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Partnering with Canadian Public Health departments to explore the impact of a tailored, collaborative approach to evidence-informed decision making

Date and Location




Sunday 22 September 2013 - 13:30 - 15:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Maureen Dobbins

Contact person

Robyn Traynor
Abstract text
Background: Health Evidence partnered with three Canadian Public Health departments, with funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research’s (CIHR) ‘Partnerships for Health System Improvement’ program, to study the impact of tailored knowledge translation and exchange (KTE) interventions on developing capacity and facilitating evidence-informed decision making (EIDM) in Public Health. (CIHR Funding Reference Number 101867) Objectives: The purpose of this study was to work collaboratively with Public Health partners to explore the impact of KTE strategies (e.g. knowledge broker mentoring, large group training, virtual support, etc.) on organizational capacity and staff knowledge, skills and behaviour related to EIDM. The study also examined contextual and organizational factors that facilitate or impede this impact. Methods: This study used case study methodology with several embedded units of analysis (individual staff, project teams, entire organization) and a mixed-methods approach to data collection and analysis. A 22-month intervention was tailored to the needs and circumstances of each of the three unique Public Health departments (i.e. cases). Data collected and analyzed throughout the project further informed the intervention. Results: The tailored KTE strategies implemented in this study improved department capacity for EIDM by improving staff knowledge, skill and confidence related to accessing, interpreting, and applying research evidence to their decision making. Several contextual factors were identified that appeared invaluable to implementing EIDM in practice: strong senior leadership and ‘buy-in’; support from management who have an understanding of EIDM and what is required of staff; and an organizational culture that offers peer support, opportunities for sharing within the organization, and the ongoing support of mentors or “internal” knowledge brokers. Conclusions: Tailored KTE strategies, developed through partner engagement, impacted organizational capacity for evidence-informed public health decision making by enhancing individual staff capacity and through addressing organizational factors to facilitate a culture conducive to EIDM in practice.