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Document Type

Article

Abstract

Community engagement is central to a research process called integrated knowledge translation (IKT), which is characterized by the co-creation of knowledge among various partners. Families First Edmonton used an IKT partnership model to address poverty issues over a 15-year period. The purpose of this study is to describe barriers to the sustainability of this IKT partnership and how these were overcome. We generated interview data with 23 IKT partners who worked with or within municipal and provincial governments; we used qualitative description to frame our data and conventional qualitative content analysis for data analysis. Partners described the ways in which election cycles threatened the sustainability of the IKT partnership and posed barriers to their work. Three barriers were identified by partners: 1) narrowed windows of opportunity, 2) muddled directions and priorities, and 3) changed project partners. According to partners who collaborated across academic, government, and community settings, relationships offset these barriers through various mechanisms, including long-term relationship building, ongoing contact, and a recognition that while success may be subtle, resulting ripple effects can have important impacts over time. Relationships represent an important investment for partners who continue to work in narrow time frames imposed by election cycles. Partners indicated that relationships are a key strategy to ensuring sustainability of the IKT partnership and can have a farther-reaching impact than policy change.

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