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Developing an Inventory of Ontario Public Health Activities and Peer Expertise, Public Health Ontario

Public health professionals frequently express the need to easily identify who is doing what in public health and to find colleagues with expertise in specific content areas.  A database of this information has the potential to strengthen public health activities by facilitating knowledge exchange and collaboration.

Public Health Ontario (PHO) – the new operating name for the Ontario Agency for Health Promotion and Protection, the Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA) and the Association of Local Public Health Agencies (alPHa) are working together to address this need by collectively designing an effective, efficient, and useful Inventory of Ontario Public Health Activities and Peer Expertise (‘The Inventory’).  The Inventory is one component of PHO’s new web-based knowledge exchange strategy.

The Inventory is being designed by public health, for public health through an extensive consultation process involving key informant interviews, a Project Reference Group and ongoing input from the field.  

Project Initiation Phase (May 2011 – June 2011)

  • Conduct environmental scans and key informant interviews
  • Establish Project Reference Group
  • Develop preliminary framework, categories, definitions and criteria for Inventory
  • Draft data collection, consultation and communication plans

Data Collection Phase (July 2011 – September 2011)

  • Pilot data collection in 3 health units
  • Revise data collection tools and processes
  • Collect data from all Ontario health units by September 9th, 2011

Analysis and Recommendations Phase (September 2011 – October 2011)

  • Identify key themes and trends among activities collected
  • Recommend Inventory features and functionality
  • Submit data and final report for dissemination

Province-wide data collection will occur August-September 2011.  By optimizing the balance between collecting useful data vs. minimizing the burden of data collection, entering information into the Inventory will take 15 minutes or less!

Ultimately, The Inventory will be integrated into PHO’s web-based Portal for Public Health, allowing practitioners easy access to search for and / or update Inventory content.  OPHA and alPHa will recommend platform features and functions such as search parameters and automated communications.  All work by OPHA and alPHa is expected to be completed by October 2011.

For more information about The Inventory, contact Dayna Albert at or Linda Stewart at  For updates on PHO’s new initiatives to support public health research, education and knowledge exchange subscribe to the monthly Exchange Newsletter at