Kaelan manages the development and implementation of the Forum’s programs. He also leads the maintenance and ongoing content development of Health Systems Evidence (www.healthsystemsevidence.org), the world’s most comprehensive, free access point for high-quality evidence about how to strengthen or reform health systems. In addition, he helped in the development and now leads Health Systems Learning (www.healthsystemslearning.org), an online learning resource for health system policymakers and stakeholders who are committed to making evidence-informed decisions.
His research focuses on how to support the use of research evidence in health system policymaking, with a particular focus on both the evaluation of innovative mechanisms designed to increase the likelihood that research will be used to inform policy decisions, and on better understanding the influence that political factors have on these mechanisms and their use. He has also been involved in delivering workshops both internationally and in Canada to policymakers and stakeholders in order to support their efforts in finding and using research. He holds a B.H.Sc. from Western University, an M.Sc. from the London School of Economics (U.K.), and a PhD from McMaster University.
Deliberating about innovative efforts to engage citizens and patients in using evidence about optimal aging and driving system change
John Lavis is relied on by policymakers and stakeholders in Canada and a broad range of countries internationally to harness research evidence, citizen values and stakeholder insights to strengthen health and social systems and get the right programs, services and products to the people who need them.
He founded and continues to direct the McMaster Health Forum and has now launched Forum+ to expand the Forum’s work into social systems and supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. He is committed to helping policymakers and stakeholders to: 1) learn how to make decisions based on the best available research evidence; 2) find evidence through the Forum’s own products and the best available sources of pre-appraised, synthesized research evidence (including the Forum’s Health Systems Evidence and Social Systems Evidence and the Forum-supported and citizen-targeted McMaster Optimal Aging Portal); 3) spark action through stakeholder dialogues, citizen panels and more; 4) embed supports for evidence-informed decision-making, by institutionalizing promising and proven approaches; and 5) evaluate innovations in supporting evidence-informed decision-making.
He is co-chair of the World Health Organization (WHO)-sponsored Evidence-Informed Policy Network (EVIPNet) Global Steering Group, and a member of the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region’s Advisory Committee on Health Research. He holds an MD from Queen’s University, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and a PhD (in Health Policy) from Harvard University.
Citizens and patients interested in optimal aging are increasingly seeking out trustworthy, high-quality information that can answer questions they have about their own health, the health of their communities, and about their health system. While many existing initiatives seek to engage, inform and gather inputs from citizens and patients about aging, few (if any) have been developed to equip them with the knowledge and skills to find and use the best-available evidence, and to empower them with knowledge of the health system so that they can proactively seek opportunities to drive change. The McMaster Health Forum and its partners (the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging and the Labarge Optimal Aging Initiative) have developed a number of innovative approaches for engaging citizens and patients (and their families), supporting them to:
1) learn how the best-available evidence about optimal aging can be used to address their pressing questions, and about how their health system works, through citizen-focused capacity-building initiatives;
2) find evidence about the aging-related issues that matter most to them through the establishment of an online one-stop shop of pre-appraised research evidence and citizen-friendly evidence products (McMaster Optimal Aging Portal), and through the preparation of citizen briefs informed by the best-available evidence; and
3) spark insights about the opportunities for driving change in their health system through convening citizen panels.
This workshop brings together two researchers involved in designing, implementing and evaluating these approaches (Lavis, Moat) in order to take stock of what is being done and what is being learned about their usefulness and impacts. It also aims to engage a range of participants in structured deliberations about these approaches, in order to identify ways to strengthen them and scale up their use. Participants will include representatives of citizen and patient groups (and, when possible, engaged citizens and patients themselves), as well as the health professionals, policymakers and researchers involved in efforts to engage citizens and patients to support optimal aging.
The workshop will span 90 minutes, and be divided into two segments. In the first segment, presenters will spend 30 minutes sharing what is being done and what is being learned through innovative efforts that support citizens and patients to: 1) learn how the best-available evidence about aging can be used, and how the health system works (10 mins); 2) find the best-available evidence about aging (10 mins); and 3) spark insights about opportunities for system change (10 mins).
The second segment will consist of three 20 minute deliberations facilitated by the presenters that address these same groups of efforts. In each deliberation, participants will consider the innovative approaches presented and those they have used in order identify strengths, potential weaknesses, opportunities for improvement and anticipated threats associated efforts to equip citizens and patients (and their families) with knowledge and skills to find and use evidence, and to drive health system change. A summary of key themes and promising next steps will be prepared by workshop presenters and circulated to participants after the event.