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Article

From Science to Policy and Practice: A Critical Assessment of Knowledge Management before, during, and after Environmental Public Health Disasters

1
Eastern Townships Integrated University Centre in Health and Social Services—Sherbrooke Hospital University Centre, Sherbrooke, QC J1G 1B1, Canada
2
Department of Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, QC J1H 5N4, Canada
3
Chemical Emergency Preparedness and Response Unit, Environmental Health Science and Research Bureau, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Health Canada, Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9, Canada
4
National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health, Vancouver, BC V5Z 4C2, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(4), 587; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040587
Received: 15 January 2019 / Revised: 3 February 2019 / Accepted: 11 February 2019 / Published: 18 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health-Related Emergency Disaster Risk Management (Health-EDRM))
Canada regularly faces environmental public health (EPH) disasters. Given the importance of evidence-based, risk-informed decision-making, we aimed to critically assess the integration of EPH expertise and research into each phase of disaster management. In-depth interviews were conducted with 23 leaders in disaster management from Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, and were complemented by other qualitative methods. Three topics were examined: governance, knowledge creation/translation, and related barriers/needs. Data were analyzed through a four-step content analysis. Six critical success factors emerged from the analysis: blending the best of traditional and modern approaches; fostering community engagement; cultivating relationships; investing in preparedness and recovery; putting knowledge into practice; and ensuring sufficient human and financial resources. Several promising knowledge-to-action strategies were also identified, including mentorship programs, communities of practice, advisory groups, systematized learning, and comprehensive repositories of tools and resources. There is no single roadmap to incorporate EPH expertise and research into disaster management. Our findings suggest that preparation for and management of EPH disaster risks requires effective long-term collaboration between science, policy, and EPH practitioners at all levels in order to facilitate coordinated and timely deployment of multi-sectoral/jurisdictional resources when and where they are most needed. View Full-Text
Keywords: knowledge transfer; knowledge management; environmental public health; disaster risk management knowledge transfer; knowledge management; environmental public health; disaster risk management
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MDPI and ACS Style

Généreux, M.; Lafontaine, M.; Eykelbosh, A. From Science to Policy and Practice: A Critical Assessment of Knowledge Management before, during, and after Environmental Public Health Disasters. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 587. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040587

AMA Style

Généreux M, Lafontaine M, Eykelbosh A. From Science to Policy and Practice: A Critical Assessment of Knowledge Management before, during, and after Environmental Public Health Disasters. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(4):587. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040587

Chicago/Turabian Style

Généreux, Mélissa, Marc Lafontaine, and Angela Eykelbosh. 2019. "From Science to Policy and Practice: A Critical Assessment of Knowledge Management before, during, and after Environmental Public Health Disasters" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 16, no. 4: 587. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16040587

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