Knowledge to Policy Center established in Lebanon based on McMaster Health Forum model

Forum Director John Lavis speaks at official launch event

The work of the McMaster Health Forum, a leading hub for improving health outcomes through collective problem solving, has been used as a model for a new forum established by the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) at the American University of Beirut with funding from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). The Knowledge to Policy (K2P) Center aims to strengthen and influence policy through the promotion of evidence-informed decision making at the national and the regional level.

“Much like with the Australian National Trauma Research Institute Forum, we’ve helped Dr. Fadi El-Jardali to model some of the new center activities and approaches based on our work and experience,” said Forum Director John Lavis.

K2P will follow many of the same approaches and offer similar services as the McMaster Health Forum in order to influence policy agendas and effect evidence-based actions. These include:

  • rapid-response service: providing responses to urgent requests from policymakers and stakeholders by delivering optimally packaged, relevant and high-quality evidence for decision-making in short periods of time;
  • stakeholder engagement: consulting with key stakeholders to define a challenge through a detailed understanding of its dimensions and key perspectives;
  • issue briefings: identifying and synthesizing from publications and stakeholder consultation the information needed to prepare an informative but concise briefing document;
  • policy dialogues: convening stakeholders and harnessing their expertise and perspectives to determine how the challenge can be addressed;
  • dialogue summary and dissemination: preparing a summary of the dialogue and conducting post-event briefings with key organizations and individuals on how to bring about change; and,
  • student opportunities: engage and acquaint students with pressing health system priorities, exercise their skills and facilitate networking opportunities.

“This is a very exciting initiative and we’re looking forward to continuing our collaboration with Dr. El-Jardali and K2P,” said Lavis. “We’re celebrating our fifth anniversary as a leading hub for improving health outcomes and are thrilled to share our expertise and insights, and look forward to learning from the K2P Center in return.”

The K2P launch event included a short talk by Forum Director John Lavis, following which Lebanon’s Director General for Public Health (the top ranking public servant in the Ministry of Public Health) Mr. Walid Ammar provided a keynote speech. The event closed with a moderated panel discussion featuring key policy makers and stakeholders.

K2P has affiliations and partnerships with

  • McMaster Health Forum, McMaster University, Canada
  • Center for Systematic Reviews on Health Policy and Systems Research (SPARK), American University of Beirut, Lebanon
  • WHO Evidence Informed Policy Network (EVIPNet), Switzerland

In addition to his role as Director of K2P, Fadi El-Jardali is an investigator with the McMaster Health Forum’s Impact Lab.