IMHA Knowledge Exchange, Research Ambassadors & User Engagement

"Knowledge Users" (i.e. patients, professionals, advocates, and vulnerable population representatives) are key aspects to IMHAs successful research agenda, designed to respond to relevant health needs of Canadians. IMHA has integrated "Knowledge users" into key strategic planning initiatives, core committees and advisory meetings along with peer review or research proposals and awards. Knowledge users play a critical role to ensure plain language is used to describe research outcomes, making the results of research accessible to as many Canadians as possible.

In 2003, IMHA created a Knowledge Exchange Task Force to create a relevant exchange of information between Knowledge Users and "Knowledge Makers" (i.e. researchers, research teams, health experts, etc). The result of that initial Knowledge Exchange Task Force was to create a group of Research Ambassadors to interface with the research agenda and give and receive clear messages on relevant topics with IMHA researchers. In addition, Partners in Knowledge Translation, made up of representatives from relevant organizations, industry, patient advocates, research ambassadors, policy makers and clinicians, was formed to discuss and oversee initiatives in knowledge exchange.

Key Responsibilities of Research Ambassadors Include:

  1. Sharing knowledge about research with the public with sensitivity to diverse populations;
  2. Contributing new perspectives and opinions, and hearing differing points of view with respect;
  3. Attending two meetings per year to share news of group and stakeholder activities;
  4. Reviewing documents and contributing to discussions regarding new initiatives or projects of the Institute when it requests patient or patient advocate participation and engagement.


Research Ambassadors deliver presentations, participate in Cochrane reviews, publish health research messages, conduct various Cafe Scientifique workshops on health topics, participate in Institute Strategic Planning forums and advise on patient engagement to CIHR.

Research Ambassadors also take key messages about IMHA to their representative groups, providing ideas and feedback on potential new initiatives and participate in the College of Reviewers. Some are conducting their own research initiatives or are creating research proposals. All advocate for the needs of the Knowledge User as they navigate their health issues.

Recently, IMHA undertook a major patient engagement initiative with the UK-based James Lind Alliance to complete a Priority Setting Partnership for Adult Fibromyalgia.

Other CIHR Knowledge Translation Resources

On behalf of CIHR, each institute encourages its stakeholders to engage in Knowledge Translation and Patient Engagement. More information about CIHR's work in these areas can be found at the following websites:

To help us more fully and appropriately engage the Patient-Public Sector, we welcome your feedback including suggestions for relevant links to other websites. For additional information about the Research Ambassador committee, please contact us at:

Associated links

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