Equipping health practitioners with skills and confidence for knowledge translation

22 February 2024

Allied Health – Translating Research into Practice (AH-TRIP) is an innovative Queensland initiative supporting knowledge translation into frontline health services. Associate Professor Ingrid Hickman explains how it all began with seed funding for a dietetics project she led.

“In 2016, we approached BDHP (Health Translation Queensland’s predecessor) for about $20,000 to support the expansion of a dietetics knowledge translation initiative I was running from the Princess Alexandra Hospital,” Associate Professor Hickman said.

“At that stage, we didn’t have the AH-TRIP initiative as we know it today. Our research was being recognised internationally, but our practice was not changing to incorporate the new knowledge locally.

“My request was to support me to develop the partnerships needed to build a pathway for research translation training in Queensland.

“We surveyed the health workforce and found practitioners needed more skills to confidently embed new knowledge into their practice.

“The BHDP funding enabled us to start providing workforce education and professional development sessions with contributions from Metro South Health, Metro North Health, Mater Health Services, the Queensland University of Technology and The University of Queensland.

“It funded a project officer to assist the scale-up and spread of the initiative, recruiting nutrition and dietetic departments from hospitals across the southeast of Brisbane.

“This upskilling created a ripple effect from the team to the unit, to the specialist department and eventually to improved practice and better outcomes for health consumers.

“Having a unifying common purpose – improving health outcomes for Queenslanders – galvanised our efforts.”

With the momentum gathered within nutrition and dietetics, the initiative expanded to include other allied health disciplines and adopted its current name AH-TRIP.

While AH-TRIP projects are allied health led, they are, by nature, multidisciplinary and embedded within the health services.

AH-TRIP is now a statewide initiative supporting knowledge translation, embedded in Queensland Health’s Allied Health Research Strategic Plan 2020-2029.

Queensland Health based researchers, clinicians, and university partners volunteer their time to help produce and deliver education and professional development resources. AH-TRIP now includes online training, project and implementation support, mentoring, networking and an annual Showcase recognising examples of impactful knowledge translation.

“Data collected between 2019 and 2021 shows 9 of Queensland’s 16 health service districts have adopted AH-TRIP, and almost 1,000 health practitioners were engaged in the program, with a quarter of these in rural or remote locations,” Associate Professor Hickman said.

“Participants reported high satisfaction levels across the different AH-TRIP components. We have seen the positive impact of AH-TRIP extend across individuals, the workforce and health services.

“Our next priority is to develop targeted strategies that encourage and support regional, rural and remote health practitioners to use AH-TRIP.”

For more information, see the AH-TRIP website.

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