Bridging the Gap between Science and Policy in Agri-Food Public Health: A Two-Day Workshop and Training Session

About the Workshop and Training Session

A two-day workshop and training session called “Bridging the Gap between Science and Policy in Agri-Food Public Health” was held on March 6th and 7th, 2013, in Guelph, ON. The purpose of the workshop was to bring together diverse agri-food public health professionals working at the science and policy interface in Canada to increase awareness and capacity for evidence-informed policy-making in this sector. The workshop was held as part of a multidisciplinary grant led by Drs. Andrijana Rajic, Scott McEwen and Ian Young from the University of Guelph. It was funded under the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food (OMAF) and the Ministry of Rural Affairs (MRA) and University of Guelph Partnership’s “KTT Funding Program”.

Day 1 of the workshop included keynote presentations from four science-to-policy champions from the agri-food and health sectors:

·         Dr. Primal Silva, Executive Director, Animal Health Science Directorate, CFIA

·         Dr. Wayne Lees, Chief Veterinary Officer, Manitoba

·         Dr. David Mowat, Medical Officer of Health, Peel Region

·         Dr. John Lavis, Professor, McMaster University

The first three speakers discussed their experiences, successes, and challenges of  using evidence to inform policy in government at the federal, provincial and local levels, respectively. In the afternoon, Dr. Lavis presented on evidence-informed policy-making experiences from the health care sector, lessons learned, and key implications for agri-food public health. The afternoon session also included an interactive round-table discussion with all participants. 

Day 2 focused on interactive training in science-to-policy methods and strategies for the agri-food public health sector. Through interactive lectures and group exercises, participants learned how to synthesize, disseminate, and exchange scientific evidence to increase its uptake and use to inform policy- and decision-making in this sector. Training material was based on the newly developed handbook: “Knowledge Synthesis, Transfer and Exchange in Agri-Food Public Health: A Handbook for Science-to-Policy Professionals”. 

Workshop participants included policy and research analysts, decision-makers, practitioners, graduate students, and researchers from across Canada and the United States. In total, 75 and 42 participants attended Day 1 and Day 2 of the workshop, respectively.

Read the Report

The summary report focuses on Day 1 on the workshop (Mar. 6) and contains brief summaries of the speaker presentations, question-and-answer session, and interactive round-table discussion. The workshop final agenda, participant evaluation summary, and list of all participants are included in the report appendices.  Click here to read the report or click here to download and save a pdf version of the report. 

More Resources from the Workshop

Click here to access the presentations from the training session.