Creating a Culture of Innovation, Integration, and Interconnectedness

Children’s Healthcare Canada and SKIP collaborate to improve knowledge mobilization across Canada

Emily Gruenwoldt is President and CEO of Children’s Healthcare Canada. For her, Children’s Healthcare Canada’s relationship with SKIP has grown into much more than the sum of its parts. “We’ve been on a journey for three years to modernize our Association, so the needs of Children’s Healthcare Canada members are changing with the times,” says Gruenwoldt. “SKIP is helping us redefine our knowledge mobilization strategy and reimagine who our stakeholders are and how we serve them.” In addition to co-leading the network and sharing team members, SKIP and Children’s Healthcare Canada collaborate on events, including policy advocacy efforts at the federal level to engage Senators, MPs, and policymakers, as well as weekly webinars and social and traditional media campaigns.

“The SKIP launch event in the Senate Chambers gave us the opportunity to really engage our country’s most senior decision-makers with respect to children’s health – and, more specifically, children’s pain. This event helped both organizations build credibility and trust with appointed and elected officials by bringing evidence and experts to the table.”

Children’s Healthcare Canada’s weekly spark:live webinars often draw on the SKIP community to present research and answer questions about emerging issues and evidence. These webinars reach large numbers of patients and families as well as healthcare practitioners, researchers, and other stakeholders from coast to coast.

SKIP has also helped transform the way Children’s Healthcare Canada communicates.

“Rather than corporate, traditional messaging, we’re trying to be more relatable and high impact,” explains Gruenwoldt. 

“We’re inspired to reach families and other influencers in more creative ways, while collaborating to advance the missions of both organizations. SKIP’s Scientific Director, Dr. Christine Chambers, tends to tap into popular culture and social media to reach diverse audiences. I complement that reach with a broad network of health professionals, health organizations and their leaders, and political leadership. Together, it’s a robust community we are able to engage.”

Gruenwoldt is confident the relationship between SKIP and Children’s Healthcare Canada will continue to reveal new opportunities for collaboration with the ‘unusual suspects’: “We have a tendency to lean on the same people and organizations over and over. We’re now reaching influencers who weren’t foremost on our radar, as well as more patients and families.

“As a children’s healthcare organization, we truly understand, value, and embrace patient and family partners. We’re on a journey to redefine what those partnerships mean for our organization, operationally and strategically.”

This includes how Children’s Healthcare Canada develops strategy, screens new programs and activities, and crafts communications.

Children’s Healthcare Canada’s new Family Network helps advance strategic priorities and provides an online space for families to connect, share, and draw attention to important issues.

“Within three weeks of launch, we had 100 families engaged. We are now in the process of selecting a member of the Network to join our Board of Directors. SKIP has been our exemplar in family partnership and engagement.”

“This is what good knowledge mobilization looks like,” says SKIP co-director Dr. Christine Chambers, “creating a culture of integration and interconnectedness across the whole sector. We learn from each other about what works. Together, we can be more creative.”

The future is promising, according to Gruenwoldt.

“Children’s Healthcare Canada and SKIP are influencing how other organizations and the health system in general embraces innovation in the knowledge mobilization space. We can live with the 17-year gap between research findings and implementation, or we can accelerate those timelines and improve how care is delivered to other areas of children’s health and indeed the whole health care system. Now that would be high, high impact!”