall.

3. Is this something you would be interested in participating in the future?

I would definitely be interested in participating in the SI or similar KT training opportunities in the future and would encourage other trainees to take part too. The knowledge/skills I learned are especially applicable to my KT oriented fellowship and I feel would also be important for other trainees in health research that wish to learn how to disseminate or exchange the findings of their work with potential knowledge users.

Annette Elliott Rose 

Annette Elliott Rose, RN, MN, PhD (c) is a doctoral candidate at the WHO/PAHO Collaborating Centre on Health Workforce Planning and Research at Dalhousie University’s School of Nursing. Her research focuses on how intra- and inter-professional relationships impact women’s health outcomes and how integrated care delivery systems support sustainable, accessible health care for women based upon a broad understanding of health. Building on previous graduate work and using a needs-based approach, her doctoral research focuses on determining perinatal health needs in Nova Scotia in an effort to create responsive and collaborative models of primary maternity care.  Through Collaborating Centre partnerships, Annette is also involved in research across Canada and in global health research in Jamaica, Brazil and Zambia focused on needs-based health system planning.  From a KT research perspective, Annette’s focus has been on generating and synthesizing evidence (e.g.: primary research and knowledge syntheses/literature reviews) and integrated knowledge translation efforts to engage researchers and research users. The uptake of policy and clinical practice guidelines is also a key component of Annette’s work as a nurse consultant with a provincial program, the Reproductive Care Program of Nova Scotia, which supports policy, education and research related to maternal-newborn care in Nova Scotia. 

Pre-Attendance

1. How do you incorporate Knowledge Translation into your research?

There are two key lessons I’ve learned from the work with Dr. Tomblin Murphy in the WHO/PAHO Collaborating Centre.  The first is to engage researcher users (e.g. policy and decision-makers, health leaders, community members, non-governmental organizations, professional bodies and advocacy agencies) as partners early in the research process.  Using this integrated KT approach enhances everyone’s understanding of the current health and system priorities and also provides avenues to influence thinking ‘outside the box’.  It also helps us all understand the climate and context of health services and broader systems planning---all of which influence the uptake of new knowledge and health system transformation.  I have been involved in a number of studies in Zambia, Jamaica and across Canada where we have invited government and non-government stakeholders and community members to be part of the research team from the outset.  I am also using this approach in my own doctoral research, which I will be presenting at the KT Summer Institute in June.  The second lesson is to focus on the needs of people.  The conceptual and analytical approaches used in the Centre and in my research begin with fully understanding the health needs of people. It seems that this would be an intuitive concept but surprisingly, much of the health workforce and health system planning happening around the world is still based solely on numbers of providers or past use of services. Basing health research on the needs of people makes it relevant and actionable and will improve the translation of evidence from discovery to dissemination.

2. What are you most looking forward to at the KT Canada SI?

I am most looking forward to the opportunity for networking and mentoring with junior and senior researchers from around the world who have experience and expertise in knowledge translation research. The inter-professional training environment will provide an interactive forum for thoughtful dialogue and debate on the diverse perspectives and approaches in implementation science within Canada and internationally. I am also excited to hear about cutting-edge research focused on how translating evidence into policy and practice is enacted, supported, thwarted, understood and evaluated. I will also have an opportunity to share my ongoing doctoral research study and receive valuable feedback from Institute participants. 

3. What do you hope to learn at the KT Canada SI that you can incorporate into your research?

The knowledge I gain will advance my research skills in implementation science and build my knowledge about the various theoretical, conceptual and methodological approaches that support KT and about innovative knowledge translation strategies. I am also interested in learning more about process evaluation as it relates to KT.  This will help me improve my KT plan for my doctoral research and also enhance my ability to integrate process evaluation into future research studies so that I have clear understanding about which knowledge translation approaches are most effective for my intended audiences.  Participating in the Institute also supports my ultimate goal as a health services researcher----to generate and share meaningful and actionable evidence aimed at creating innovative, sustainable health system designs and delivery models that are based on health needs and improve people’s health experiences and outcomes.

Post-Attendance

1. Did the KT Canada SI meet your expectations?

The KT Canada Summer Institute exceeded my expectations as it provided both opportunities to improve my methodological and applied KT knowledge and also opportunities for networking and mentoring with peer colleagues and KT experts from within and beyond Canada.  I made connections with new colleagues that I believe will lead to future partnerships and projects.  I also met one-on-one both formally and informally with KT experts to discuss my current doctoral studies, my professional provincial program work and current and future research in the WHO/PAHO Collaborating Centre on Health Workforce Planning and Research.

2. Is there anything in particular you learned that you will implement in your own research?

In addition to expanding my understanding of KT practice and science, there were two areas of specific interest that will enhance my own research.  The first relates both to my research interests and to the KT work I am involved in as a consultant with a provincial program in Nova Scotia.  This is the importance of formal audit and feedback evaluation so that we fully understand how clinical practice knowledge is understood, taken up (or not) and used in different clinical practice, organizational and health system settings.  Understanding the different contextual and process factors that influence KT will help us improve and tailor KT strategies to support evidence-informed best practice. The second area is the importance of patient and public engagement.  Several strategies from the UK James Lind Alliance and using Delphi approaches were discussed.  A focus on patient-centeredness is aligned with my own research, which involves a needs-based health system planning approach and interviews and focus groups with women to discuss their unique health care experiences to support health human resources planning in maternal-newborn care.

3. Is this something you would be interested in participating in the future?

I think ongoing national meetings, conferences and learning institutes to support the exchange of KT knowledge and innovation are important initiatives so I would be very interested in participating in future learning and mentoring opportunities. These opportunities are not only important to share current KT strategies but also to broaden our understanding of relevant and actionable knowledge to support health system transformation through integrated KT approaches that include engagement with the public, clinicians and health leaders. In addition to the SI, I was also fortunate to extend my stay and attend the KT Scientific Meeting, which highlighted the KT expertise across the country.  As KT expertise continues to thrive in Canada, the meetings and SIs will also provide an opportunity to highlight the methodological and interprofessional diversity of KT in Canada and around the world.