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A community of practice for health-related knowledge translation
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evidence conneKTion

ConneKT with Osnat Wine, winner of this year's NCCPH Graduate Student KT Award, to hear her perspective on embracing the interdisciplinary nature of KT

Each year the National Collaborating Centre for Public Health awards three trainees for their outstanding KT projects. These awards are based on

  • relevance to knowledge translation in public health;

  • creativity/innovation shown in the project;

  • scholarliness of the project;

  • potential impact of the project; and

  • quality and degree of support of academic supervisor.

We conneKTed with Osnat Wine, one of the 2019 award winners and PhD candidate in the Department of Pediatrics at University of Alberta, to talk about her iKT environmental health project.

Wine has always been passionate about environmental health. However, it was during her master’s research that she became interested in the process of building environmental health communications.

I think I was always interested in KT, but I didn’t always call it KT. During my masters, I realized how complex it is to communicate findings about the environment and health. I also found there was a huge gap between the academic world and what transpires into policy, practice and preventing disease.

Wine took that passion to become one of three recipients of the 2019 National Collaborating Centres for Public Health KT Award for her thesis: Identifying essential components of the collaborative process in integrated knowledge translation: an environmental health research case study.

The results of her award winning research evolved out of the Data Mining and Neonatal Outcomes (DoMiNO)Project, using the new approach of data mining to find associations between industrial pollutants and adverse birth outcomes. Initially, she was at the heart of this collaborative study, initiated by the Departments of Pediatrics and Computer Science at the University of Alberta, as a research coordinator. However, she eventually transitioned to student, where she researched the team itself, exploring the key elements required for the team’s collaboration as a case study.

Osnat Wine

Osnat Wine

I was interested in seeing what conditions allow for the creation of new knowledge within the context of this group, as well as new knowledge about KT. How does the collaborative process contribute to both knowledge creation and its translation?”

The DoMiNO Project team was large and diverse consisting of at least 20 individuals, including researchers and knowledge users, from different disciplines.

“It was an interesting environment to look at the collaborative and, more specifically, the integrated KT process. Many processes need to happen within a team for them to operate together as a team, to achieve specific milestones, as well as achieve their KT goals. Relationships need to be built, ownership needs to be taken and several other elements discussed in my thesis.”

It is through her observations that Wine now promotes the invaluable contributions knowledge users can make when they are included on a research team.  “Not only do they enhance the creation of knowledge but also expand your KT capabilities and reach.” As well, she has become a strong advocate of interdisciplinary collaborative work. Given all she has learned in her PhD work, we asked her what advice she would give other trainees or those new to KT. She encourages fellow researchers to “embrace the participation of stakeholders from other disciplines, because it will greatly benefit your project, and the success of your KT efforts. We can learn a lot from others.” Finally, she advises other researchers to at least think about KT early on in project conceptualization and throughout the research process.

“What is it you want your project to achieve, who needs to hear about it and what is the message you want to send? Then, think of the strategies you need to include to get those answers. These questions need to be part of the practice of researchers in most fields, especially in health. [KT] needs to be engrained in what you do and think about.”

This 2019 NCCPH KT Award recipient is happy her work is being recognized by others. As for next steps, the new graduate is contemplating a number of options. Regardless of the path she takes, she hopes it will include opportunities to use the lessons she learned from her graduate work.

I would like to find ways to implement what I’ve learned throughout my research. It was fascinating for me. It would be great if I could include it in my future work.” It’s clear that Wine is up for whatever challenge she takes up next. We here at KT Alberta are excited to see where her interests take her.

If current Albertan trainees want their chance at this award next year, the 2020 call for applications is already out, giving you almost a year to plan and conduct your research KT!