Toronto & Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment project receives Paula Goering award

The Toronto and Ottawa Supervised Consumption Assessment (TOSCA) project has received the 2016 Paula Goering Collaborative Research and Knowledge Translation Award.

This bi-annual award is sponsored by University of Toronto’s Department of Psychiatry, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation, and CAMH’s Provincial Systems Support Program.

The review committee was impressed with the quality of the applications and the creative approaches demonstrated for engaging diverse stakeholders in knowledge production, dissemination and movement into practice.

With Paula’s recent passing, the award sponsors will host a ceremony, likely in the Fall, to celebrate the project and Paula’s integral contributions to making integrated knowledge translation an important component of research.

For a list of the past winners, click here.


TOSCA is led by Ahmed Bayoumi, St. Michael's Hospital, Carol Strike, Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Shaun Hopkins and Susan Shepherd from Toronto Public Health. TOSCA is an excellent example of how researchers, service providers, community members and decision makers can create the information necessary to drive public decision making.

TOSCA studied the feasibility of opening supervised injection services (SIS) in Toronto and Ottawa. A SIS is a place where people can inject illegal drugs under the supervision of trained staff and without fearing arrest. In 2012 and based on scientific findings, the team reported that it is feasible to open three SIS in Toronto.

Team members delivered TOSCA recommendations directly to decision makers, opinion leaders, stakeholders, community members and scientific audiences at more than 30 presentations. They hosted a media release of the TOSCA report, were interviewed for television (CBC, Global, CTV, CNN) and radio programs, and made presentations to the Toronto Board of Health to support Dr. McKeown, Medical Officer of Health.

In 2013, the Toronto Board of Health approved a recommendation from Dr. McKeown, to support implementation of SIS in Toronto. In March 2016, the Board further supported a recommendation from Dr. McKeown to start the process of applying for the permissions necessary to establish SIS within three existing health services in Toronto. These requests were based on TOSCA evidence and recommendations.

TOSCA findings are used by the three proposed SIS locations to support their applications for governmental approval to legally operate. The team’s experience shows that evidence, extensive presentation of findings, and strong local champions can move evidence into action.

Congratulations TOSCA!

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