Knowledge mobilization activities to support decision-making by youth using a systematic and living map of evidence and recommendations on COVID-19


As the general public is overwhelmed with information about COVID-19, including misinformation, a unique repository of COVID-19 guidelines (called the RecMap) was developed by McMaster University with funding from CIHR. The goal of the RecMap is to identify all COVID-19 guidelines, assess their credibility, and make them accessible to the general public.

COVID-19 guidelines are commonly developed for healthcare professionals; yet, these guidelines must be accessible and easy for the general public to understand. Led by McMaster, Plain Language Versions of COVID-19 Recommendations (PLRs) have been developed to support youth, parents, and adults as autonomous decision-makers regarding their health and to improve their health outcomes. The understandability and acceptability of these PLRs are now being investigated in a CIHR funded multi-center trial.

EnRICH  lead the youth site (Principal Investigators: Drs. Nancy Butcher and Martin Offringa) and recruited young people ages 15-24 globally. EnRICH has refined the PLRs for youth and will test this format during the trial.

Youth Partnership and Engagement

Because young people are end users of COVID-19 PLRs, it is critical that they are meaningfully engaged throughout the research process to ensure that their lived experiences are captured. We have partnered with two youth facilitators, Matthew Prebeg and Jacqueline Relihan from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Ontario. Through this partnership, we co-developed and implemented pre-trial engagement work with Canadian youth advisors, whereby we created study materials, refined a PLR format based on youth preferences, and ensured meaningful engagement efforts were embedded throughout the research process.

Our Objective

Our site seeks to understand whether PLRs are easier for youth to use and understand in comparison to the original format, while still conveying the intended message from the original guideline.

Collaborators and Partners

SickKids Research Institute recruited youth, The University of Alberta recruited parents, and Western University  recruited adults. All three sites were coordinated through McMaster University, the lead site.

All sites worked closely with an international team of recognized experts in knowledge synthesis, randomized trials, guidelines development, living recommendations, capacity-building, and content relevant to our specific priority populations. This collaborative effort represents teams in Canada, Norway, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Germany, India, Italy, Lebanon, Spain, South Africa, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, and United States.

Our partners include The Public Health Agency of Canada, The Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technology in Health, Institut national d’excellence en santé et services sociaux, The Norwegian Public Health Institute, WHO European (EURO), Pan-American (PAHO) regional offices, Secretariat of the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines, The Global Evidence Synthesis Initiative, The Guidelines International Network (G-I-N) and Canadian-based and leading international institutions or organizations.


The trial protocol has been published, and three trial report manuscripts have been submitted for publication.


Updated February 2024