Driving Knowledge Mobilisation and Change Across Communities

Recognising the critical role knowledge plays in driving innovation, informing decision-making, and fostering positive change for health and care in our local communities.

In a bid to bridge the second translational gap between research and practice, NIHR ARC Northwest London has been at the forefront of implementing innovative strategies to mobilise knowledge and foster positive change in healthcare practices across local communities. These efforts have not only enhanced the translation of research findings into tangible outcomes but have also contributed significantly to improving health outcomes and engagement in research.

Through mindful planning, ARC NWL’s projects include a comprehensive array of knowledge mobilisation (KM) activities ranging from distributing research summaries to hosting co-designed workshops. All of which have been instrumental in facilitating a two-way dialogue between researchers and stakeholders, ensuring that research findings are not only disseminated effectively but also applied in real-world scenarios to drive meaningful change.

The Power of Communication

The ICS REN initiative, a notable project spearheaded by ARC NWL’s Ethnicity & Health Unit,  aimed to engage ethnically diverse communities in health research through community health roadshows, endorsing Community Research Champions from the local community, and assembling a Partnership Forum of local stakeholders. This project exemplifies the success of bi-directional knowledge exchange, which not only built trust but also identified key areas for improvement and future research priorities.

Financing and utilising graphic illustrators for ICS REN II and III projects further engaged local communities and helped to capture and understand the experience of the Community Research Champions, gauge future research and health priorities of Northwest London’s ethnically diverse communities, as well as highlighting the impact of the health roadshows. 

REN 2 Brent Health Research Roadshow 8.03.24 update HR.png
ICS REN 2 CRC reflective discussion 1 - 14.03.24 HR.png
29 Feb Acton Youth Association Morning Families LRes.jpg
6 March Addressing Barriers to Engagement LRes.jpg
29 Feb Acton Youth Association Afternoon Young People LRes.jpg
5 March Harrow Club LRes.jpg

Utilising graphic illustrators allowed two-way knowledge mobilisation with all stakeholders via; learning from the community, understanding how and why they participated, the benefit of using translators for promotional materials and during the roadshows and finally by sharing with us opportunities for improvement and building trust in the community. The finalised illustrations are then further used to support the evaluation process, create a dialogue around findings as well as share local experience and research findings with the local communities and other stakeholders in a creative and easy-to-understand manner. 

Capacity Development and Multi-level Knowledge Mobilisation

Collaboration with Young Advisers from the ARC Outreach Alliance Mental Health Network (AOA) stands as a testament to the commitment to multi-level knowledge mobilisation and capacity development from the team to the Young Advisers to other community members and stakeholders. The approach taken to drive the directions of this project is taken collaboratively from the input of young people, researchers and stakeholders, where the young people are central to the research project as co-producers. By involving young people as co-producers, ARC NWL facilitated skill development and knowledge exchange, resulting in the creation of impactful outputs such as award-winning films, an information hub for the Young People’s Advisory Group members and informative newsletters

The AOA have built relationships and links with ICS, local authorities, community organisations and centres via a Network Steering Group that meets termly to mobilise knowledge by identifying opportunities to collaborate on children and young people’s mental health initiatives.

National and Global Learning 

ARC NWL's initiatives extend beyond local communities, with projects like the NHS Insights Prioritisation Programme in NWL focusing on enhancing chronic kidney disease (CKD) management in primary care settings. Through collaborative efforts between clinicians and patients, valuable feedback was obtained, leading to recommendations for improved pathology guidance and enhanced screening support, ultimately enhancing CKD care delivery.

The impact is evident in projects like the Community Health and Wellbeing Worker (CHWW) initiative where evidence from the Brazilian primary care system was translated to develop the CHWW initiative in Westminster. Learning was synthesised into an operations guide with the NAPC, facilitating adoption in several UK localities. Partnerships with Brazilian counterparts ensured fidelity to the model, leading to scaling from 4 CHWW to 119 CHWW across 7 UK localities. 

Room to Grow

ARC NWL acknowledges the challenges that accompany such ambitious endeavours. The time-intensive nature of translating evidence into practice, building trust within communities, and nurturing a research-ready population are among the hurdles that require ongoing attention and innovative solutions.

Despite these challenges, ARC NWL remains steadfast in its commitment to driving knowledge mobilisation and effecting positive change across communities. With a dedicated focus on capacity development and a relentless pursuit of collaborative partnerships, ARC NWL continues to be a beacon of innovation in healthcare research and practice.

Associated Theme:

This news story is written with the whole NIHR ARC NWL programme in mind.