Developing capacity for evidence-informed decision making within public health organizations


Oral session: Knowledge translation and communicating evidence (7)


Thursday 24 October 2019 - 16:00 to 17:30


All authors in correct order:

Dobbins M1, Husson H1
1 National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools, McMaster University, Canada
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Maureen Dobbins

Contact person:

Abstract text
Background: at the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools (NCCMT) we believe that every Canadian deserves to live their best life, and that is why we share best available evidence, deploy tools, and provide training and mentoring to support local public health organizations in making evidence-informed decisions.

Objectives: the aim of this work is to assist public health practitioners grow in confidence knowing they are using the best available evidence to make informed decisions about the implementation of public health services that help Canadians be the healthiest they can be. We will describe NCCMT’s approach to training and mentoring, tailored to the specific needs of public health organizations, illustrating how the approach can be used to build capacity for evidence-informed decision making (EIDM).

Methods: the training and mentoring approach has evolved over a decade of one-to-one interaction with public health organizations to build EIDM capacity. NCCMT engages in long-term relationships with organizations to assist them to embed EIDM within routine day-to-day work functions. At all levels of the organization this requires senior and middle managers, and practitioners to obtain new knowledge and skills. Our approach provides concurrent training and mentoring to senior and middle managers, as well as front-line practitioners. Our approach supports participants to gain knowledge and confidence in the steps of EIDM, changing practice, and facilitating change management, through an organizational assessment for EIDM, large- and small-group interactive learning, the completion of rapid reviews, and long-term mentoring.

Results: several public health organizations have completed this programme with most requesting additional training and mentoring as part of the organization’s ongoing professional development initiative. Those attending the programme indicate increased knowledge in EIDM, as well as increased confidence in programme planning decisions. Organizationally, new structures, processes and mechanisms have been developed and implemented to support and sustain EIDM.

Conclusions: through a tailored training and mentoring programme, NCCMT is strengthening public health in Canada with an overall goal of improving the health of all Canadians. Current data indicate that the programme is well liked by participants, that they are gaining knowledge, skill and confidence, and that they are embedding EIDM within routine daily practice. This training and mentoring programme holds promise as an effective knowledge translation strategy.

Patient or healthcare consumer involvement: not applicable