KT Activities at McMaster

Database for public health practioners and managers:
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One of the main focus areas of knowledge translation is the gap between scientific research, and utilization of this research by those who make managerial and policy decisions. Mechanisms to support scientific research are well established; viable, useful conclusions are often the product. However, those who make managerial and policy decisions in public health often do not know how to find or interpret scientific research, and so scientific conclusions go unused.

It is desirable for research evidence to be used in managerial and policy decision making, as this will lead to decisions based on empirical grounds. Health-Evidence.ca is a tool designed to address this problem, and increase managers’ and policy makers’ access to research evidence.

Health-Evidence.ca has several features:

  • A searchable registry of systematic reviews on public health topics
  • Each review is
    • assessed for relevance to public health
    • keyworded and categorized to facilitate easy identification of reviews relevant to the desired topic
    • assessed and rated for its methodological quality, so that managers and policy makers can be aware of the quality of the study itself before making decisions based on it
  • Some reviews contain summary statements, which are two page, plain language briefs that summarize the evidence and conclusions presented in the review
  • Access is provided to the full article where available, to allow managers and policy makers to do additional reading should they find it necessary

The goals of this project include:

  • Providing managers and policy makers with up-to-date scientific literature on a public health topic
  • Allowing managers and policy makers to use scientific evidence in managerial and policy decision making
  • Making it easier for managers and policy makers to find reviews relevant to public health policy, by placing them all in a single location
  • Enabling managers and policy makers to get straight to the point, by summarizing the articles and presenting a clear conclusion

All with the ultimate goal of:
Improving the quality of public health decisions by enabling managers and policy makers to be better informed.

Knowledge Translation at McMaster
Health-Evidence.ca is an example of a McMaster initiative designed to address the problem of transferring knowledge from the researcher to managers and policy makers. Identifying effective methods and practices of increasing knowledge uptake by a specific group is one of the main goals of knowledge translation. This website is the result of a study by McMaster faculty on how to effectively promote knowledge uptake by a specific audience, in this case, public health managers and policy makers. Knowledge translation researchers at McMaster are participating directly in discovering how to improve managerial and policy decisions, and consequently the health of Canadians. Health-Evidence.ca is continuously growing, adding new summary statements and articles to the database, to better serve managers and policy makers in their decision making needs.

Contact Information:
Dr. Maureen Dobbins<dobbinsm@mcmaster.ca>