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Research That Matters: Embracing Knowledge Mobilization

The following story was published in the 2022-23 SHRF Annual Report. See the full publication here.


Knowledge Mobilization—a term that encompasses the range of activities where research is connected to the individuals, organizations or policy makers who will utilize it (i.e., knowledge-users)—is a significant driver behind SHRF programming. While all SHRF programs require knowledge mobilization activities to be incorporated, SHRF is also proud to have developed our Connections Program—a series of grants that support the integration of knowledge-users within short-term and targeted projects specific to knowledge mobilization activities. This focus on knowledge mobilization helps ensure that SHRF-funded research is informed by the needs of Saskatchewan and embraced to promote better health and healthcare.


 

Knowledge Mobilization at Each Step

All SHRF programs require researchers to connect with knowledge-users in some way, including building relationships, co-developing projects to ensure the research is relevant and has potential for impact, being part of the research team, and/or sharing research knowledge outside academic audiences. All three phases of a SHRF grant application’s lifecycle—proposal, peer review and follow-up reporting—embrace the importance of knowledge mobilization.


The relevance to knowledge-users and a focus on knowledge mobilization is evident throughout the wide range of research funded in the 2022-23 fiscal year.


One such example is the work of Dr.’s Tasha Epp (pictured) and Jordan Woodsworth who will build on previous SHRF-funded research to explore community perspectives on dog populations, the influence of dog-human interactions on community health and welfare, and the role of animal health professionals beyond vaccine provisions. The 2022-23 Solutions Impact project will begin and end with a gathering of non-academic communities called “Dog Days”, where those interested in sharing and learning about dog population and community health will participate. Successful knowledge mobilization strategies such as the Community Dog Book (freely available online), Dog Days (the outcome of past SHRF Research Connections funding that included a workshop series with Saskatchewan First Nations communities) and artwork underlie the research team and their strengths in continuing the next stages of this ongoing community research.

A One Health Approach to Prevent and/or Respond to Dog-Related Issues, Including Aggressive Encounters in Rural and Remote Communities in Saskatchewan Tasha Epp, Jordan Woodsworth [University of Saskatchewan]

2022-23 SHRF Solutions, Impact Grant Image: Submitted

 

Connecting Research to What Matters

SHRF’s Connections Program was first envisioned in 2020 as part of a 'programs refresh' with the goal of reaching outside of academic settings to fund health research knowledge mobilization and alignment activities. The Align Grant, first offered in 2022-23, helps researchers engage and build robust interdisciplinary research teams—including those outside of academia—and to support the completion of activities that will help shape future research to align with the needs of the province. The Research Connections Grant works to increase research relevance, usability and uptake by connecting the people of Saskatchewan to health research evidence they can use. Often, SHRF researchers will integrate Align and Research Connections Grants before, during or after larger SHRF projects, helping to ensure alignment and impact. These projects bring SHRF-funded research outside of academic settings and into the communities, systems and practices it seeks to support.


An excellent example of how early knowledge mobilization activities can inform effective future research is Dr. Cameron Mang’s (pictured) 2022-23 Research Connections Grant. Dr. Mang’s overarching goal is to improve access to, and quality of, exercise services for people living with chronic neurological conditions in Saskatchewan. Evidence shows that exercise can enhance health, fitness and physical function among those with chronic neurological conditions, but that in practice, participation in regular exercise is not common among these groups. As a part of his Research Connections Grant, Dr. Mang will host five roundtable events in Swift Current, Regina, Yorkton, Saskatoon and Prince Albert to bring together those living with chronic neurological conditions, exercise professionals, related healthcare providers and health researchers to guide actionable recommendations for future initiatives and research. This knowledge-sharing process that embraces both exercise professionals and those with lived experience will allow all involved groups to benefit and move forward together.

Time for Action: Connecting People with Chronic Neurological Conditions to the Long-Term Benefits of Exercise Cameron Mang [University of Regina]

2022-23 SHRF Research Connections Grant Image: Submitted

The work of Dr.’s Trish Goulet (pictured, left) and Amrinderbir Singh (pictured, right) provides an excellent example of the role of knowledge mobilization activities to action and communicate research findings within the community. Previous research has shown that a barrier commonly experienced by Indigenous Canadians when seeking dental care is a lack of understanding of their rights and entitlements within the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program. Research also shows a lack of understanding of after-care and at-home instructions that negatively impact treatment outcomes. With funding provided by a 2022-23 Research Connections, Truth and Action Grant, Dr.’s Goulet and Singh are developing plain language resources in Cree and Dene that explain the NIHB program to Indigenous communities in Saskatchewan. These resources will also include oral health topics determined in consultation with community members, with the objective of improving dental outcomes and aftercare adherence among Indigenous patients. By making this knowledge more accessible, communities within Saskatchewan will be better able to utilize research evidence to make positive decisions about their personal health.

Co-Creating Indigenous-Specific Oral Health Resources in Saskatchewan Trish Goulet, Amrinderbir Singh [University of Saskatchewan]

2022-23 SHRF Research Connections, Truth & Action Grant Image: Submitted

With funding from SHRF’s 2022-23 Align Grant, Dr. Brian Eames (pictured) is embracing a ‘bench to bedside’ approach to therapeutics for osteoarthritis in Saskatchewan. This effort to translate results from the laboratory into the clinic to directly benefit patients, will include orthopaedic surgeon Dr. William Dust. Together, they will study cartilage development similarities between humans and zebrafish, and use these results to direct future therapeutic interventions. Samples from osteoarthritic joint replacement patients will be tested to evaluate whether a novel genetic pathway—identified by Dr. Eames to be similar between zebrafish and humans—is present in these patients. If successful, this project will guide future research initiatives, to allow the team to work alongside orthopaedic surgeons and rheumatologists to determine treatment options, previously tested on zebrafish, for local osteoarthritis patients.

Evaluating a Molecular Mechanism Towards New Therapeutics for SK Osteoarthritis Patients

Brian Eames [University of Saskatchewan]

2022-23 SHRF Align Grant Image: Submitted


 

To learn more about the funding opportunities supporting knowledge mobilization and alignment activities in Saskatchewan via SHRF's Connections Program, visit: https://www.shrf.ca/funding

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