Enhancing capacity for risk factor surveillance at the regional/local level: a follow-up review of the findings of the Canadian Think Tank Forum after 4 years

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Choi, Bernard CK
Decou, Mary L
Rasali, Drona
Martens, Patricia J
Mancuso, Michelina
Plotnikoff, Ronald C
Neudorf, Cory
Thanos, Joanne
Svenson, Lawrence W
Denny, Keith
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Abstract Background National health surveys are sometimes used to provide estimates on risk factors for policy and program development at the regional/local level. However, as regional/local needs may differ from national ones, an important question is how to also enhance capacity for risk factor surveillance regionally/locally. Methods A Think Tank Forum was convened in Canada to discuss the needs, characteristics, coordination, tools and next steps to build capacity for regional/local risk factor surveillance. A series of follow up activities to review the relevant issues pertaining to needs, characteristics and capacity of risk factor surveillance were conducted. Results Results confirmed the need for a regional/local risk factor surveillance system that is flexible, timely, of good quality, having a communication plan, and responsive to local needs. It is important to conduct an environmental scan and a gap analysis, to develop a common vision, to build central and local coordination and leadership, to build on existing tools and resources, and to use innovation. Conclusions Findings of the Think Tank Forum are important for building surveillance capacity at the local/county level, both in Canada and globally. This paper provides a follow-up review of the findings based on progress over the last 4 years.
Archives of Public Health. 2014 Jan 22;72(1):2