post cards from congress – day 3

Day 3 was a slow start but one that ended up with real and intellectual sunshine. The morning was slow because all the delegates were busy at association meetings.  The book fair was quiet and resembled a “Where’s Waldo” game from the late 1980s.  Finding the ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) booth and neighbouring

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post cards from congress – day 1

Some turbulent rivers start as gentle springs, trickling as they grow into a torrent.  Congress on Day 1 is like that gentle spring, moving, with potential.  It’s quiet at the ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche booth but despite that the RIR booth has had a gentle trickle of energizing conversations. The BIG THINKING lecture by

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KMb Congress TweetChat- June 1 at Noon EST

Please join us for the KMb Congress Tweet Chat event co-hosted by ResearchImpact-Réseau Impact Recherche and the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Date: Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Time:  12 noon to 1:00 pm EST

Topic: Making Social Sciences and Humanities Matter to Canadians

Questions to be covered:

  1. How can we more effectively communicate the value of SSH research to different stakeholders?
  2. How do you measure and communicate impact of SSH research?
  3. How can knowledge mobilization maximize this impact?
  4. Open Q & A

See KMbCongress TweetChat Flyer for more information.

In order to take part in this event you must sign up for a Twitter account. If you don’t have a Twitter account, go to and click on the sign up button and follow the instructions to create a profile.

Here are the instructions on how to participate:  

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Clearly, another clear language summer/ Clairement un autre été en langage clair

York’s KMb Unit held its largest ever Clear Language Writing and Design workshop on May 9th. Workshop participants from a number of groups were excited to take away valuable insights they could apply in their daily work.

Le 9 mai, l’Unité de MdC de York a tenu son atelier de rédaction en langage clair, le plus important jamais tenu à ce jour. Les participants à l’atelier, provenant de divers groupes, ont été heureux d’acquérir des compétences dont ils pourront se servir au quotidien dans leur milieu de travail.

On Monday May the 9th, York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit hosted its largest ever Clear Language Writing and Design workshop. The event brought together over 20 participants from a diverse spectrum of groups, all of whom were interested in discovering what clear language is all about and honing their writing skills.  The workshop was facilitated by Matthew Shulman, an adult literacy professional with the Peel Halton Dufferin Adult Learning Network. The event wasattended by the following groups:

  • Summer interns hired through the Knowledge Mobilization for Climate Change Public Outreach project.
  • Summer interns working with the Ontario Literacy Coalition
  • Knowledge Network for Applied Education and Research (KNAER)
  • Summer students from York’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit engaged in research summary development
  • Staff from the Ontario Mental Health and Addictions Knowledge Exchange Network(OMHAKEN).

The workshop consisted of 2 parts. In the first part, Matthew gave an overview of clear language principles and provided examples that demonstrated the value of “writing for the reader”. Participants in the workshop considered their different audiences related to their working research projects- stakeholders such as policy makers, adminstrators, practicioners and community members.  An engaging conversation emerged as to how to make research findings more accessible and relevant to meet the needs of each potential knowledge user through clear language practice.

The second part gave participants a chance to apply their newly acquired skills in a group writing exercise.  “[The workshop] was very informative and engaging” said Samuel Towe, a graduate student with York’s Faculty of Education, “[I] really appreciated the group exercise”. [The] participation of teachers was delightfully engaging and thought provoking” said another workshop participant in their evaluation form.  

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Social Media: Friend or Foe? / Médias sociaux: Amis ou Ennemis?

Is social media friend or foe of evidence? Social media tools are increasingly used to amplify medical debates and maximize engagement around research and evidence. But where is the evidence that social media works for knowledge mobilization?

Les médias sociaux sont-ils les amis ou les ennemis des données probantes ? Ils sont de plus en plus employés pour amplifier les débats dans le domaine médical ainsi que pour accroitre le recours à la recherche et aux données probantes. Mais où sont les preuves que les médias sociaux sont réellement utiles pour la mobilisation des connaissances.

Is social media friend or foe of evidence?  That was the question posed to a panel at the Canadian Association of Health Services and Policy Research annual meeting in rainy, rainy Halifax on May 11, 2011. David Phipps of ResearchImpact-York shared this panel with David Clements (Canadian Institute of Health Information) and Rob Fraser, Nursing grad student and author of The Nurse’s Social Media Advantage. The panel followed a plenary presentation by Andreas Laupacis, Executive Director, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Andreas used the case studies of Liberation Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis and the Herceptin story of Jill Anzarut to illustrate the emerging role of social media in the evidence dialogue among patients, their advocates and the health care system(s). Andreas’ conclusion was that social media risks privileging anecdote over evidence; therefore, it is incumbent on scientists to participate in social media or risk becoming marginalized. As one audience member put it “social media has burst the scientific research bubble and we no longer have the option to not use it”.

This set up the following panel which explored the role of social media in knowledge translation, “The Changing Landscape of KT: Social Media, Friend or Foe of Expert Knowledge?” David Clements started out by sketching the big picture of social media in research and evidence. Rob Fraser provided his reflections as someone who uses social media and is considering what it means to use social media tools in research: to collect data, share data and ideas, engage with stakeholders and disseminate results. David Phipps presented two case studies from ResearchImpact-York. We have written about Mobilizing Minds: Pathways to Young Adult Mental Health, most recently on November 8, 2010. David presented the new Mobilizing Minds video of young adults presenting the results of Mobilizing Minds research. Young adults expressed interest in receiving information about mental health from a variety of sources including online media.  

