Plenaries and speakers

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The Global Evidence Summit is an inter-sectoral and multi-disciplinary event exchanging ideas about how we best generate, summarize and communicate evidence to inform and change policy and practice worldwide. 

The five plenary sessions will feature regional and international speakers addressing key issues that will highlight and promote evidence-based approaches to target resources to what works. We anticipate input from a multitude of perspectives including education, social and criminal justice, environment, gender health, health systems and clinical care and practice.

Following each plenary, there will be a number of special sessions that match the plenary theme. These sessions will continue discussions and the exchange of ideas.

Plenary 1: 
EVIDENCE FOR AFRICA: How evidence is changing communities across one continent 

Wednesday 13 September, 9-10.30am

Trevor Manuel:
Trevor Manuel, who served in the South African government as Minister of Finance from 1996 to 2009, during the presidencies of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki, Kgalema Motlanthe, and subsequently as Minister in the Presidency under President Jacob Zuma, will be the first plenary speaker at the Global Evidence Summit.

Ruth Stewart:
Ruth spent her childhood in Malawi, and has dedicated more than 20 years to using evidence to improve lives across the African continent. Based in South Africa, she is the Director of the University of Johannesburg’s Africa Centre for Evidence and Chairperson of the Africa Evidence Network. Her work includes the production of evidence for decision-makers, as well as supporting civil servants to access and make sense of research.
Plenary title: Do evidence networks make a difference?

Patrick Mbah Okwen:
Patrick is a Cameroonian medical doctor and health economist passionate about improving global health outcomes. He conducts public health research, and systematic reviews with both Cochrane and Campbell Collaborations.  Patrick works in health development in the areas of ICT as well as governance at public health institutions in Cameroon.

The objectives of this plenary are to understand how the African continent deals with evidence from policy to practice, through examples and overview of networks and activities.

Plenary 1 threaded special sessions

Session 1: Evidence for social and economic policy

This session will share African experiences of different channels through which different types of evidence are being used for better social and economic policies and practice.

Session 2: Evidence to action: Start with the action

This session considers examples of how the Effective Health Care Consortium have tried to do this, and lessons learnt from these attempts.

Session 3: Evidence-informed policy making within and beyond health: lessons learnt from initiatives using different forms of engagement

This session will demonstrate initiatives and networks for health policies across low- and middle-income countries.


Plenary 2: 
BREAKING DOWN THE SILOS: Digital and trustworthy evidence ecosystem

Thursday 14 September, 9-10.30am

Karen Barnes:
Karen is a global leading expert in malaria research. Passionate about the comprehensive evaluation of malaria treatment policy changes in Southern Africa she has worked for twenty years in improving anti-malarial dosing regimens for vulnerable populations, including young children, pregnant women and patients with HIV/AIDS or malnutrition.Karen leads the Worldwide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN) pharmacology group and serves as an advisor to several WHO Expert Groups on malaria.
Plenary title: Evidence production fit for purpose?  Sharing data to inform policy and practice – the experience of the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network (WWARN)

Greg Ogrinc: 
Greg Ogrinc is a general internal medicine doctor and serves as the interim Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and as the Associate Chief of Staff for Education at the White River Junction Veterans Hospital in Vermont, USA.  He is an Associate Professor of Medicine and of the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.  Greg is the lead author on the Fundamental of Healthcare Improvement textbook that introduces the basics of quality improvement methods.  He is the co-investigator for the revision of the Standards for Quality Improvement Reporting Excellence (SQUIRE) guidelines, a set of publication guidelines for sharing quality improvement work through published literature.  

