An interactive method for engaging the public health workforce with evidence
Baker, Philip R.A., Francis, Daniel P., Demant, Daniel, Doyle, Jodie, & Dobbins, Maureen (2015) An interactive method for engaging the public health workforce with evidence. Journal of Public Health, 37(3), pp. 557-560.
Systematic review authors are increasingly directing their attention to not only ensuring the robust processes and methods of their syntheses, but also to facilitating the use of their reviews by public health decision-makers and practitioners. This latter activity is known by several terms including knowledge translation, for which one definition is a ‘dynamic and iterative process that includes synthesis, exchange and ethically sound application of knowledge’.1 Unfortunately—and despite good intentions—the successful translation of knowledge has at times been inhibited by the failure of reviews to meet the needs of decision-makers, and the limitations of the traditional avenues by which reviews are disseminated.2
Encouraging the utilization of reviews by the public health workforce is a complex challenge. An unsupportive culture within the workforce, a lack of experience in assessing evidence, the use of traditional academic language in communication and the lack of actionable messages can all act as barriers to successful knowledge translation.3 Improving communication through developing strategies that include summaries, podcasts, webinars and translational tools which target key decision-makers such as HealthEvidence.org should be considered by authors as promising actions to support the uptake of reviews into practice.4,5 Earlier work has also suggested that to better meet the research evidence needs of public health professionals, authors should aim to produce syntheses that are actionable, relevant and timely.2 Further, review authors must interact more with those who will, or could use their reviews; particularly when determining the scope and questions to which a review will be directed.2
Unfortunately, individual engagement, ideal for examining complex issues and addressing particular concerns, is often difficult, particularly when attempting to reach large groups where for efficiency purposes, the strategy tends to be didactic, ‘lecturing’ and therefore less likely to change attitudes or encourage higher order thinking.6 …
Impact and interest:
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