Since its inception, the McMaster Health Forum has worked closely with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) on efforts to strengthen knowledge translation activities, resources and capacities for better public health and equity in the Americas, and to advance PAHO's Policy on Research for Health.
PAHO is a Regional Office for the World Health Organization, with more than 110 years of experience in working to improve the health and living standards of both developed and developing nations in the Americas. The fundamental purpose of PAHO is to promote and coordinate efforts of the countries in the region to combat disease, lengthen life and promote physical and mental health.
A Memorandum of Understanding between PAHO and McMaster University signed in October 2009 has fostered collaboration between the Forum, the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and PAHO, including the notable designation of the Forum as the WHO Collaborating Centre for Evidence-Informed Policy. For more information on the role and activities of the collaborating centre, click here.
Other initiatives resulting from the collaboration with PAHO include:
- organized an international dialogue about engaging civil society in supporting research use in health systems in November 2009, which was informed by an issue brief and took the form of a deliberative dialogue involving PAHO, select Member States, and key stakeholders;
- supported the preparation and implementation of WHO guidance documents with the involvement of PAHO staff (e.g., programmatic management of drug-resistant tuberculosis), which included conducting and assisting in the development of systematic reviews to inform guidance-development processes, supporting the use of GRADE and producing GRADE profiles (evidence profiles and balance sheets), and supporting the implementation of PAHO/WHO guidance documents;
- set up internships, practicums, workshops and similar skills-building activities in support of knowledge translation in public health for future leaders within PAHO (including Member States), providing training in producing systematic reviews and GRADE profiles, developing and implementing practice guidelines, and finding and using research evidence to support policymaking;
- supported and contributed towards institutional strengthening within PAHO Member States for better system-wide knowledge translation within strong national health research systems, which included, in particular, supporting the Evidence Informed Policy Network (EVIPNet) by developing institutional capacity-building resources and activities that will help EVIPNet country teams to be sustainable (which included making tools such as the SUPPORT tools and resources such as Health Systems Evidence available in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish, and conducting sub-regional workshops in Chile, Colombia, St. Lucia and Trinidad & Tobago);
- worked jointly towards the integration of Health Systems Evidence in PAHO’s Latin-American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME), thereby providing enhanced access to evidence to inform public health;
- participated and contributed towards advisory committees and strategic planning activities, which included hosting the 45th session of the Advisory Committee on Health Research (ACHR) of PAHO at the Forum in fall 2012;
- provide inputs and evaluations of proposals relevant to the plan of work.