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Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Processes for Environmental Health Issues in Canadian Aboriginal Communities
School of Nursing, McMaster University, 1200 Main Street West, Hamilton, ON L8N 3Z5, Canada
Indigenous Environmental Studies, Trent University, 1600 West Bank Drive, Peterborough, ON K9J 7B8, Canada
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 December 2009; Accepted: 16 February 2010 / Published: 23 February 2010
Abstract: Within Canadian Aboriginal communities, the process for utilizing environmental health research evidence in the development of policies and programs is not well understood. This fundamental qualitative descriptive study explored the perceptions of 28 environmental health researchers, senior external decision-makers and decision-makers working within Aboriginal communities about factors influencing knowledge transfer and exchange, beliefs about research evidence and Traditional Knowledge and the preferred communication channels for disseminating and receiving evidence. The results indicate that collaborative relationships between researchers and decision-makers, initiated early and maintained throughout a research project, promote both the efficient conduct of a study and increase the likelihood of knowledge transfer and exchange. Participants identified that empirical research findings and Traditional Knowledge are different and distinct types of evidence that should be equally valued and used where possible to provide a holistic understanding of environmental issues and support decisions in Aboriginal communities. To facilitate the dissemination of research findings within Aboriginal communities, participants described the elements required for successfully crafting key messages, locating and using credible messengers to deliver the messages, strategies for using cultural brokers and identifying the communication channels commonly used to disseminate and receive this type of information.
Keywords: environmental health; research utilization; knowledge transfer; Aboriginal; qualitative
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Jack, S.M.; Brooks, S.; Furgal, C.M.; Dobbins, M. Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Processes for Environmental Health Issues in Canadian Aboriginal Communities. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7, 651-674.
Jack SM, Brooks S, Furgal CM, Dobbins M. Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Processes for Environmental Health Issues in Canadian Aboriginal Communities. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2010; 7(2):651-674.
Jack, Susan M.; Brooks, Sandy; Furgal, Chris M.; Dobbins, Maureen. 2010. "Knowledge Transfer and Exchange Processes for Environmental Health Issues in Canadian Aboriginal Communities." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 7, no. 2: 651-674.