I was honored to be supported to participate in a one day knowledge translation (KT) planning workshop as a graduate student of an Ontario Child Health Support Unit (OCHSU) funded project named “A cluster randomized controlled trial in Ontario hospitals providing maternal/newborn care to determine effectiveness of a parent-targeted educational video for improving newborn pain treatment” led by Dr. Harrison. The workshop was held by Ontario SPOR Support Unit (OSSU) in Toronto. This workshop aimed to facilitate the designing of a KT plan for the funded OCHSU projects in the context of patient engagement and KT research to bring the evidence to Ontario's health policy and decision makers. It was a privilege to participate with researchers running patient-orientated KT research across Canada. I had the pleasure to meet and discuss with Dr. Sharon Straus who is a pioneer and role model in KT Projects in Canada.
Initially, all participants were divided into different groups, each group worked on completing a KT planning worksheet. Each step of this plan was informed by Dr. Straus’ lectures. We started to create a KT plan by identifying and describing the goal of the project, for example is it a dissemination or implementation project? In other words, are you trying to share your research findings with other people to raise awareness, or is your aim to use knowledge to promote change or influence decision making, or both? Let’s go further by having an example to understand the process. Considering vaccination pain in babies, we already knew that there are effective pain treatment strategies such as breast feeding and sweet solutions, however they are not consistently used in practice. The ultimate important patient outcome, or goal, is reducing the babies’ pain during vaccination by using these pain treatment strategies. Then, after having a clear goal in mind, we can move forward to the next step which is identifying our audience. Simply we need to answer this question; who are we targeting in our research? Who will be interested in knowing and using our research results? They might be researchers, clinicians, policy makers and patients or multiple groups. Now, based on the identified problem and solution, we need to ensure this solution is feasible and accessible in practice. For this aim, we need to know the barriers and facilitators of applying the solution. Going back to our example, the problem is lack of use of pain treatment strategies in practice. The potential barriers could be lack of knowledge and awareness among parents and health care providers. For planning a KT strategy, we just need to link these barriers to the appropriate implementation strategies. For example, raising knowledge and awareness of parents and clinicians by distributing targeted educational materials, such as a video showing them the ease of using these pain treatment strategies during vaccination, and the benefits (ie, calm quiet baby). And finally, we need to evaluate our implementation. Here we try to answer, did parents pick up the knowledge we have delivered and did this knowledge make any difference in their health behaviour? Is this KT plan feasible and appropriate? Eventually, one important component of all KT plan which has been neglected most of the time, is sustainability. It means, what can we do to keep these changes stable in practice and not getting back to our first place again? For example, sending reminders, boosters or doing annual evaluation might be helpful. By this step, we can figure out what has worked and what has not worked for future planning.
The Workshop ended with great lectures from Dr. Jessie McGowan, an expert researcher and professor in the KT field in the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Health Sciences and Kim Barnhardt, a senior researcher in the field of social media and KT in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal). They provided us with very useful tips and tactics about publishing research findings, journals and authors metrics, how to identify and avoid predatory journals, and the role of social media in knowledge dissemination.
Overall, it was a very helpful workshop for me as the goal of this workshop was completely in line with my PhD thesis. Indeed, it helped me to see all those scattered KT information from different recourses, coming together in a productive way which is designing a KT plan. Now I feel more confident to start planning for my own project and contribute to Dr. Harrison’s projects in terms of the KT components. I am truly thankful of my supervisor, Dr. Denise Harrison who provides me with these opportunities.