Building A Community of Practice through Online Knowledge Translation: Lessons from the Listening to One Another to Grow Strong (LTOA) Program

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has required a shift in the way global health research is conducted, notably in the operation of community-based, participatory research. The Listening to One Another to Grow Strong (LTOA) program is a culturally adapted, community-based, mental health promotion program for Indigenous youth and their families. Seeing as the LTOA program could not be implemented due to the ongoing pandemic, we adjusted by shifting attention to knowledge translation and mobilizing available resources to strengthen and develop our community of practice. Within the program, we have taken multiple initiatives to continuously engage and exchange with community partners including, further developing our social media accounts (Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter), creating videos introducing LTOA and its community partners, and developing a podcast to connect with community partners and share their stories, knowledge and expertise. Additionally, the LTOA team partnered with the Institute for Human Development and Well-being (IHDW) to create a community organization-oriented toolkit that seeks to enhance connection within communities through the use of digital technologies. The results of all these knowledge translation efforts allowed the team to: (1) engage with similar research projects across Canada; (2)  exchange and learn from well-established organizations that also promote the mental health of Indigenous youth; and (3) foster new connections with new communities, individuals and organizations across Canada and internationally. This engagement through these networks has allowed the team to reach a wider group of people with common concerns and interests, and to exchange with them about best practices for mental health promotion among Indigenous youth. Strengthening these networks of knowledge translation and exchange has also positively impacted the LTOA program’s community of practice which aims to advance and create knowledge in partnership with a diversity of people involved in Indigenous youth mental health promotion.  

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McGill University is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which peoples of the world now gather. Today, this meeting place is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.

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