Chris Mavergames:
Chris Mavergames is Head of Informatics and Knowledge Management and Chief Information Officer (CIO) for Cochrane. Chris leads Cochrane's technology and knowledge management infrastructure including software and tools for evidence synthesis in health care, websites, and other tools and data services including the Cochrane Linked Data Project. Chris has research interests in machine learning and text mining, semantic technologies, and a passion for metadata.
Plenary titleEvidence Ecosystem concept and advances in evidence synthesis and dissemination

Jonathan Sharples:
Jonathan is a global expert in brain-science research and works with schools and policy makers to promote evidence-informed practice, and spread knowledge of ‘what works’ in teaching and learning. As a Senior Researcher at the Education Endowment Foundation, from the Institute of Education at University College London, he is exploring schools’ use of research evidence.  Jonathan previously worked at The Institute for the Future of the Mind at the University of Oxford, where he was looking at how insights from brain-science research can support teachers’ expertise and professional development. He is the author of Evidence for the Frontline, a report published by the Alliance for Useful Evidence that outlines the elements of a functioning evidence system.

This plenary will set out to understand how explicit links between actors are needed - and now possible - to close the loop between new evidence and improved care, through a culture for sharing evidence combined with advances in methods and technology/platforms for digitally structured data.

Plenary 2 threaded special sessions

Session 4: The inefficiency of isolation: Why evidence providers and evidence synthesisers can break out of their silos

This session will outline the problems of poor primary research and inefficient evidence synthesis, what is being done to address this and how interactions between primary research and evidence synthesis can contribute to an evidence ecosystem. 

Session 5: From evidence synthesis to dissemination point of care

Session 6: Implementation, improved care, and back again

This session closes the loop of evidence implementation at the point of care by using patient data to identify specific needs of care, measuring outcomes of delivered care, and iterating this process to continuously collect new evidence and learn what works best.


Plenary 3: 
EVIDENCE FOR EMERGING CRISES: How international collaboration and innovation can solve global humanitarian crises, such as Ebola

Friday 15 September, 9-10.30am

John-Arne Røttingen:
is the Chief Executive of the Research Council of Norway and Adjunct Professor at the Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He received his MD and PhD from the University of Oslo, an MSc from Oxford University and an MPA from Harvard University. His areas of expertise include working with health policy and health systems with emphasis on how evidence can inform global decision-making.

Stephen Kennedy:
Stephen Kennedy trained in general medicine, infectious disease epidemiology and biomedical research, and international health in Liberia, the United States and Zambia. He has nearly two decades of experience in public health, prevention research, biomedical and clinical-based research, and clinical trials in HIV/AIDS, STDs, Malaria, Tuberculosis, community health, and Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). He also has nearly three decades of experience as a public health practitioner and medical doctor in sub-Saharan Africa.

Jodi Nelson:
Jodi Nelson has been Senior Vice President of Policy and Practice at International Rescue Committee (IRC) since February 2015. Jodi served as the Head of Strategy, Measurement and Evaluation at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for six years, working across programme areas in global health, development, advocacy, and U.S. education. Prior to working for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Jodi spent eight years at the IRC, where she led an initiative to bridge the gap between academics and aid workers to strengthen the quality of data used to effect and measure change in post-conflict countries. She founded the IRC’s department of Research, Evaluation and Learning.

This plenary explores how evidence generated through international collaboration and innovations can solve emergent global crises and what is needed to prepare for future epidemics, using Ebola as an example.

Plenary 3 threaded special sessions

Session 7: Evidence matters: examples of evidence-based decision making in humanitarian emergencies and how it can be improved

Using storytelling to describe the use of evidence-based decision making in the humanitarian context, explain why some interventions are used despite a lack of evidence and discuss how evidence is interpreted differently in different contexts. The session will also consider how evidence-based decision making can be improved in the humanitarian sector.

Session 8: Refugee crisis in health and society 

Session 9: Climate change in focus: Incorporating evidence synthesis methodology into environmental decision-making

A practical session featuring two presentations and group discussions about understanding how evidence synthesis methods can benefit climate change research, and coming up with ideas about how evidence synthesis methods can contribute to anticipating and addressing policy needs related to climate change.  


