CIHR Knowledge Translation Award Winner
According to Dr. Geoffrey Fong, the most difficult aspect of knowledge translation (KT) is just convincing people to pay attention to research findings. But since he started the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project (ITC), Dr. Fong hasn't just captured policy makers' attention – his evaluation findings have been helping set the global agenda on tobacco regulation.
Dr. Fong and his team have rigorously evaluated the impact of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the first-ever health treaty, which has been ratified by 174 countries. Dr. Fong created the ITC Project before the FCTC was founded in 2003, realizing that the treaty provided a unique opportunity to measure the impact of graphic warning labels, smoke-free laws, and other policies designed to curb tobacco use around the world. Through large surveys repeated over time, Dr. Fong and his colleagues are evaluating tobacco control policies in 23 countries inhabited by over half of the world's population and as diverse as China, Bangladesh, Canada, Brazil, Bhutan and Germany. Their cross-country studies have led to stronger tobacco control policies throughout the world.
But there is more work to be done. In sub-Saharan Africa, where tobacco use is still low, there is an opportunity to see if policies that have been successful in other countries can "inoculate" the population against this deadly addiction. And in the United States, the ITC Project is playing a prominent role in measuring the impact of the Food and Drug Administration's new regulatory authority over tobacco products.
Dr. Fong credits Canada's leadership in knowledge translation for helping him and his team put their research findings into action, saying "I feel proud to be a part of a world-leading effort by CIHR to get science from health researchers to practice and policy."
The CIHR Knowledge Translation Award honours and supports the exemplary knowledge translation efforts and activities of an exceptional individual, team or organization that has made an outstanding contribution to increasing the application of research findings, improving the health of Canadians, health services and products, or strengthening the health-care system.