Improving the Research Skills of Front-Line Health Protection Staff: A North West Pilot
PHE ePoster Library. Cleary P. Apr 10, 2019; 257475; 15307
Paul Cleary
Paul Cleary
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Abstract Introduction
Front-line health protection staff are uniquely placed to identify evidence gaps and undertake research to address them. However, they often lack research skills, confidence, and opportunities. To facilitate staff development and improve the evidence base, PHE North West piloted a training course.BackgroundSORT-IT (Structured Operational Research and Training IniTiative) is a successful global partnership-based initiative, with WHO-endorsement, working mainly in low and middle income countries that supports organisations and individuals to:conduct operational research based on their own priorities and data;build sustainable operational research capacity; anduse operational research to make evidence-informed improvements to programme implementation and policy.
Using lectures, plenary sessions and one-to-one mentoring, SORT-IT gives participants practical skills and supervised experience. The PHE course is delivered over two one-week residential modules, seven months apart. It guides participants through protocol development, ethics, data collection, analysis and paper writing, with the goal of submitting a paper to a peer-reviewed journal within four weeks of course completion.SORT-IT tracks whether:papers are published;the research had any impact on policy and practice; andthe participants have undertaken and published subsequent research.EvaluationThe first module involved six participants and six facilitators. All participants developed a research protocol within the week. The module was evaluated incredibly positively, with all participants indicating that they believed operational research could contribute to the public health evidence base, and that they had found that the module environment was crucial to addressing gaps in their approach to research. The module had a mean evaluation score of 92% across all domains. Final outcomes following the second module will be presented.PlansPHE NW aims to repeat SORT-IT in 2019, training trainers, and developing capacity to deliver research training to front-line public health staff across the country. Funding PHE NW funded the course.
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