Mid-point update on the CCGHR’s inaugural KT summer course

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Being responsive to the needs of members is something the Coalition has always excelled at. A few months back, after receiving feedback from the youngest cadre of CCGHR members that summer opportunities in global health were few and far between due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Coalition quickly mobilized to come up with an alternative educational offering for SYPs. Several SYPs identified an interest in learning more about knowledge translation (KT), and as luck would have it, KT expert Katrina Plamondon based at the University of British Columbia Kelowna campus—also CCGHR University Advisory Council co-chair—was eager and willing to support such a learning opportunity over the summer. After swiftly securing funding support for the course, the inaugural KT summer course was launched in June 2020. The level of interest was astounding, with over 35 SYPs expressing interest in the course only a few days after it was announced. Using Zoom, Slack and a variety of other online platforms, the KT summer course officially began on July 7, 2020.

Now midway into the 11-week course, we wanted to share a bit more about the curriculum, learners and plans for the course moving forward!

Who is participating in the course?

In total, we have 29 learners in the course. Learners span a variety of educational and professional backgrounds, with representation from fields such as nursing, geography, medicine, public health and epidemiology. Given the global nature of the Coalition, it should come as no surprise that learners are taking the course from all corners of the globe, including Zambia, Cameroon, France, and all across Canada (seven time zones in total!).

Who is supporting the course?

We are fortunate to have an exceptional team supporting the course. Katrina Plamondon is the course instructor, with coordination support from the SYPN Coordinator, Emily Kocsis. Additionally, Alexandra Otis, Rupinder Chera and Davina Banner-Lukaris are working behind the scenes to evaluate the course experience and content. Supporting the course case study groups are 5 mentors: Jill Allison, Shafi Bhuiyan, Nelly Oelke, Shawna O’Hearn and Vic Neufeld. Lastly, PhD candidate, David Walugembe has recently joined the course team and will be working through the fall on supporting the curriculum refresh. We are grateful for the support and collaboration with the Integrated Knowledge Translation Network (https://iktrn.ohri.ca), which brings together knowledge users and researchers committed to studying, teaching and practicing integrated KT (supported by a CIHR seven-year Foundation Grant, FDN 143237).

What topics have been covered in class sessions so far?

The course has followed the structure provided by the  KT Curriculum developed in 2012 (https://www.ccghr.ca/resources/knowledge-translation/). Learners have so far been exposed to knowledge to action thinking, the knowledge-to-action cycle, spheres of KT, knowledge brokering & synthesis, KT platforms and stakeholder analysis. In coming weeks learners will consolidate their knowledge with discussions on political context analysis, priority setting and equity-centred KT.

Does the course relate to challenges posed by COVID-19?

Learners were divided into five groups at the outset of the course. Each group is putting together a case study report that provides the opportunity to apply KT learning to a practical COVID-related issue. Case study groups are tackling challenges such as:

  • Comparison of mask policies among various countries globally
  • Implementation of non-pharmaceutical measures beyond COVID-19 lockdown in LMICs
  • Identification and deployment of low-cost measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Zambia
  • Marginalization of vulnerable populations during quarantine/lockdown
  • Abortion as an essential service: Provision and access to sexual and reproductive health services during COVID in a LMIC setting

What’s next for the KT curriculum?

After the course finishes on September 15, 2020, several members of the course team will spend time reviewing the course/content evaluations and highlighting key areas for refreshment. Over the fall, the 2012 curriculum will be updated, with an eye to making it more accessible to new KT learners. It is our hope that in winter or spring of 2021 the KT course can be offered once again using the new curriculum to a fresh group of learners!

Have questions about the KT course? Get in touch with our SYPN Coordinator, Emily Kocsis (sypn@ccghr.ca)