Knowledge Broker Mentoring Program
The National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools (NCCMT) launched the Knowledge Broker Mentoring Program in 2014 to advance the uptake and use of evidence-informed decision making in Canada within the public health sector. It combines in-person and online support to train public health practitioners to develop knowledge and capacity in the theory and practice of evidence-informed decision making.
The field of public health is continuously evolving. The Knowledge Broker Mentoring Program helps public health professionals develop the knowledge and skills they need to integrate the best available evidence into practice: evidence-informed decision making. Evidence-informed decision making not only results in increased transparency and accountability, it also provides a basis for informed decision making, particularly during times of uncertainty and fiscal restraint.
- Assess and assist public health organizations in developing organizational capacity for evidence-informed decision making.
- Build individual capacity of selected staff to function as “internal” knowledge brokers in evidence-informed decision making practice
This program consists of three phases.
Phase 1: Pre-Program Assessment
Focus Groups: Senior management from each public health organization participate in a facilitated two-hour focus group to assess their organization’s capacity for evidence-informed decision making using the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement’s tool, Is Research Working for You?. This reliable and valid self-assessment tool is designed for health services management and policy organizations. Following the assessment, all managers participate in a one-hour Introduction to evidence-informed decision making information session.
Knowledge Broker Candidate Selection: A senior manager from each public health organization is chosen to oversee the project for their organization. Six staff from each organization are chosen or volunteer to participate in the program. Participants include staff from different positions, disciplines and educational backgrounds, such as epidemiologists, program evaluators, librarians, public health nurses, research analysts and environmental health and infectious disease specialists.
Pre-program Information Sessions: Approximately one month before the mentoring program begins, all managers participate in a teleconference and the participants take part in a webinar. The purpose of these sessions is to introduce the mentoring program and review the goals, objectives and expectations of the program.
Phase 2: Mentoring Program
In-person training: Staff are trained as knowledge brokers to champion evidence-informed decision making at their organization. Face-to-face workshops are held in Hamilton, Ontario, at the beginning of the training program and at the three- and 12-month points of the mentoring program phase. These workshops include course readings, lectures by experts in evidence-informed decision making and individual and group critical appraisal practice. We are currently exploring the possibility of integrating online training options into our program in order to meet our commitment to working with public health practitioners across Canada.
Monthly webinars: Staff participate in 90-minute webinars on a monthly basis. NCCMT mentors lead these webinars to provide participants with an opportunity to discuss their activities, successes and challenges. Each webinar also features critical appraisal practice.
Mentorship: Groups from each public health organization are assigned a mentor at the NCCMT who provides ongoing support for capacity development and championing evidence-informed decision making at the health unit.
Rapid Review: The knowledge and skills gained through the Knowledge Broker Mentoring Program culminate in a final rapid review project on a topic selected by each organization. This project requires participants to apply skills such as defining a research question, searching for evidence, appraising evidence, extracting and synthesizing data, and applying results to their local contexts.
Phase 3: Post-Program Contact
The NCCMT mentors are available for six months after the training program phase ends to support groups in implementing and using evidence-informed decision making within their organizations and their public health practice. This support is tailored to the specific needs of the organization, and could include regularly scheduled follow-up via telephone or webinar.
Meet the Mentors
The NCCMT is an innovative leader in evidence-informed decision making in public health. The mentors from the NCCMT have over 20 years of combined experience in evidence-informed decision making. They have worked with public health practitioners across Canada to put evidence-informed decision making into practice. Click here to learn more about our mentors.
Recruitment for the Knowledge Broker Mentoring Program is open to organizations across Canada. The first cohort ran from 2015 to 2016, and the second cohort ran from January 2017 to June 2018. Explore the interactive map below to learn more about the organizations that have participated in the Knowledge Broker Mentoring Program.
We are now recruiting for the third cohort of the Knowledge Broker Mentoring Program. If you are interested in learning more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to learn about the individual and organizational impact of the Knowledge Broker Mentoring Program.
Requirements for Participant Organizations
In addition to the registration cost, participating organizations are required to provide in-kind contributions, including:
- travel costs for participants to attend the face-to-face workshops in Hamilton, Ontario
- release time for up to half a day per week throughout the program for evidence-informed decision making professional development learning activities
For more information on this program or to find out how to participate in the next cohort, please email us.