4022.0 Strengthening Evidence-Based Public Health: How Should Systematic Reviews Balance Rigor and Usefulness?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 8:30 AM
Panel Discussion
Considerable amounts of time and effort are currently being expended to advance the production and use of evidence-based approaches to addressing public health problems. Systematic reviews are typically considered to provide the best available scientific evidence about the effectiveness of public health interventions and programs. One of the biggest challenges in conducting systematic reviews is the need to strive for methodologic rigor while simultaneously striving to produce findings that are both useful to and used by public health practitioners, policy makers, researchers, research funders, and communities. These aims can sometimes be at cross purposes. For example, many systematic review groups grapple with how to present and explain findings of “insufficient evidence” in ways that facilitate interpretation and appropriate action. Users wonder what to do when the evidence is insufficient. Systematic review groups struggle over how to address external validity considerations and how to get their reviews off of shelves and into the hands of users. Systematic review groups also differ as to which study designs are eligible and how eligible studies should be judged and used. Differences may not be understood by intended users. This session will bring together a panel of recognized experts in evidence-based public health to discuss and debate these and related issues. After a brief introduction of key challenges, a series of provocative questions will be put to panelists and cross discussion and debate will be encouraged. The session will reserve time at the end for the audience to ask questions and interact with the panelists.
Session Objectives: Learning Objectives: By the end of this session, attendees will be able to: • Identify how the term “evidence-based” may mean different things to different people and how these differences influence their perspectives on strengthening evidence-based public health. • Reflect on the challenges inherent in considering both internal and external validity in systematic reviews and how these challenges might be addressed. • Better understand how to interpret and use systematic review findings of insufficient evidence. • List a number of different ways in which to support more effective translation of systematic review findings into action.
Shawna L. Mercer, MSc, PhD
Peter A. Briss, MD, MPH , Ned Calonge, MD, PhD , Lawrence W. Green, DrPH , Patricia Dolan Mullen, MPH, DrPH and Steven M. Teutsch, MD, MPH

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Organized by: Epidemiology
Endorsed by: Environment, Public Health Nursing

See more of: Epidemiology