OTRU Logo


Knowledge Exchange

The Ontario Tobacco Research Unit has a long standing, integrated program of knowledge exchange and translation that includes ongoing communications with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and other tobacco control stakeholders, development and dissemination of a variety of knowledge exchange/translation publications, data tools, and training opportunities, including webinars/seminars, our award winning online course, Tobacco and Public Health: From Theory to Practice.

Each of the areas of study in our annual research and evaluation work plans takes an “integrated knowledge translation” approach to knowledge exchange to ensure that findings are of optimal relevance to knowledge users and their communities, facilitating the translation of knowledge into action.

Stakeholder Engagement Activities

We actively engage stakeholders in refinement of study research questions and study design, development of data collection tools, data analysis and interpretation, and dissemination of findings. Knowledge translation to the broader tobacco control community occurs through interactive webinars and workshops, OTRU online resources and products and academic publication. OTRU’s Principal Investigators (PIs) and Project Leads also share their expertise with numerous provincial, national, and international advisory boards expert panels, and task groups.

Scientific Consulting

OTRU serves in an on-going rapid response and scientific consultation capacity for the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, providing data analysis, knowledge syntheses, and fact checking.

OTRU’s Knowledge Exchange Advisory Group

OTRU regularly meets with our provincial stakeholders and Tobacco Control Area Networks (TCANs) to discuss their information needs, share recent research and evaluation findings from OTRU, and gain input to our annual work planning process. OTRU also solicits knowledge needs from public health practitioners through surveys, and face to face meetings.

Knowledge Needs and Evaluation Support

OTRU responds to the knowledge needs, evaluation and research requests from Ontario’s Public Health Units (PHUs), Tobacco Control Area Networks (TCANs), and other tobacco Transfer Payment Agencies (TPAs), community partners, and other stakeholders working on tobacco-related projects in Ontario through our Knowledge Needs and Evaluation project.

Webinar Series

OTRU’s webinar series, held in collaboration with the Program Training and Consultation Centre, highlights research and evaluation findings, and is targeted at tobacco control stakeholders, the broader public health community and the research community.

Engagement of the Scientific Community

Our Principal Investigators, Project Leads and Research staff also engage the research community through conference presentations, expert panels, and publication in scientific journals and books.

OTRU Publications

OTRU evidence-based publications serve a variety of information needs:

  • OTRU Updates summarize highlights from recent research and evaluation findings.
  • Special Reports provide overviews and syntheses of research in special topic areas.
  • Strategy Monitoring Reports analyze the progress of the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy and document changes in the province’s tobacco control climate.
  • Newsletters provide information about current project activities, update communities on local tobacco use statistics and local tobacco control initiatives.

OTRU also supports information needs through an online library catalogue of over 10,000 records, Current Abstracts on Tobacco, a monthly listing of new research literature with an emphasis on Canadian material, and reading lists that offer an introduction to work on specific tobacco control topics.

Online Tools

OTRU’s online tools help researchers, students, and the tobacco control community to find tobacco related indicators, sources of survey data, and commonly used survey questions.

The Tobacco Informatics Monitoring System (TIMS) gives easy access to 100’s of key tobacco control indicators related to prevention, protection, and cessation.

Chatterbox is an online glossary of cigarette packaging that explores the culturally informed meanings, or connotations, of the main physical, textual, and visual aspects of cigarette packs.

The Directory of Public Use Data on Tobacco Use provides a comprehensive list of public use survey data on smoking and tobacco use and can help researchers and students in locating high quality Canadian data.

Database of Questionnaire Items is an accessible database of over 1,000 Canadian tobacco related survey questions. The database contains questions gathered from over 50 national, provincial and local population based surveys.

The Tobacco Retail Legislation Database includes descriptions of the regulations, classification of the type of regulations, and identification of the jurisdictions.

Knowledge Transfer through Training

OTRU’s online course, Tobacco and Public Health: From Theory to Practice, provides the opportunity for self-study in major areas of tobacco control: cessation, protection, prevention, and evaluation.