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Knowledge Exchange


Knowledge exchange (KE) is generally understood as the co-creation of situations, conditions, and ecologies that support a culture of shared learning through knowledge creation, translation, dissemination, uptake, and evaluation.

Knowledge is understood as a process that involves context, connection, interaction and reflection. Data, information and evidence serve as a catalyst for understanding and meaning-making and developing shared meaning. In this context, KE processes support deepening understanding and respect for different types and sources of evidence that inform practice including Indigenous knowledge, practice knowledge, client and family experience, and research knowledge.

At BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services, knowledge exchange supports the development of a KE infrastructure for strengthening the mental health and substance use system of services and supports. KE infrastructure is the tangible, tactile, tools, structures, scaffolding, etc. It is the space to do the work, and the people to move things forward.


Evidence-informed practices

Evidence-informed practices are those that reflect the deliberate and systematic use of the best available evidence, acquired through research and evaluation of practice.

This is combined with a distillation of the experience of experts where that evidence is not available, to inform clinical decision making, program development and policy creation.


Provincial Specialized Mental Health & Substance Use Networks

BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services (BCMHSUS) has been providing the stewardship and facilitation of the Provincial Specialized Mental Health & Substance Use Networks since 2007. The networks include the BC Substance Use Network. In a stewardship role, BCMHSUS has provided contextual, relational and motivational leadership to support the system of networks.

When working within a complex adaptive system, networks are important mechanisms to support collaboration, especially in the planning, design and delivery of health care across services, sectors and systems. Networks support over 125 members across BC ministries, health authorities, non-government organizations, professional groups, and research and academic organizations. The overall goal for the system of networks was to build knowledge exchange (KE) infrastructure to: 1) Support the implementation of evidence-informed practice across programs, and 2) Strengthen the mental health and substance use systems to better serve clients and families in BC.

The system of networks has a number of knowledge exchange functions, including to:

  • Act as a reference group for relevant research, regional and provincial planning initiatives and other projects
  • Identify gaps and resources, share information and leverage opportunities across the system of services and supports
  • Support and strengthen linkages / KE mechanisms within and across the system of services and supports
  • Make recommendations and support collaborative implementation as appropriate
  • Link to regional, provincial, national and international initiatives related to policy, practice and research
  • Collaboratively pursue funding opportunities for system priorities, where appropriate
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