Targeting meaningful research impact through knowledge mobilization
Blessing Ojembe received a Gilbrea Travel Award to facilitate her travel to the CAG 2022 conference. She shares a reflective blog about her experience at the conference!
The Canadian Association on Gerontology (CAG) is a multi-disciplinary association in Canada comprising researchers, academics, policymakers, health practitioners and all individuals interested in the aging Canadian population and aging issues. The University of Regina hosted CAG’s 51st Annual Scientific and Educational Meeting (2022).
The opening keynote lecture this year was given by Moriah Ellen, which she titled, “A bridge over troubled waters: Can we really bridge the research-policy gap in aging and health?” Ellen talked about the need for effective translation of research on aging and health into policy. This discourse is very timely, considering the plethora of evidence which has pointed out the lack of application of most research findings, which mostly ends at just the publication stage, even though access to academic papers is not readily available for public consumption. Lack of access to research data encumbers the applicability of research recommendations in practice and policy. In order to achieve practical knowledge mobilization, Ellen proposed an approach to knowledge mobilization within the field of aging and health to inform evidence-informed policymaking. She mentioned some elements that must be considered to achieve effective knowledge mobilization. For example, she outlined the context/climate for research use, the significance of linkages and exchange efforts, pull-push efforts etc.
In a follow-up to this issue, several sessions focused on the need for aging researchers to prioritize knowledge mobilization. Sessions that focused on areas such as social isolation and loneliness during COVID-19 were very important to me, as it is my specific area of research interest. One of the sessions provided a broader knowledge of the experiences of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 period. It was interesting to see how people’s experiences during COVID-19 are connected despite their different social locations. One thing that stood out about the conference was the planning, organization and rich content of research that were presented during various sessions of the conference. The sessions were very informative and covered an impressive range of issues, which undoubtedly, highlights the importance of multidimensionality of research and practices in aging.
CAG 2022 was also an excellent opportunity for me to present two papers from my Ph.D. thesis and exchange ideas with other researchers on the issue of aging and loneliness. It was also a great opportunity to meet with other students, faculty members and professionals interested in aging research from within and outside Canada.
My sincere gratitude goes to the Gilbrea Centre for Studies in Aging, McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA) and the Department of Health, Aging and Society for supporting my work and trip to Regina, Saskatchewan, to attend this year’s conference and disseminate the findings of my research. I look forward to attending CAG 2023.