The Human Capital of Knowledge Brokers: An analysis of attributes, capacities and skills of academic teaching and research faculty at Kenyan schools of public health

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Academic faculty involved in public health teaching and research serve as the link and catalyst for knowledge synthesis and exchange, enabling the flow of information resources, and nurturing relations between 'two distinct communities' - researchers and policymakers - who would not otherwise have the opportunity to interact. Their role and their characteristics are of particular interest, therefore, in the health research, policy and practice arena, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. We investigated the individual attributes, capacities and skills of academic faculty identified as knowledge brokers (KBs) in schools of public health (SPH) in Kenya with a view to informing organisational policies around the recruitment, retention and development of faculty KBs. Methods: During April 2013, we interviewed 12 academics and faculty leadership (including those who had previously been identified as KBs) from six SPHs in Kenya, and 11 national health policymakers with whom they interact. Data were qualitatively analyzed using inductive thematic analysis to unveil key characteristics. Results: Key characteristics of KBs fell into five categories: sociodemographics, professional competence, experiential knowledge, interactive skills and personal disposition. KBs' reputations benefitted from their professional qualifications and content expertise. Practical knowledge in policy-relevant situations, and the related professional networks, allowed KB's to navigate both the academic and policy arenas and also to leverage the necessary connections required for policy influence. Attributes, such as respect and a social conscience, were also important KB characteristics. Conclusion: Several changes in Kenya are likely to compel academics to engage increasingly with policymakers at an enhanced level of debate, deliberation and discussion in the future. By recognising existing KBs, supporting the emergence of potential KBs, and systematically hiring faculty with KB-specific characteristics, SPHs can enhance their collective human capital and influence on public health policy and practice. Capacity strengthening of tangible skills and recognition of less tangible personality characteristics could contribute to enhanced academic-policymaker networks. These, in turn, could contribute to the relevance of SPH research and teaching programs as well as evidence-informed public health policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number58
JournalHealth Research Policy and Systems
Volume14
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2 2016

Fingerprint

Public Health Schools
Teaching
Economics
Kenya
Health Policy
Research
Public Policy
Public Health
Organizational Policy
Public Health Practice
Professional Competence
Personality
Research Personnel
Health

Keywords

  • Attribute
  • Capacity
  • Evidence-to-policy
  • Kenya
  • Knowledge broker
  • Qualitative
  • Schools of public health
  • Skill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

Cite this

@article{bb5023c09c0b4b9893e23f696d1c4f9c,
title = "The Human Capital of Knowledge Brokers: An analysis of attributes, capacities and skills of academic teaching and research faculty at Kenyan schools of public health",
abstract = "Background: Academic faculty involved in public health teaching and research serve as the link and catalyst for knowledge synthesis and exchange, enabling the flow of information resources, and nurturing relations between 'two distinct communities' - researchers and policymakers - who would not otherwise have the opportunity to interact. Their role and their characteristics are of particular interest, therefore, in the health research, policy and practice arena, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. We investigated the individual attributes, capacities and skills of academic faculty identified as knowledge brokers (KBs) in schools of public health (SPH) in Kenya with a view to informing organisational policies around the recruitment, retention and development of faculty KBs. Methods: During April 2013, we interviewed 12 academics and faculty leadership (including those who had previously been identified as KBs) from six SPHs in Kenya, and 11 national health policymakers with whom they interact. Data were qualitatively analyzed using inductive thematic analysis to unveil key characteristics. Results: Key characteristics of KBs fell into five categories: sociodemographics, professional competence, experiential knowledge, interactive skills and personal disposition. KBs' reputations benefitted from their professional qualifications and content expertise. Practical knowledge in policy-relevant situations, and the related professional networks, allowed KB's to navigate both the academic and policy arenas and also to leverage the necessary connections required for policy influence. Attributes, such as respect and a social conscience, were also important KB characteristics. Conclusion: Several changes in Kenya are likely to compel academics to engage increasingly with policymakers at an enhanced level of debate, deliberation and discussion in the future. By recognising existing KBs, supporting the emergence of potential KBs, and systematically hiring faculty with KB-specific characteristics, SPHs can enhance their collective human capital and influence on public health policy and practice. Capacity strengthening of tangible skills and recognition of less tangible personality characteristics could contribute to enhanced academic-policymaker networks. These, in turn, could contribute to the relevance of SPH research and teaching programs as well as evidence-informed public health policies.",
keywords = "Attribute, Capacity, Evidence-to-policy, Kenya, Knowledge broker, Qualitative, Schools of public health, Skill",
author = "Nasreen Jessani and Kennedy, {Caitlin E} and Bennett, {Sara C}",
year = "2016",
month = "8",
day = "2",
doi = "10.1186/s12961-016-0133-0",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "14",
journal = "Health Research Policy and Systems",
issn = "1478-4505",
publisher = "BioMed Central",
number = "1",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - The Human Capital of Knowledge Brokers

