The National Collaborating Centre for Healthy Public Policy (NCCHPP) has a pan-Canadian mandate to synthesize, translate and exchange knowledge about healthy public policy.
The Centre recognizes the participation of at least two kinds of actor in the knowledge sharing process: those who produce the knowledge and those who use it.
We also see a key role for knowledge brokers who are primarily involved in order to facilitate the process between producer and user.
In the healthy public policy sector, the different roles are usually described as public health actors, managers, policy-makers. Interested groups within non-governmental, community, and not-for-profit organizations also play key roles.
At the Centre, we place a high level of importance on planning the dissemination of our work, on interacting with producers and users during the production and dissemination processes, and on evaluating these activities. Two levels of knowledge sharing
The Centre approaches knowledge sharing at two levels. First, knowledge sharing is part of our mandate and we are naturally interested in practices that will best enable us to produce and share work with those who use it. Second, we also take an interest in practices through which public health actors can share knowledge with their partners or with the stakeholders they wish to influence.A knowledge sharing centre
As a Centre dedicated to diffusing knowledge, diverse principles guide our work. The most important of these is that knowledge is co-constructed with those who will use it. This principle does not just apply at the time of sharing a finished work, but also during the needs assessment that defines the work in the first place. Put differently, we do not only want to respond to the specific interests of users, but rather we want to respond to the questions as they themselves have formulated them.
This principle takes shape in specific needs assessments that seek to identify different interested groups from the beginning of a project, and then in producing different documents to meet specific and diverse interests. This is also manifested in the effort to do more than post single-format publications on our website: rather, we try to share ideas in different ways and in different formats. It also means building needs assessment mechanisms such as surveys, user meetings, evaluation questionnaires after workshops, and interactive tools as ongoing elements in our work.
We are now undertaking a deeper evaluation of the use of our work and its impact. This will become a bi-annual part of our program. Our goal is to go beyond merely contacting those who use our work but rather to engage in an ongoing conversation
A centre focusing on knowledge sharing
Diffusing or sharing knowledge about public health with policy-makers in other sectors is essential to developing healthy public policies. It is also necessary that these policy-makers want to and can use this knowledge. The Centre has published different work on the variable nature of “evidence” and on the differing ways in which it is understood. Click to access Evidence and Healthy Public Policy, or What is Evidence: a philosophical perspective.
In the area of public policy, we must add in other kinds of evidence suited to policy-makers who must sometimes juggle validated scientific findings in competition with other demands such as a proposed measure's acceptability, pressure from interest groups, the imperatives of administrative deadlines, and so on.
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