Recap: KT Canada 2019 in Winnipeg

By Trish Roche

CHI KT Platform
Jun 10 · 7 min read

The 10th Knowledge Translation Canada Annual Scientific Conference was held in Winnipeg on May 30 & 31, 2019. The theme was advancing the science of integrated knowledge translation — a research approach that involves engagement of research end users (including clinicians, researchers, and decision-makers, as well as patients, caregivers, and communities) as collaborators throughout the research process. If you’re new to the field, check out Leah’s blog on integrated knowledge translation (iKT for short).

The meeting, held in downtown Winnipeg, was co-sponsored by the George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation (CHI) and the University of Manitoba — organizations well-represented in the list of panel members, workshop presenters, and poster presentations. In this post, we’ll share a bit of info about each and how CHI is contributing to advancing the science of iKT. Attendees frequently took to Twitter to share key insights, thoughts, and questions using the hashtag #KTCan19.

Keynote Presentation

Drs. Ian Graham and Anita Kothari kicked off the conference with reflections on the iKT field and thoughts on next steps moving forward. They discussed ongoing work in synthesizing iKT research evidence, the (sometimes unexpected) costs of integrated KT, alternative approaches for engagement of end users, and power dynamics.

Dr. Graham shared findings from a recent evaluation of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)’s Knowledge Translation Funding Program, focusing on the achievement of expected outcomes (read more about it on CIHR’s website here). He also discussed characteristics of meaningful partnerships, such as mutual learning and respect.

Dr. Kothari discussed how we can pay attention to power relationships in iKT, including key questions about how power imbalances impact research relationships, in whose interests we are acting when we do research, and what imbalances exist across the stages and phases of research.

“Integrated knowledge translation is about paying attention to, and redistributing, power in research relationships”

Workshop on Planning for Partnership

Opening day two, CHI’s Knowledge Translation platform members spent 90 minutes guiding conference attendees through a series of activities aimed at providing research teams and stakeholders with the tools to conduct meaningful, inclusive, and safe engagement strategies in their work. CHI members included Trish Roche, Knowledge Broker; Carolyn Shimmin, Patient and Public Engagement Lead; Carly Leggett, KT Manager and Practice Lead; and Ogai Sherzoi, Knowledge Broker.

Part One: Guiding Principles of Engagement

Carolyn Shimmin began the workshop with a discussion of intersectional analysis and trauma-informed practice and its importance to inclusivity, diversity, and safety in research partnerships. She also shared key questions that research teams can use to do critical reflexive practice in their own work — all of which can be found in Shimmin et al.’s 2017 paper.

Attendees were then led into a critical reflexive practice to consider how their own social locations, experiences and biases impact their work by reflecting on two important questions:

Critical reflexive practice questions from the KT Canada 2019 workshop.

Part Two: Preparing for Engagement

Following a very vibrant discussion among attendees, Ogai led the group on how to prepare to engage, including conducting both an internal and external engagement readiness assessment (both for the research team and for potential partners). Ogai also discussed the levels of engagement in health research (consultation, collaboration, and patient/public-directed) and used a case example to guide attendees through the use of CHI’s interactive online tool for selecting a participatory approach or engagement activity.

CHI’s Online Tool for Choosing an Engagement Method — find it at

The second workshop activity gave attendees another case example and asked them to work together to determine the appropriate level of engagement and select a potential participatory approach.

Ogai helping an attendee use CHI’s Online Engagement Methods Selection tool.

Part Three: Addressing Barriers to Engagement

Presented by Trish Roche, the final workshop component involved a ‘barriers to engagement’ discussion, and listed some key considerations when planning an engagement budget. Trish introduced CHI’s budgeting tool, which guides users through the key considerations for engagement and produces a summary page that can be included in grant applications.

Check out the blog post on how to use the tool for more info:

Attendees wrapped up the workshop by using their own case example to start creating their own stakeholder engagement budget.

Panel Discussions

Day One Panel: How to engage under-represented populations

Moderated by Dr. Terry Klassen, Scientific Director at CHI, this panel featured five powerful women who work or conduct research collaboratively with groups whose voices are often unheard in health research (panel photographed below). Panelists discussed the importance of keeping research partners informed about the research process (even when progress is minimal and it feels like there’s nothing to report); including patient and public partners as co-authors in peer-reviewed publications; and ensuring people’s basic needs are being met so they can authentically engage in research.

