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Spotlight on knowledge translation in action at Everymind

14 February 2020

Last week Everymind hosted Dr Melanie Barwick in Newcastle as part of the Trevor Waring Expert in Residence Series, which dedicated a week to developing greater understanding of the principles of knowledge translation and implementation science.

Recognised as an international expert in this area, Dr Barwick delivered two public lectures including the Trevor Waring Memorial Lecture as well as a series of workshops and activities with Everymind staff and stakeholders aimed at fostering collaboration and shared learning.

During the Trevor Waring Memorial Lecture, Dr Barwick highlighted that knowledge translation is about understanding the purpose behind any research activity.

“If you don’t know your purpose, how can you know what you are evaluating?” Dr Barwick asked the audience.

“It is important to remember that only 25 percent of research evidence is reaching those it is intended to benefit and when research evidence is not shared at the right time, to the right people, in the right way, the process stalls.

“This represents a great deal of research wastage and prompts the question, how can we do better?

“Clinical outcomes might tell us if the intervention was effective, but implementation outcomes tell us if the intervention was implemented as intended.

“Evidence-based interventions are useless unless people know how to use them.”

Everymind Acting Director, Associate Professor Carmel Loughland said everyone has a role to play in applying a knowledge translation lens to the work being done nationally in suicide prevention and mental health.

“We need to be constantly learning and seeking to understand new and exciting ways to translate knowledge, understand implementation and achieve impact through innovation in the work that we do.”

Following the Trevor Waring Memorial Lecture, Everymind staff participated in a week-long series of interactive, strategic knowledge translation activities dedicated to building capacity.

“This week with Dr Barwick has stretched our minds beyond what we thought possible and opened our eyes to more strategic opportunities for Everymind,” Associate Professor Loughland said.

“In Australia we still have a way to go when it comes to the full integration of implementation science and knowledge translation within research, interventions and projects, specifically across suicide prevention and mental health.

“As an Institute we look forward to continuing these important discussions on a national level.

“Knowledge translation includes a willingness to learn, embrace change and share learnings with others in order to achieve true progress and innovation within the sector.

“Above all else, we want to ensure that the work we do is effective and supports the vulnerable communities and individuals we seek to assist.”

About the Trevor Waring Memorial Lecture:

  • The Trevor Waring Expert in Residence Series was launched in 2017 as part of Everymind's 25-year celebration, as a legacy to Professor Trevor Waring, the Institute’s founding director.
  • This event invites experts from the diverse prevention sector to present and share key insights and knowledge on innovative work being achieved and explored within this space.

About Professor Trevor Waring:

  • Professor Trevor Waring AM was a clinical psychologist, University of Newcastle chancellor from 2004-2012, and the founding director of Everymind (originally the Hunter Institute of Mental Health).
  • Through his hard work and dedication Professor Waring set strong foundations in the Newcastle community and is remembered as a nationally recognised leader in the prevention of mental ill-health and suicide.

About Dr Melanie Barwick:

  • Dr Barwick is a registered psychologist and senior scientist in the Research Institute at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in Toronto, Canada, with affiliations to the SickKids’ Learning Institute and SickKids Centre for Global Child Health. She is a professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, and professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.
  • Dr Barwick is an internationally recognised expert in implementation science and knowledge translation (KT), working in the areas of health, mental health and global health. Through her research, she aims to improve the implementation of evidence into practice and community and to broaden the reach of evidence more generally to support decision making, practice, policy, knowledge and awareness.