“Now What?” Perceived Factors Influencing Knowledge Exchange in School Health Research
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Increasing the uptake of school health research into practice is pivotal for improving adolescent health. COMPASS, a longitudinal study of Ontario and Alberta secondary students and schools (2012-2021), used a knowledge exchange process to enhance schools' use of research findings. Schools received annual summaries of their students' health behaviors and suggestions for action and were linked with a knowledge broker to support them in making changes to improve student health. The current research explored factors that influenced COMPASS knowledge exchange activities. Semistructured interviews were conducted with researchers (n = 13), school staff (n = 13), and public health stakeholders (n = 4). Interestingly, knowledge users focused more on factors that influenced their use of COMPASS findings than factors that influenced knowledge brokering. The factors identified by participants are similar to those that influence implementation of school health interventions (e.g., importance of school champions, competing priorities, inadequate resources). While knowledge exchange offers a way to reduce the gap between research and practice, schools that need the most support may not engage in knowledge exchange; hence, we must consider how to increase engagement of these schools to ultimately improve student health.
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