TRP Up-Close: Spotlight on Knowledge Translation Activities by TRP Students

By Christopher A. Klinger, Ph.D. and Raza M. Mirza, Ph.D. (TRP Translators) for the TRP Team

Knowledge translation, defined as “a dynamic and iterative process that includes synthesis, dissemination, exchange and ethically-sound application of knowledge to improve the health of Canadians, provide more effective health services and products and strengthen the health care system” by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is an integral part of getting ‘knowledge to action’.

A number of current (and former) TRP students are actively engaged in knowledge dissemination activities stemming from extra-curricular research/knowledge synthesis conducted in collaboration with TRP Translators.

Conference Presentations:

Supported by a conference grant from the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology’s (LMP) Translational Research Program (TRP), current TRP student Neerjah Skantharajah will deliver an oral presentation on grief and bereavement in end-of-life care at the Hospice Palliative Care Ontario (HPCO) virtual conference in April. Further TRP contributors are current students Ayeshah Haque and Carly Thrower, and recent graduates Ankita Ankita and Andrew Wan. The work stems from their involvement with an extra-curricular scoping review group linked to the Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada’s (QELCCC) Research and Knowledge Translation Committee. Following Arksey and O’Malley’s (2005) 5-step framework, key electronic healthcare and social sciences databases (e.g., CINAHL, ProQuest Sociological Abstracts, PsycINFO, MEDLINE) alongside grey literature sources were searched and screened against inclusion and exclusion criteria. A thematic content analysis (Anderson, 2007) was used to identify key themes. Twenty-nine articles/reports met inclusion criteria, with three central themes emerging: (1) mediators of grief, (2) grief experiences, and (3) types of grief. (Informal) caregivers play an important role in the hospice palliative care setting; their psychosocial outcomes, both negative and positive, can be affected by various mediators of grief, such as caregiver burden, disease type, etc. Understanding these nuances will inform and advance practice, policy, and research. A second oral on caregiving at the end of life will be presented by recent graduate Andrew Wan with further graduated collaborators being Ankita Ankita and Zoey Li. A poster on grief and bereavement interventions (also concerning the current COVID-19 pandemic) will be presented by current student Carly Thrower with collaborators being current students Ayeshah Haque and Neerjah Skantharajah. Recent graduates Andrew Wan and Ankita are also involved.

Recent Publications:

The first scoping review from the caregiving group has just been published in the Journal of Palliative Care (JPC) as an Online First, with recent graduates Andrew Wan, Ankita, and Zoey Li as collaborators. It identified physical health challenges, psycho-socio-spiritual health challenges, financial issues, and health system issues for informal caregivers at the end of life. Their gender was also found to be an important contributor to the differing effects of providing support.

Current TRP student Sabrin Salim has been a contributor to a paper on adenoma detection rates (ADRs) through a multi-site collaboration. It is published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences. Fellow participation in colonoscopy improved overall ADRs and advanced adenoma detection rates (AADRs), and female attending physicians were associated with improved ADR. The year of fellowship training did not impact overall ADR or AADR.

Another paper on advance care planning in dementia – involving current TRP student Manthagini Kumaresh – has just been accepted for publication in the Canadian Journal on Aging. The Online First should be available shortly.

Congratulations to all TRP students on their achievements – we are very much looking forward to many more projects enhancing the patient experience through the dissemination of innovation in healthcare.

Christopher A. Klinger, Ph.D. is a Sessional Instructor I with the Translational Research Program (TRP) at the University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, and Research Scientist with Pallium Canada – a national non-profit evidence-based organization focused on building professional and community capacity to help improve the quality and accessibility of palliative care. His research interests are in health systems and policy, with a focus on hospice palliative/end-of-life care. He also chairs the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly’s (NICE) End-of-Life Issues Theme Team, a knowledge transfer network dedicated to enhancing the care of older adults both in Canada and abroad, and co-chairs the Quality End-of-Life Care Coalition of Canada’s (QELCCC) Research and Knowledge Translation Committee, a group of national stakeholder organizations concerned about quality end-of-life care. Furthermore, Christopher is a frequent presenter at aging, hospice palliative care, and public administration conferences.

Raza M. Mirza, Ph.D. is a Sessional Instructor I with the Translational Research Program (TRP) at the University of Toronto’s Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, and Network Manager of the National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly, a knowledge transfer network dedicated to enhancing the care of older adults both in Canada and abroad. He received his MSc and doctoral degrees from the Graduate Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toronto’s Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy. His areas of expertise and teaching interest include research methods, medical decision-making, the socio-behavioral determinants of health in persons aging with a chronic illness, health policy, and factors influencing late-life social, mental, and physical well-being. He has been an invited speaker at national and international gerontology and geriatrics conferences, workshops, and symposiums, and has consulted with various levels of government on diverse issues related to an aging population.