Integrated knowledge translation

Integrated knowledge translation entails collaboration between researchers and decision-makers from inception through completion to enhance the relevance and use of research. Almost all of my research has proceeded in this manner.

My Alzheimer’s Society of Canada-funded Building Trust project was developed using IKT strategies over many years. I met Fraser Health’s former Director of Population and Public Health, Kathleen Friesen, when I co-organized and hosted the Speaking to the Interface symposium with Fraser Health decision-makers in 2007. The symposium focused on different dimensions of access to care for immigrant older adults and attracted 110 participants.

Friesen later collaborated with me on my CIHR-funded Partnering to promote health care equity planning grant that linked knowledge users with academics across the country to identify access challenges for immigrant older adults in different domains. She wanted to understand why, despite their population concentration in the region, South Asian older adults were underutilizing Fraser Health’s dementia resources. Our partnership resulted in a chapter on ‘Dementia care services for older South Asians’ in the e-book we produced but, more importantly, it culminated in the Building Trust project, which is a partnership between Fraser Health, the Alzheimer Society of BC (Fraser region), and two immigrant settlement agencies, PICS and MOSAIC.

Similarly, I created the interdisciplinary Immigrant Older Women: Care, Accessibility, Research, Empowerment (ICARE) team that included numerous knowledge users from the health and immigrant settlement sectors. In 2009, our Knowledge.power.access forum brought together a wider group of 65 stakeholders, who identified support for chronic disease self-management and mental health promotion as areas in which the evidence did not address the needs of immigrant older adults, particularly women. Participants in the forum and other knowledge users that they identified as key in these areas formed two working groups that developed the Taking Care of Chronic Disease forum (40 participants) and the S4AC case study and evaluation project for which the City of Surrey and DIVERSEcity, an immigrant settlement agency, were partnered. The mental health promotion group (or Punjabi Seniors Wellness Committee) held forums that brought together seniors and community service agency staff. Research data were collected in questionnaires completed by agency staff prior to the forums and focus groups conducted within them.