T2 - An analysis of attributes, capacities and skills of academic teaching and research faculty at Kenyan schools of public health

AU - Jessani, Nasreen

AU - Kennedy, Caitlin E

AU - Bennett, Sara C

PY - 2016/8/2

Y1 - 2016/8/2

N2 - Background: Academic faculty involved in public health teaching and research serve as the link and catalyst for knowledge synthesis and exchange, enabling the flow of information resources, and nurturing relations between 'two distinct communities' - researchers and policymakers - who would not otherwise have the opportunity to interact. Their role and their characteristics are of particular interest, therefore, in the health research, policy and practice arena, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. We investigated the individual attributes, capacities and skills of academic faculty identified as knowledge brokers (KBs) in schools of public health (SPH) in Kenya with a view to informing organisational policies around the recruitment, retention and development of faculty KBs. Methods: During April 2013, we interviewed 12 academics and faculty leadership (including those who had previously been identified as KBs) from six SPHs in Kenya, and 11 national health policymakers with whom they interact. Data were qualitatively analyzed using inductive thematic analysis to unveil key characteristics. Results: Key characteristics of KBs fell into five categories: sociodemographics, professional competence, experiential knowledge, interactive skills and personal disposition. KBs' reputations benefitted from their professional qualifications and content expertise. Practical knowledge in policy-relevant situations, and the related professional networks, allowed KB's to navigate both the academic and policy arenas and also to leverage the necessary connections required for policy influence. Attributes, such as respect and a social conscience, were also important KB characteristics. Conclusion: Several changes in Kenya are likely to compel academics to engage increasingly with policymakers at an enhanced level of debate, deliberation and discussion in the future. By recognising existing KBs, supporting the emergence of potential KBs, and systematically hiring faculty with KB-specific characteristics, SPHs can enhance their collective human capital and influence on public health policy and practice. Capacity strengthening of tangible skills and recognition of less tangible personality characteristics could contribute to enhanced academic-policymaker networks. These, in turn, could contribute to the relevance of SPH research and teaching programs as well as evidence-informed public health policies.

AB - Background: Academic faculty involved in public health teaching and research serve as the link and catalyst for knowledge synthesis and exchange, enabling the flow of information resources, and nurturing relations between 'two distinct communities' - researchers and policymakers - who would not otherwise have the opportunity to interact. Their role and their characteristics are of particular interest, therefore, in the health research, policy and practice arena, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. We investigated the individual attributes, capacities and skills of academic faculty identified as knowledge brokers (KBs) in schools of public health (SPH) in Kenya with a view to informing organisational policies around the recruitment, retention and development of faculty KBs. Methods: During April 2013, we interviewed 12 academics and faculty leadership (including those who had previously been identified as KBs) from six SPHs in Kenya, and 11 national health policymakers with whom they interact. Data were qualitatively analyzed using inductive thematic analysis to unveil key characteristics. Results: Key characteristics of KBs fell into five categories: sociodemographics, professional competence, experiential knowledge, interactive skills and personal disposition. KBs' reputations benefitted from their professional qualifications and content expertise. Practical knowledge in policy-relevant situations, and the related professional networks, allowed KB's to navigate both the academic and policy arenas and also to leverage the necessary connections required for policy influence. Attributes, such as respect and a social conscience, were also important KB characteristics. Conclusion: Several changes in Kenya are likely to compel academics to engage increasingly with policymakers at an enhanced level of debate, deliberation and discussion in the future. By recognising existing KBs, supporting the emergence of potential KBs, and systematically hiring faculty with KB-specific characteristics, SPHs can enhance their collective human capital and influence on public health policy and practice. Capacity strengthening of tangible skills and recognition of less tangible personality characteristics could contribute to enhanced academic-policymaker networks. These, in turn, could contribute to the relevance of SPH research and teaching programs as well as evidence-informed public health policies.

KW - Attribute

KW - Capacity

KW - Evidence-to-policy

KW - Kenya

KW - Knowledge broker

KW - Qualitative

KW - Schools of public health

KW - Skill

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84988329880&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84988329880&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1186/s12961-016-0133-0

DO - 10.1186/s12961-016-0133-0

M3 - Article

C2 - 27484172

AN - SCOPUS:84988329880

VL - 14

JO - Health Research Policy and Systems

JF - Health Research Policy and Systems

SN - 1478-4505

IS - 1

M1 - 58

ER -