The Institute for Work & Health has been involved in establishing “educationally influential (EI)” networks for several different health related disciplines across Ontario.These EI networks enable a two-way exchange of information. IWH researchers gain practical knowledge and opinions from the EI networks while sharing pertinent, evidence-based findings with the members who pass it along to their peers.
Currently we have networks with: kinesiologists (KIN), physiotherapists (PT), occupational therapists (OT), chiropractors (Chiro) and ergonomists (Ergo).
What are educationally influential networks?
EI networks consist of practitioners who are considered informal opinion leaders and mentors to their peers. EIs provide health care and other services to working people and injured workers. These professionals may practice in offices or hospital settings, or work within or closely with workplaces. They are involved in one or more of the following: treatment delivery, prevention of workplace injuries, return to work and disability prevention or management.
How did we develop our networks?
We developed partnerships with professional bodies that represent or regulate these disciplines. Our partners have helped us identify practitioners who are considered to be "educationally influential" (EI) or informal opinion leaders. To identify EI practitioners, we used a systematic process developed by Roland Hiss in which professionals nominate their peers. EIs have been invited to join the network to play an ongoing role as knowledge brokers for five years.
Why are EI networks important?
Many IWH research messages are relevant and useful to health practitioners on topics such as management of back pain, disability management and return to work. Equally important is that our network members have practice expertise and knowledge that helps improve our research and KTE activities. EI networks provide a sustainable KTE infrastructure for ongoing two-way interactions.