Background:Global policy making in nutrition requires high-quality systematic reviews using state-of the art methods. The Summer Institute for Systematic Reviews in Nutrition for Global Policy Making was founded by 3 partners (WHO, Cochrane, Cornell) in 2014 to increase global capacity for synthesising evidence on nutrition and nutrition-sensitive interventions.
Objectives:The objectives are to train nutrition scientists, professionals and practitioners in the development and the use of Cochrane systematic reviews through an interactive annual training. Trainees form teams to synthesise evidence and co-author a review relevant to public health policy needs.
Methods: During 2 weeks of fulltime training, participants build an understanding of the process for global policy making in nutrition, the assessment and synthesis of evidence in nutrition, and the integration of research evidence with policies. The Institute addresses the challenges in conducting systematic reviews of nutrition interventions. The hands-on training includes co-authorship on a review that has immediate global health relevance. Training is provided on the latest Cochrane methodological advances, including GRADE, reporting standards, equity, and the incorporation of non-randomised studies of interventions, which are a key part of the evidence base in nutrition.
Results: In 2014, ’15 and ’16 there were 15, 26 and 26 participants, respectively. Participants represented all WHO regions. The 31 review topics attempted led to: 5 published Cochrane reviews, 1 published non-Cochrane review, 7 published Cochrane protocols, 2 published non-Cochrane protocols, 11 titles registered with Cochrane and 5 topics abandoned or of uncertain status.
Conclusions:The goal of the Institute to increase global capacity for creating and using systematic reviews in nutrition has had clear and measurable impact on the production of reviews in nutrition relevant to public health. It has generated global cohorts of scientists and experts who understand how to use evidence for policy making in nutrition.