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Table 6 CREST.BD governance and community partnerships

From: Improving care and wellness in bipolar disorder: origins, evolution and future directions of a collaborative knowledge exchange network

Governance CREST.BD has established itself based on its commitment to authentic engagement with community members. The CREST.BD ‘Community Advisory Group’ (CAG) consists of 8 members representing: people living with BD, BD health care providers or organisation representatives. The broad objective of the CAG is to provide advice and feedback on CREST.BD’s on-going research and KT activities.
  More specifically, the CAG:
  1. Act as a resource to CREST.BD in terms of planning, implementation, distribution and evaluation of research studies and KT;
  2. Helps to generate solutions to barriers within the research and KT initiatives.
  3. It has also played a key role in optimizing networking opportunities with the wider BD community;
  4. Function as a communications vehicle to the BD community on the work and plans of CREST.BD;
  5. Problem-solve barriers and solutions within the team’s research and KT initiatives.
  Although the CAG was provincially-focused and populated it is now being reconfigured for a national network. CREST.BD also established community structures at a provincial level that have been expanded to a national level. For example, the team maintains a Community Consultation Group of over 350 people living with BD, family member, supports and health care providers. The consultation group has been engaged with CREST.BD activities in a variety of ways, including, developing a new QoL scale, designing the team logo, designing and populating the team website and social media platforms, disseminating information about research and KT activities. In line with CBPR principles, the team’s relationship with the CCG is bi-directional; CCG members provide the team with insights, information and knowledge and CREST.BD offers the same in the form of regular newsletters, outreach, access to research findings and other KT.
Community partnerships In addition to working closely with community members, CREST.BD has been active in developing and maintaining partnerships and alliances with key stakeholder organizations. For example, CREST.BD has a successful partnership with CANMAT (www.canmat.org), an academic not-for-profit research organisation linking health care professionals from across Canada who have a special interest in mood and anxiety disorders. CANMAT, with its 15 year history, has powerful visibility and credibility to clinicians and policy-makers across Canada. Since CANMAT focuses more on biological research and treatments, it too can benefit from CREST.BD by demonstrating a broader commitment to holistic treatment via enhanced attention to psychosocial treatments. CANMAT also has significant operational experience in creating and disseminating multiple educational tools and events.
  More recently, CREST.BD has established a National Advisory Group (NAG) which has a wider remit (e.g., identification of strategic directions and new national-level partnerships) than the more project-focused CAG. The NAG has national and policy-level representation (e.g., Mental Health Commission of Canada, Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, Canadian Mental Health Association, the Mood Disorders Society of Canada.