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Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis

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John Lavis named to inaugural International Research Chairs Initiatives

12 Mar 2009

CHEPA’s John Lavis is partnering with a leading advocate of advancing health research and policy in Africa in a new $1-million project to study how to turn health research into policy in developing countries.

Lavis, the Canada Research Chair in Knowledge Transfer and Exchange, and Nelson Sewankambo, principal of the College of Health Sciences at Makerere University in Uganda, will come together under the International Research Chairs Initiative, a cutting-edge project sponsored by Canada’s International Development Research Centre in collaboration with the Canada Research Chairs Program.

The initiative pairs top research talent from universities in Canada with their counterparts in developing nations to share their advanced skills and knowledge to confront issues of common concern, while mentoring a new generation of scholars and practitioners.

Lavis and Sewankambo will lead a study of “knowledge translation platforms,” which have been developed by the World Health Organization and others to convert research knowledge into policies and programs to bolster health system effectiveness in developing countries.

Persisting high rates of death and illness in many developing countries have brought a renewed focus on the importance of research evidence in determining health policy. However, those striving to support evidence-informed health policies and systems face various obstacles, such as the perceived relevance, value and ease of use of research evidence.

The project being led by Lavis and Sewankambo will evaluate knowledge translation platforms in 11 countries, to enable researchers to better understand the processes and variables that facilitate knowledge translation for improved health. The funding covers a five-year period, and the project will yield a database, scientific publications, plain-language summaries and a “how-to” guide for evaluating knowledge translation platforms.

The project is one of eight recently announced International Research Chairs Initiatives, pairing leading Canadian researchers with partners in Brazil, China, Ghana, India Morocco and Uganda.

In addition to his CHEPA role, Lavis is an associate professor in both the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Department of Political Science at McMaster University, and Director of the McMaster Health Forum.

For more details on IRCI projects, click here.

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