The Knowledge Application Program (KAP)
The KAP's goal is to promote the implementation of proven or promising interventions in view of improving the mental health of college students. As the diagram below illustrates, the process involves three major steps:
- acquiring knowledge and assessing the environment;
- developing an action plan;
- implementing the action plan.
The KAP's strategy is inspired by the PARiHS model (Promoting Action on Research Implementation in Health Services). This model's perspective focuses on dialogue and active knowledge sharing between researchers and users (Kitson et al., 1998).
This strategy's success rests on three major components: scientific evidence, facilitation and context.
The KAP consists of several elements:
Content of scientific knowledge. Six sessions will focus on disseminating relevant scientific knowledge. The content for each one is summarized in the table below:
|Knowledge Application Program (KAP)
Presentation of Transition Cégep project.
Youth mental health portrait.
Mental health and related concepts.
Health promotion and the Ottawa Charter.
Promotion and prevention in mental health.
Promotion and prevention in mental health within colleges/universities.
Efficiency criteria and effective practices in mental health promotion.
Mental health and academic success when there is social inequality.
Youth and asking for help.
Youth support resources.
Quality of primary mental health care and services: presentation of the Cible Qualité project and Wagner's Chronic Care Model.
Assessment and Action Plan.
- A planning and implementation process. The process begins with an environment evaluation to identify strengths and weaknesses in terms of resources, surroundings and activities already in place. Next, an action plan is prepared based both on the environment assessment and scientific knowledge regarding interventions to improve student mental health. The action plan must include the intervention strategies selected, motivations for these choices, resources and tools necessary, approaches to take, a realistic timetable and budget for work to be implemented, task distribution, and indicators to assess the success of intervention implementations. In the interest of efficiency, the final action plan should include a set of interventions focusing, not only on the student (skill enhancement), but also on the different types of environments (ecological model). Issues of social inequality and transitions specific to this period of life should also be considered.
- A dedicated work group is created in each college. It includes five to twelve people eager to improve student mental health interventions. The group must include at least one service provider for students, a professor, a student and a CSSS professional who provides services to the college. Student integration is considered an essential part of implementing mental health promotion interventions in schools. One group member is responsible for the group, manages meetings and must ensure the process is completed. Each college will coordinate the approach and is responsible for organizing its work group based on available resources and the specific dynamics of its environment. Although the approach is structured, it is not a prescriptive approach in its content: colleges ultimately decide which intervention to implement.
- A knowledge broker is responsible for transmitting the content appropriately and supporting the entire planning process, including the implementation phase.
Tools developed to support the entire process:
- Two environment evaluation questionnaires were developed from an assessment tool created by the INSPQ for the Healthy Schools projects geared towards elementary and high schools.
An action model promoting mental health in post-secondary schools was developed to quickly visualize the different dimensions to consider for improving student mental health: the five strategies set out in the Ottawa Charter, the five health determinant levels based on an ecological approach, and the transition to adulthood. It also integrates the planning process and expected outcomes, including improvement for both mental health and academic success. It looks like this:
- A detailed plan for each session includes the learning objectives, the session's progress (information transfer and discussion periods), its content, readings or exercises to complete between sessions (readings never exceed 10 pages) and the reference list the content was based on. This tool is intended for the knowledge broker who must know the information completely before the group meetings.
- For each session, a PowerPoint presentation was prepared for the knowledge broker's use during work group meetings.
- Finally, as a last tool, an action plan outline. This table is to be filled out and used as a reference by work group members with regards to factors that must be defined in their action plan.
The KAP is tested in six selected colleges based on their diversity in terms of number of students (2009) and geographic location.
- Collège Montmorency (Laval, 6391 students, urban)
- Collège Ahuntsic (Montréal, 7285 students, urban)
- Cégep de l'Outaouais (Gatineau, 4691 students, semi-urban)
- Cégep de Rimouski (2580 students, semi-urban)
- Cégep Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu (3174 students, semi-urban)
- Collège de Valleyfield (1994 students, semi-urban)
The assessment strategy is designed to measure the KAP's process and impact.
In terms of process, the initial question is whether or not the KAP was carried out as planned.
- Is there a difference between what was planned and what actually happened with respect to each program component?
- Did some content result in reluctance, or rather, significant enthusiasm?
- Was adequate time allotted to each sequence in the planning and implementation process?
- How do we assess the knowledge broker's contribution?
- Was the work group set up adequately?
- Did the group leader do a good job?
- Were students successfully integrated to the process?
In terms of impacts, we will ask ourselves to what extent the KAP contributed to the implementation of effective interventions designed to improve student mental health.
- Has it led to the development and implementation of an action plan?
- What types of interventions were favoured and do they meet the effectiveness criteria?
- What are the contextual and organizational factors that influenced the selected interventions (action plan) and their implementation?
This is just a sample of questions. The answers will improve the KAP and help better understand the most critical factors in this knowledge application process.