What is Knowledge Translation and Exchange (KTE)?Vital to our team's research approach, KTE involves interaction between decision makers and researchers throughout the research process, including planning, implementing, disseminating, and applying research in decision-making. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) defines a decision maker as an individual who makes decisions about, or influences, health policies or practices—anyone who is likely to make use of the results of the research. More information is available from CIHR. While KTE activities can sometimes add more time to the research process, they enhance the quality of the research and encourages application of research findings.
". . . it is important to remember that knowledge exchange is not a one-way street, and that recipients of knowledge in one context may be the producers of knowledge in another."
--Canadian Mental Health Association on Knowledge Exchange
RaDAR Team Integrates KTE in Our Work
When Dr. Debra Morgan was awarded her 2009 Applied Chair in Health Services & Policy Research the KTE anchor of the program was the development of a 27-member Decision Maker Advisory Council, with representation from a wide range of sectors. The Council includes front-line staff, facility managers, family caregivers, regional health authority directors, provincial health consultants, family physicians, Alzheimer Society of Saskatchewan representatives, and other stakeholders. The Decision Maker Advisory Council continues to provide ongoing direction for the research team through an annual Summit Meeting.
The RaDAR team draws on the range of experience in the Advisory Council to provide broad direction and planning feedback on our research program as a whole at the annual Summit meeting. As well, individual RaDAR projects include some members of the Advisory Council as partners with the researcher lead to provide project-specific direction and guidance. Over time, this two level approach to involving Decision Makers in the research has evolved as a model that works well for us. The research program and the Decision Makers all benefit when we come together annually to meet face-to-face at the Summit. Members of the research team and the Advisory Council have authored a paper in the journal Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action which explores the evolution of our research approach.
As an initial step in developing a centre of excellence in rural and remote dementia care, we have invited several international researchers with expertise in dementia care and rural health delivery to sit on the Advisory Council and to participate as co-investigators on various research projects.
In 2011, Dr. Debra Morgan was awarded the CIHR-Institute of Aging Betty Havens Prize for Knowledge Translation in Aging. The award recognizes Dr. Morgan's efforts to ensure that research in aging involves decision makers throughout the process, from developing the research questions through to implementing research findings and recommendations.