Background: The National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools has implemented strategies for ten years to support capacity development for evidence-informed decision making amongst public health professionals in Canada. The knowledge broker mentoring programme is a comprehensive strategy that simultaneously develops capacity amongst the workforce, while supporting organisational change in culture to support staff as they develop their new skills.
Objectives: The National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools (NCCMT) has developed and successfully piloted a 16-month mentorship programme to provide public health professionals with the knowledge, skills and tools needed to act as knowledge brokers within their Health Department and advance the uptake and use of research evidence in public health practice.
Methods: Senior management at each unit participated in a 2.5-hour focus group that assessed the organisational culture in their health unit for evidence-informed decision making (EIDM) and identified targets for change to support EIDM. Front-line staff (5-6) from each health unit participated in a 16-month curriculum. The programme included in-person workshops at McMaster University; an initial 5-day session, a 3-day session at six months and finally 2-day session at twelve months. Staff also participated in monthly webinars and monthly phone and email support with a senior knowledge translation expert. Finally, a practice based issue was identified by each health unit and a rapid review conducted by the participants. Changes in performance on an EIDM Assessment were analysed using a paired t-test (non-parametric test, Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test).
Results: Strategies to improve the support and use of EIDM at the organizational level were identified and implemented. A statistically significant increase in EIDM knowledge and skill was observed following the program (p<0.017); specifically, statistically significant improvements were observed regarding interpretation of quantitative findings from single studies (p<0.001) and meta-analy
Conclusions: Knowledge broker mentoring shows potential as an promising strategy supportive evidence use.