Institute for Health Policy Launches Web Portal
Research Into Action (RIA), an initiative housed within The University of Texas School of Public Health's Institute for Health Policy, has launched KTExchange.org, a Web portal dedicated to the field of knowledge translation (KT), the process of translating research findings into usable advice for decision makers and practical recommendations for improving public health.
KTExchange.org offers anyone interested in KT - researchers, students, media, communicators, faculty, etc. - access to a wide variety of materials, including information on available funding, current work in the field, case studies, RSS feeds, a literature database, and a worldwide calendar of KT-related events. It also offers social networking, the only site of its kind to do so.
"KTExchange.org features databases of published and unpublished literature, funding sources, upcoming events, opportunities to network with colleagues and find new ways to collaborate, case studies and podcast material," said Nickalos Rocha, the RIA program manager. "The combination of searchable databases, social networking, and an extensive worldwide events calendar to stay informed is unique.
"This Web site is the result of months of hard work by everyone in the Institute for Health Policy," he added. "We spent a lot of time making sure that we could offer people a wide array of resources in a user-friendly format, and we're very proud of the final product."
The site offers free memberships to the portal, which enables those who join not only access to the extensive searchable databases and other features, but also the ability to load information about their work on the site. Colleagues down the hall or around the world have the opportunity to see what the latest trends in KT are through viewing these examples, and, if they wish, "friending" other members, a function based on the popular Facebook site.
"KTExchange.org was created to support the development of an active community of KT scholars and practitioners with social networking tools for building collaboration and for sharing best practices," said Stephen Linder, Ph.D., associate director of the Institute for Health Policy. "Researchers writing about knowledge translation or practitioners involved in actually doing translation will find the databases we've developed invaluable, and they can also use the site to build new connections with those who share their interests and experiences."
The site's development was funded by the ExxonMobil Foundation, the RIA's primary financial supporter. "We are very grateful to the ExxonMobil Foundation for its generous support. Without it, this Web portal couldn't have been completed, and people interested in KT still wouldn't have a central source online for their work," Linder said. "We're very proud to be the first organization to offer these tools to people, and will continue to strive to be on the cutting edge of KT in the future."
By Shannon Rasp, School of Public Health