CIHR Best Brains Exchange: The Atlantic Region Takes Action on STBBI Testing

The CIHR Best Brains Exchange (BBE) was held June 24th in Halifax, bringing together 40 leading regional and national STBBI public health officials, researchers and other stakeholders to talk about testing in the Atlantic region and to mobilize toward concrete actions on testing and linkage to care. It focused on the “Pan-Canadian Framework for Action: Reducing the Health Impact of Sexually Transmitted and Blood-borne Infections in Canada by 2030” and the development of STBBI policies, programs and actions aimed at reaching the undiagnosed.

This one-day event was facilitated by Dr. Jean Shoveller.  Presenters included Genevieve Tremblay, Drs. Todd Hatchette, John Kim, and Debbie Kelly, as well as Rick Galli, Ken English, and medical officers of health from the four Atlantic provinces.  More information on the background, presentation summaries, and recommended readings can be found on the BBE website.

The CIHR Best Brains Exchange program is designed to improve engagement between researchers, stakeholders and senior decision makers, and to help accelerate the translation and uptake of research evidence in decision-making. Four main objectives were established for this BBE:

  1. Increase understanding of the unique characteristics of STBBIs in the Atlantic region including potential barriers and innovative solutions to testing;
  2. Explore collaborative and interprovincial actions to help support increased access to testing, as a key pillar of the Pan-Canadian Framework for Action, in an effort to reach the undiagnosed and expedite access to treatment;
  3. Examine the potential utility of newer STBBI testing technologies and approaches for use in Atlantic Canada; and
  4. Determine potential interprovincial agreements for testing-related actions needed to help reduce the health impact of STBBIs in the Atlantic region.

The evaluation results were extremely positive.  More specifically:

  • More than three-quarters (78%– 83%) of participants agreed that each of the four main objectives were met;
  • The vast majority (88% – 95%) were satisfied with the various BBE components – i.e. The workshop overall; the expert presentations; the afternoon small group discussion; and the afternoon plenary session;
  • Almost all (93% – 98%) respondents were satisfied with the facilitation and individual presentations; 94% reported an interest in attending a similar event in the future; and
  • Everyone (100%) agreed that they gained new knowledge from the BBE that will be relevant to their future work, and that they fostered relationships/collaborations as a result of the BBE.

Stay tuned for information pertaining to additional outcomes from this successful event.

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