Knowledge translation for public health: supporting evidence-informed decision-making in local government

Abstract text
Background:Evidence-informed decision making (EIDM) is a term increasingly used to acknowledge that decisions are informed by a broad range of evidence, rather than relying on singular sources such as research studies or systematic reviews. In public health, EIDM is influenced to varying degrees by research evidence, community views, political imperatives, stakeholder pressure and resource constraints, and as a consequence, the extent of influence and use of research evidence is unclear. Knowledge translation (KT) strategies such as evidence summaries, rapid reviews, knowledge brokers, and clearinghouses hold promise to enhance EIDM, however the extent to which KT strategies are useful and effective for individuals and organisations in public health is not well understood.

Objectives:We conducted an exploratory cluster randomised controlled trial (RCT) set within local governments (LGs) in Victoria, Australia. The study aimed to identify feasible, acceptable and ideally, effective KT strategies to increase EIDM.

Methods:The Knowledge Translation for Local Government (KT4LG) study was informed by a systematic review of KT strategies, review of theory and literature, state-wide survey of LGs, and key informant interviews. KT4LG was delivered over two years (Nov 2009-Nov 2011). Both comparison (n=14) and intervention (n=14) LGs received access to a series of evidence summaries, and a multi-component intervention was led by a program coordinator who supported intervention LGs to access, assess and apply research evidence. Strategies included regular phone contacts with LG staff, site visits, and group professional development sessions.

Results:Findings will be presented from the cluster RCT evaluation with an emphasis on the impact of the intervention on three validated domains of EIDM; access, confidence and organisational culture for research evidence use.

Conclusions:KT4LG is the first study of its kind in Australia and presents important findings about the use of KT strategies to support EIDM at both individual and organisational levels.
Armstrong R1, Waters E2, Pettman T2, Swinburn B3, Moore L4, Dobbins M5, Anderson L6, Moodie M3, Petticrew M7
1 University of Melbourne. Australia
2 University of Melbourne, Australia
3 Deakin University, Australia
4 Cardiff University, Wales
5 McMaster University, Canada
6 Washington University, USA
7 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK
Presenting author and contact person
Presenting author: 
Rebecca Armstrong
Contact person Affiliation Country
Rebecca Armstrong (Contact this person) University of Melbourne Australia
Date and Location
Oral session B9O2
Tuesday 2 October 2012 - 11:20 - 11:40