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Peer engagement in harm reduction strategies and services: a critical case study and evaluation framework from British Columbia, Canada

Greer, AM; Luchenski, SA; Amlani, AA; Lacroix, K; Burmeister, C; Buxton, JA; (2016) Peer engagement in harm reduction strategies and services: a critical case study and evaluation framework from British Columbia, Canada. BMC Public Health , 16 (1) , Article 452. 10.1186/s12889-016-3136-4. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Engaging people with drug use experience, or ‘peers,’ in decision-making helps to ensure harm reduction services reflect current need. There is little published on the implementation, evaluation, and effectiveness of meaningful peer engagement. This paper aims to describe and evaluate peer engagement in British Columbia from 2010–2014. METHODS: A process evaluation framework specific to peer engagement was developed and used to assess progress made, lessons learned, and future opportunities under four domains: supportive environment, equitable participation, capacity building and empowerment, and improved programming and policy. The evaluation was conducted by reviewing primary and secondary qualitative data including focus groups, formal documents, and meeting minutes. RESULTS: Peer engagement was an iterative process that increased and improved over time as a consequence of reflexive learning. Practical ways to develop trust, redress power imbalances, and improve relationships were crosscutting themes. Lack of support, coordination, and building on existing capacity were factors that could undermine peer engagement. Peers involved across the province reviewed and provided feedback on these results. CONCLUSION: Recommendations from this evaluation can be applied to other peer engagement initiatives in decision-making settings to improve relationships between peers and professionals and to ensure programs and policies are relevant and equitable.

Type: Article
Title: Peer engagement in harm reduction strategies and services: a critical case study and evaluation framework from British Columbia, Canada
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-3136-4
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-016-3136-4
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: Peer engagement, Community engagement, Public participation, Substance use, Harm reduction, Health equity, Process evaluation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Epidemiology and Public Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10050247
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