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Public Health Capacity and Knowledge Management in Atlantic Canada

PHAC Atlantic’s Public Health Capacity and Knowledge Management Division (PHCKM) is mandated to enhance the capacity of the Agency and its stakeholders by implementing federal initiatives at the regional level and by developing strong partnerships.

Through evaluation, surveillance, field services coordination and knowledge translation, PHCKM promotes skills enhancement, facilitates knowledge exchange, supports policy and program objectives, and adapts methods for translating evidence into practice.

Evaluation

At PHAC, evaluation is the presentation of findings on program strengths and weaknesses, along with recommendations for action. Evaluation reports provide management with information on the relevance and effectiveness of Agency programs — with the ultimate goal of improving program delivery by the Agency.

Atlantic evaluation staff provide regional input into evaluation and performance measurement strategies, including:

  • identifying and developing monitoring and evaluation tools,
  • collecting and analysing evaluation and performance measurement data to support program management and decision making, and
  • building evaluation capacity both internally and externally.

Surveillance

Public health surveillance is the routine collection, integration, analysis, and interpretation of data to produce a timely portrait of the health status of a population.

Surveillance staff liaise with stakeholders, such as national headquarters, non-governmental organizations and provincial partners, to collaborate on surveillance activities. These activities may include the development of surveillance indicators, data standards or new data sources.

Surveillance staff also synthesize and interpret surveillance data to contribute to informed decisions at the community level and work to resolve surveillance gaps in collaboration with regional partners.

Field Services Coordination

Field services refer to PHAC staff based mostly in non-PHAC organizations and comprise several different program areas:

  • The Canadian Public Health Service (CPHS) Program strives to enhance Canada's public health capacity by placing qualified public health officers in multiple jurisdictions across Canada to respond to both routine and emerging public health needs.
  • The Canadian Field Epidemiology Program (CFEP) aims to strengthen public health practice in Canada through practical training in applied epidemiology.
  • HIV Field Surveillance Officers seek to improve HIV/AIDS surveillance in Canada by providing assistance through a Field Surveillance Officer network to provinces and territories for system development, implementation and support of surveillance activities.
  • The Laboratory Liaison Technical Officer Program strengthens lab capacity for pandemic influenza preparedness and communicable disease testing and surveillance by creating a network of federally funded, Public Health Laboratory-located positions.
  • The Office of Quarantine Services prevents the introduction and spread of communicable disease for travellers both entering and exiting Canada through enforcement of the Quarantine Act. Quarantine Services plays a key role in response to public health emergencies of international concern and border protection.

The PHAC Atlantic Regional Coordinator is responsible the CPHS program in the Atlantic region but also links with other field services to:

  • enhance linkages among programs and public health partners;
  • identify public health gaps, and
  • identify opportunities for CPHS and CFEP field services staff to assist in building public health capacity, such as in outbreak situations when surge capacity is required.

Knowledge Translation

Knowledge translation staff act as knowledge brokers by facilitating the uptake and use of knowledge internally and externally to address evidence gaps and inform research plans.

Knowledge translators also support evidence-informed practice by acting as intermediaries between knowledge producers and knowledge adapters. They support practice-based learning by compiling, synthesizing and sharing the findings of critically assessed and evaluated interventions.

More Information

For further information, please contact us at ph-sp-info@phac-aspc.gc.ca or at 902-426-2700.