Thinking outside the box, all in the name of knowledge mobilization!
This story is part of a series led by Solutions for Kids in Pain (SKIP) about efforts being made across Canada and beyond to mobilize evidence-based solutions through coordination and collaboration. To learn more about 100+ groups working to improve children’s pain management, click here.
Living with a chronic disease can make everyday activities challenging for young people. One of the recipients of SKIP and HEC’s Share Your #VirtualCare grant is working to help youth navigate these waters alongside peers who share similar experiences.
In the fall of 2020, SKIP collaborated with Healthcare Excellence Canada (HEC) to identify and broaden awareness of virtual care innovations for children in pain, their families, and care partners. The call for innovations was a response to the increased use of virtual pediatric chronic pain prevention and management necessitated by the pandemic.
One of the submissions came from Dr. Sara Kohut, Psychologist and Associate Scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), who works in a clinical setting with children living with pain and in a pain research program.
The submission was for the iPeer2Peer Program, which won Top Established Innovation as well as a $5000 knowledge mobilization grant.
“In addition to providing consultation on creative and effective knowledge dissemination, SKIP has also really impacted how best to position my work in peer support,” Sara says. “I have been able to approach potential partnerships with more flexibility and this has allowed my work to grow.”
The iPeer2Peer Program, developed by the iOUCH research team at SickKids, is a self-management tool that matches teenagers with chronic disease with youth mentors who have already learned to manage their disease.
“The most valuable piece for me from the Call for Innovations would be pushing me to think outside of the box with respect to knowledge dissemination and mobilization,” she says. “SKIP has really helped me to move beyond traditional academic knowledge dissemination.”
Through working formally with SKIP, as well as watching from afar as a researcher, Sara has learned many tips and tricks that she applies to her own work. For example, she now considers creating more engaging content like short video clips to share her research, versus only sharing academic papers. Broadening her understanding of knowledge mobilization has also allowed her to have more conversations with clinical and research teams about engaging with youth beyond just the iPeer2Peer program.
“I don’t just think about the traditional aspects of a program, like grant writing or procuring funding. I have discussions with other organizations and healthcare professionals about how to build out or incorporate peer support in a way that is accessible to youth. I believe this has already led to some meaningful changes.”
Sara knows that the more we understand pain, the better we can support youth – but we need to share that understanding with as many people as we can. She thanks SKIP for helping her out of her comfort zone, and we thank her for her connection and collaboration to better support youth and their families.