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ResearchImpact Road Show 2011 / La tournée 2011 du Réseau Impact Recherche

For the first time in RIR history all six ResearchImpact universities will be engaged in our annual KMb road show. We shall present. We shall plan. And we will enjoy ourselves.

Pour la première fois de l’histoire du RIR, les six universitésprendront part à la tournée annuelle de MdC. Nous présenterons, planifierons et aurons bien du plaisir!

It’s spring. That means it’s raining, the birds are singing, the students are stressing over finals and it’s conference season. Spring also means ResearchImpact-RéseauImpactRecherche (RIR) is hitting the road. Our last road show blog was about our work in York Region. This blog takes us across the country. Every year at this time we exhibit and spread the knowledge mobilization gospel at the Canadian Association of University Research Administrators and the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities. This year we’re at it again but bigger, better and busier.

May 10-13: Community-University Expo (Waterloo, Ontario)

  • RIR-MUN, RIR-UQAM, RIR-York, RIR-Guelph and RIR-UVic will be attending CUExpo 2011.  See us on the exhibit floor.  On May 12 we are hosting a plenary by Chad Gaffield (SSHRC), Tim Brodhead (McConnell Foundation), Daniele Zanotti (United Way of York Region) and Stan Shapson (York University) discussing the role of community – university collaborations for social innovation.  On May 13 we are presenting a workshop on KMb tools.

May 11: Canadian Association of Health Services and Policy Research (Halifax, Ontario)

  • David Phipps (RIR-York) will be presenting in the session: The Changing Landscape of KT: Social Media, “Friend or Foe of Expert Knowledge?”  Included in this will be a presentation of a video showing the results of our CIHR funded social media KMb grant, “Project Teen Moms” (see our previous blog post on this collaboration).

May 13: Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario)

  • David Phipps has been invited to speak to his Alma Mater as they celebrate over 115 years of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. David will be speaking about his journey from graduate student to RIR broker.  
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To Blog Or Not To Blog?

David Phipps (ResearchImpact, York) was pleased to be invited to guest blog for Science of Blogging, a science blog run by @TravisSaunders, PhD Candidate, Obesity Researcher and Certified Exercise Physiologist. His blog, below, was posted on May 4, 2011. Check out the blog rolls on Mobilize This! and Science of Blogging. Each is following the other but you’ll see a few other great science and knowledge mobilization blogs there as well.

Dear Professor, To blog or not to blog?  This is not a question that you should worry about…for now. You compete successfully in three peer review arenas: publishing, grant seeking and tenure & promotion (T&P).  These three are interdependent with success in one begetting success in another.  The three are built on the same assumption: that your peers are in the best position to critique and thus make awards of publications, of grants and of tenure.  This isn’t going to change dramatically in the near future, so please don’t fret over all this blogging stuff.  Your klout score is not about to sway your T&P committee.

But note that in Canada, at least, times they are a changin’ (♫)

Canadian research funding is dominated by three federal granting councils (SSHRC, CIHR and NSERC) all of whom are rolling out new funding programs with non-academics on the peer review committees.  As I mentioned in a previous blog some (admittedly only a few) peer reviewed journals are including non academics on their editorial boards.  Campus-community collaborations are increasingly recognized by T&P committees (especially when the university based scholar and his/her community partner receives a $1M Community University Research Alliance) and there is even a national alliance to examine academic reward and incentive structures for community engaged scholarship.

But you don’t have to worry about that…for now.  

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What determines your health? / Qu’est-ce qui détermine votre santé?

By David Phipps (ResearchImpact, York)

A KM in the AM on social determinants of health brought consensus on the challenge but fell short of imagining solutions. At ResearchImpact-York we will continue this dialogue to try to nudge the discussion forward. What will you do?

La dernière matinée de mobilisation des connaissances (KM in the AM) portant sur les déterminants sociaux de la santé a permis d’arriver à un consensus concernant les défis, mais n’a pu dégager clairement des pistes de solution partagées. Chez ResearchImpact – York, nous poursuivrons le dialogue afin de faire avancer la discussions. Et vous, qu’allez-vous faire?

Denis Raphael (School of Health Policy and Management, York University has written, “the primary factors that shape the health and well-being of Canadians – the factors that will give us longer, better lives – are to be found in the actual living conditions that Canadians experience on a daily basis.” WHO defines these conditions as social determinants of health (SDOH), “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age, including the health system. These circumstances are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels, which are themselves influenced by policy choices. The SDOH are mostly responsible for health inequities.” On April 12, ResearchImpact-York hosted a KM in the AM on social determinants of health (SDOH). Part of our suite of KMb services, KM in the AM is a monthly breakfast meeting where university researchers and non-academic stakeholders exchange information and sow the seeds of future collaborations.

Mina Singh and Beryl Pilkington from York’s School of Nursing presented along with Carolyn Mooi from the Heart & Stroke Foundation and Nicky Wright from the York Region District School Board. The presentations kicked off a discussion among the 18 attendees from community and municipal agencies and throughout York Region. Discussion (and there was plenty) focused on the health outcomes related to SDOH: immigration, poverty, homelessness, disability, seniors with people experiencing increased health challenges when more than one of these SDOH intersect. Everyone in the room could speak to the challenges but few were moving to solutions. Local solutions like Mississauga’s investment in community fitness program like Pilates were cited as one example. Nicky charged us to go home and help one person that evening illustrating that we all bear responsibly for being part of the solution. 

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