Background Public Health Ontario (PHO) is a provincial agency in Canada with a mandate to provide scientific and technical guidance to the field of public health practice. Clients include the provincial government and 36 public health units (PHUs) providing service to 14.2 million residents across over 9 00 000 square kilometres. Injury represents the leading cause of death and disability in 0–44 year olds in Canada, and PHO aims to support evidence-based injury prevention practice.
Objective To complete a situational assessment of injury prevention practice across the provincial public health system to identify capacity building priorities for injury prevention knowledge and practices on a population level. The results of this study will inform a work plan in supporting effective public health practice across the system.
Methods Data collection included a review of existing provincial standards and guidelines, surveillance data, evidence briefs and other knowledge exchange outputs, as well as information gathering through key informant interviews and site visits. Key informants included a cross-section of injury prevention practitioners, researchers and government staff (n=20), and site visits to 5 PHUs reflecting different population size and geographic characteristics. Site visits included interviews with front-line injury prevention practitioners, program managers, and the medical officer of health. A SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) will be used to synthesize and present the results of the situational assessment.
Findings The situational assessment revealed many opportunities for collaboration and support for the PHUs. Common challenges for successful injury prevention practice included data access, evidence synthesis, and capacity to implement evidence-based practice.
Conclusion and policy implications This project has significant implications for the practice of injury prevention in the province of Ontario, Canada. The results of this work will inform a work plan at PHO for injury prevention support, collaboration, and capacity building with the 36 PHUs across the province.
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