One panelist, Seeta Ramdass, used storytelling to demonstrate how researchers may unintentionally inflict harm on those they are trying to help when they don’t involve them in decision-making processes. She tells us of a monkey sitting on a branch overlooking some rushing rapids, who sees a fish struggling against the current. The monkey reaches down, scoops the fish out of the water, and places it on the branch, saying “Look how happy the fish is to have been saved, it’s dancing around with joy!” The moral of the story? Don’t be the monkey.

Day Two Panel: Solutions for overcoming challenges in engaging stakeholders

The second panel, moderated by Dr. Kathryn Sibley, Director of the Knowledge Translation platform, featured a majority of CHI folks: Dr. Ahmed Abou-Setta (featured in a guest post), Director of the Knowledge Synthesis platform, Carolyn Shimmin, and Thomas Beaudry, Co-Chair of CHI’s Patient and Public Engagement Collaborative Partnership. Also on the panel was Dr. David Johnson, Co-Director of the Knowledge Mobilization network Translating Emergency Knowledge for Kids (TREKK) (check them out on Twitter!).

From L to R: Dr. Kathryn Sibley, Dr. David Johnson, Dr. Ahmed Abou-Setta, Carolyn Shimmin, and Thomas Beaudry.

Panelists shared their own experiences of overcoming challenges in research partnerships and the importance of taking time to build trusting, authentic relationships.

“If you’re uncomfortable in your discussions, you’re asking the right questions.” — Thomas Beaudry

Poster Presentations

This year’s KT Canada meeting featured a unique poster presentation approach where each presenter was only allowed a single slide and 30 seconds to share a synopsis of their work, and encourage attendees to visit their posters in a separate room. We’ve featured these 30-second snapshots for posters produced by (or in collaboration with) CHI staff and students — for more check out KT Canada’s Twitter account.

Patient and public engagement in a systematic review: A case study
By Dr. Maya M. Jeyaraman

Disseminating the foundations of knowledge translation science and practice: A quantitative descriptive evaluation of reach and engagement of the KnowledgeNudge blog and Twitter profile
By KM Sibley, M. Khan, PL Roche, P Faucher, and C Leggett

Developing a parent advisory group for a knowledge mobilization network in pediatric emergency medicine: A roadmap
By L Knisley, C Leggett, L Enns, S Hickes, P Roche, M Rybuck, D Smallwood and T Klassen

Asynchronous online focus group: A methodological approach to engage Canadians with limited mobility
By Alexie Touchette

All in all, the conference was an excellent opportunity to explore what’s being done across Canada in terms of moving the science of iKT (and patient engagement) forward; to meet and network with like-minded professionals and patient partners; and to explore power dynamics, safety, and critical reflexive practice in iKT and engagement.

A handful of Manitoba staff and students celebrating a successful conference! Clockwise from L to R: Dr. Ahmed Abou-Setta, Cheryl Moser, Masood Khan, Brenda Tittlemeier, Alexandra Korall, Trish Roche, Carly Leggett, Carolyn Shimmin, Lisa Knisley, Dr. Maya Jeyaraman, Ogai Sherzoi, Dr. Kathryn Sibley, and Thomas Beaudry.

About the Author

Trish Roche is a Knowledge Broker with the George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation (CHI). Her primary interests lie in advancing the science of knowledge translation and patient engagement, with a particular interest in the realm of basic biomedical science. Find her on Twitter @TrishMcNish.


Publishing bi-weekly, we focus on all things knowledge translation (KT) – synthesis, exchange, application & dissemination – from a health perspective. Topics include the science of KT, patient engagement, and media & dissemination.

CHI KT Platform

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Know-do gaps. Integrated KT. Patient & public engagement. KT research. Multimedia tools & dissemination. And the occasional puppy.


Publishing bi-weekly, we focus on all things knowledge translation (KT) – synthesis, exchange, application & dissemination – from a health perspective. Topics include the science of KT, patient engagement, and media & dissemination.

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