Maximizing the impact of knowledge

How do we use what we learn through practice and research to create lasting change? In this session, panelists brought expertise in practice, research, policy and knowledge mobilization. This session took a fireside chat format with moderated conversation between panelists.

Key messages

    • Creating good evidence requires thoughtful scrutiny of data gaps such as through the process of data disaggregation, seeking out and integrating knowledges that have been historically under-privileged, and a bottom-up approach to data gathering.
    • In some cases, bridging know-do gaps demands little to no new knowledge creation. Instead, bolstering capacity to implement good evidence may be a required. Facilitators include using a practice framework based on appropriate values, effective use of evaluation, firm and continuous leadership, as well as continuous practitioner support that includes positive reinforcement of efforts.
    • Time is often a significant barrier for bridging gaps between policy, practice and research. Effective, equitable, and intersectoral collaboration requires timelines that allow sufficient process and alignment.
    • Children and youth are frequently under-engaged when it comes to shaping the systems that they live in currently and in the future. Authentic and meaningful youth engagement respects the integrity of their perspectives, relies on trusting relationships, allows children and youth to take the lead, and intentionally seeks input from under-represented voices.



    • Claire Betker, Scientific Director, National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health


    • Jon Reeves, Executive Director, Hull Services
    • Maya Gislason, Associate Professor, Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University
    • Purnima Sundar, Executive Director, Knowledge Institute on Child and Youth Mental Health and Addictions
    • Stephanie Priest, Director General, Centre for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Public Health Agency of Canada

In the words of the speakers

What are the silences in the data that need to be filled so that we can actually move very good evidence to inform very good practice? What I am trying to do, in a sense, is to move away from treasuring what we already know how to measure and learn how to measure what we actually treasure. And part of that is treasuring the voices and experiences of people who are sovereignty-seeking and equity-seeking. Dr. Maya Gislason

In order to make a system that works for young people and families, you have to ask young people and families what does work for them, and listen to them, and actually take their lead. Purnima Sundar

… part of how we actually create change is by doing so in partnership and creating fewer silos and really working and reaching across those different groups to make sure that we’re learning from one another and creating change together. Purnima Sundar

I think we’re now at a time in the world where there is enough evidence and knowledge that we can change a generation of children, infants, and youth. And I think we need to latch on to that and we need to look at how do we get the skill. And I think the skill is there. Do we have the will in organizations? And then do we have the capacity, meaning the resources? Jon Reeves

The COVID-19 pandemic was certainly a tipping point for many things. But I would also suggest it’s a tipping point for building our integrated connections and understanding research practice and policy because we were forced to come together…and it required us to look at gaps and cracks in our system that were always there, but then we had to start to look at to see what we could do to address them. Stephanie Priest

Resources related to this session

March 1, 2023