Plenary 4: 
EVIDENCE IN A POST-TRUTH WORLD: The evidence, ethos and pathos. How scientists can engage, and influence the public, press and politicians 

Saturday 16 September, 9-10.30am

Trish Greenhalgh:  
Trish is a Professor of Primary Care Health Sciences and Fellow of Green Templeton College at the University of Oxford, UK. She is an internationally recognized academic in primary health care and trained as a General Practitioner. Her vast past expertise and research has covered the evaluation and improvement of clinical services and the challenges of implementing evidence-based practice, which includes the study of knowledge translation and research impact, and the application of philosophy to clinical practice.

Anim van Wyk:
Anim 
joined Africa Check as Deputy Editor in July 2014. She was named Editor on 1 October 2015. Previously she edited an award-winning national supplement in the Afrikaans papers Beeld, Die Burger, and Volksblad and has also worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer, and television producer. In 2016, she completed a master’s degree in media management at Stellenbosch University – titled “Fact-checking in the Global South: Facts about non-profit journalism funding models – a case study”, sharing the prize for best student.

Caroline Weinberg:
Caroline is a public health researcher and advocate.  She was the national co-chair of the March for Science, an unprecedented global event uniting more than a million people in 600 cities around the world in celebration and defense of the role of science in society and policy.

The ‘post-truth world’ has been defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” (Oxford English Dictionary, 2016).  The rise of ‘post-truth’ requires us to go beyond the question of how robust the evidence is and how persuasive it is. Notwithstanding the need for robust evidence, what else can scientists do (and with whom do we need to collaborate) to engage and influence public, press and politicians at a time when our own credibility in their eyes is low and falling?  This session will include an academic overview of argumentation theories that have drawn and built on Aristotle’s early work, as well as presentations from a science journalist working in controversial fields and a social media analyst who studies the spread of news (real and ‘fake’).

Plenary 4 threaded special sessions

Session 10: Separating fact from fiction – enhancing critical thinking to equip the next generation for the post truth society

To showcase teaching and learning approaches to prepare the next generation to function in a post-truth society – to make decisions informed by best evidence and not based on beliefs and practices of some.

Session 11: Telling good stories: A workshop in the art of persuasion

To explore how the principles of rhetoric and persuasion introduced in the plenary ‘Evidence in a Post Truth World’can be applied to specific cases

Session 12: Access to research results for decision-making

What steps can be taken by stakeholders in different areas to enforce universal clinical trial registration and timely public disclosure of methods and results? Can clinical trial transparency and accountability frameworks be extended into pre-clinical research and post-licensure implementation research? How can the value of registries be maximised for evidence assessment processes? 


Plenary 5: 
EVIDENCE FOR EQUITY: How evidence can achieve a more equitable world, for everyone

Saturday 16 September, 4-5.30pm

Sipho Mthathi:
Sipho is the founding Executive Director of Oxfam South Africa and has two decades of experience in the human rights and social justice movement in Southern Africa. She has been General Secretary of the Treatment Action Campaign, the South Africa Director of Human Rights Watch, the regional advisor at the Coalition of African Lesbians, and most recently Manager for South Africa and Southern Africa programmes at Norwegian People’s Aid. Her expertise has been in working with people and organizations advocating for just distribution of power and resources particularly in the extractives industry.

Gonzalo Hernández Licona:
Gonzalo Hernández Licona is founder and Executive Secretary of the National Council for Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL), Mexico. Under the leadership of Hernández Licona, CONEVAL has distinguished itself as an institution with autonomy that generates rigorous and transparent information about the magnitude of poverty in Mexico and the performance of social programs. CONEVAL made it possible for Mexico to be the first country in the world to have an official measurement of multidimensional poverty, reflecting the multiple deprivations suffered by the country's households.

Nathaniel Otoo:
Nathaniel worked for over 10 years with Ghana's National Health Insurance Authority. In 2015, he rose to become the CEO of the Authority, a position he held until he resigned in February 2017. His previous work experience spans the social security, manufacturing and trade promotion sectors. He holds a bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Ghana and a master’s degree in international relations from the International University of Japan. Nathaniel is a founding member of the Joint Learning Network for UHC. He currently runs his own consultancy firm, Wazuri Consulting.

This plenary describes how evidence plays a role in achieving a more equitable world.