Knowledge exchange

Two concepts underpin the work of the Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet and the Alcohol and Other Drugs Knowledge Centre. The first is to support the workforce and assist in knowledge-informed decision-making, whereby practitioners and policy-makers have access to the best available research and other information. The second is that of knowledge exchange (KE), which involves making research and other information available in a form that has immediate, practical utility. Knowledge exchange can help to enhance the critical health literacy of all those working in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector. The cornerstones of effective KE are that the information should be timely, accessible and relevant.

Knowledge synthesis, a central aspect of KE, converts a wide range of health research and other relevant information into forms that are meaningful to people working at improving the health of Indigenous people. The Knowledge Centre’s narrative reviews provide a synthesis of information on specific topics, bringing together the relevant evidence, essential contextual information, pertinent policies and a discussion of best-practice in prevention and management of alcohol and other drug issues for Aboriginal and Torres Islander people. Plain language versions of these reviews are also available to ensure the information is accessible to a broad audience.

Information technologies (IT) are vital to successful knowledge exchange activities; IT enhances information sharing. Visual approaches to knowledge exchange can be particularly effective. For example infographics are a popular medium for knowledge exchange for a number of important reasons: they capture attention, retain attention, enhance the capacity to memorise information, enhance critical thinking and actually stimulate cognitive activity. Our emerging suite of visual knowledge exchange tools developed as part of the Digital Evolution Strategy include eBooks, animated infographics, short films, and podcasts.

The Knowledge Centre’s KE draws heavily on the staff’s understanding of the various sources of information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing, and their skills and experience in identifying and collecting these materials.

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