Using NCCMT’s Understanding Research Evidence videos to inform practice decisions: a user story from Peel Region

Last year, Maria Morais, a Supervisor of Workplace Health team at Peel Public Health, attended the annual week-long Evidence-Informed Decision Making workshop at McMaster University. She returned to work with some new knowledge and some new tools to help share that knowledge.

During the evidence-informed decision making course, participants are introduced to resources that can help them implement evidence-informed decisions in their workplaces, including the NCCMT's Understanding Research Evidence videos.

How did Peel use the NCCMT's videos?

Peel Public Health has a 10 Year Strategic Plan. The videos are being used to support organizational strategic priorities such as evidence-informed decision making, performance management and workforce development as well as contributing to several Core Competencies for Public health in Canada and advancing Peel's own Public Health Way.

Peel's Workplace Health team consists of a diverse group of health promoters, nurses and coordinators with varying levels of public health experience and knowledge. Maria asked Lee-Ann Kosziwka and Hoi Ki Ding, team health promoters, to watch the Understanding Research Evidence videos, apply the concepts to a Public Health problem the team was dealing with and then facilitate peer-to-peer learning through a facilitated discussion. The knowledge transfer sessions were added to their team meeting agendas.

The peer-led session focused on concepts and principles covered in each video. The two health promoters brought examples of data being reviewed for the Living Tobacco Free strategic priority to share with other members of the team. But, before delving into the numbers, the entire team watched the relevant Understanding Research Evidence video together.

For example, during one team meeting the team watched Understanding a Confidence Interval followed by a discussion of health status data provided to them by an epidemiologist that was being used by a workgroup to develop a workplace tobacco cessation strategy. They then watched Forest Plots: Understanding a Meta-Analysis in 5 Minutes or Less and reviewed an actual example from a journal article being reviewed by the same working group. The facilitated exercise included a discussion of the ways the concept could inform practice decisions and was intended to reinforce the applicability of the principles to the current work of the team.

Strengths of Understanding Research Evidence videos

The NCCMT's Understanding Research Evidence videos have been well received by the Workplace Health team. Staff appreciate that the research terms presented in the videos "are at a level that people can understand regardless of their level of expertise". The videos are short and concise, presenting a single concept reinforced by an example of a real public health issue. According to the Workplace Health team, the videos are an effective method of practicing everyday public health and address a variety of the concepts and competencies that support evidence-informed decision making.

What impact have the Understanding Research Evidence videos had on practice at Peel?

The NCCMT's videos are an effective and efficient means of transferring knowledge relevant to public health practitioners and anyone involved in program planning and evaluation. Maria, Lee-Ann and Hoi Ki say the videos also:

  • contribute to building public health competencies in the areas of Public Health Sciences and Assessment and Analysis;
  • reinforce the importance of scrutinizing data for policy and program planning implementation and evaluation;
  • encourage careful attention to how data is presented and interpreted;
  • reinforce the importance of internal and external partnerships and collaboration;
  • support knowledge transfer; and
  • strengthen evidence-informed decision-making practices.

The Workplace Health team at Peel Region Public Health has used the videos to support knowledge translation among its members and to build capacity among their entire team.

But it doesn't stop with the videos. Team members also individually utilize the online learning modules and Maria has started applying the NCCMT's Model of Evidence-Informed Decision Making in Public Health to the internal Program Planning and Evaluation process rather than treating these as separate processes.

About the Understanding Research Evidence video series

Public health professionals are under increasing pressure to incorporate research evidence into their decisions. Understanding and interpreting that research evidence is an important part of practising evidence-informed decision making in public health and requires an understanding of some key statistical terms. The NCCMT's Understanding Research Evidence videos were developed to support this understanding within the public health workforce.

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