For more than a decade, the Institute for Population Health (IPH) at Weill Connell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) has committed to building research capacity and advancing evidence-based practice for healthcare practitioners in Qatar, the region, and beyond. The IPH does this by developing and implementing comprehensive and need-based training programs targeted towards healthcare professionals. One such program, titled, “Introduction to Systematic Review and Meta-analysis: Principles and Practice,” is designed to improve research skills by introducing participants to the process of conducting a rigorous systematic review and interpreting meta-analysis based on scientific principles, systematic methodology, and standardized guidelines.
Initiated in 2019, the workshop is aimed at physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, allied health practitioners, educators, researchers, and administrators. The overall learning objectives of the workshop enable participants to define and understand evidence-based medicine, systematic review, and meta-analysis; describe the steps required to conduct a systematic review; and how to interpret the findings of a meta-analysis. The workshop allows participants to learn about systematic review/meta-analysis concepts and methodology through interactive, hands-on case studies.
Dr. Sohaila Cheema, Associate Professor of Clinical Population Health Sciences and Assistant Dean for IPH, said: “Systematic reviews are considered the gold standard for assessing the quality of evidence and developing evidence-based guidelines and policies. They aim to identify, select, appraise, and synthesize in an unbiased manner all available secondary data to answer a specific and well-formulated research question. This workshop equips healthcare professionals with the requisite skills and proficiency to conduct a systematic review and fosters the culture of evidence-based healthcare practice, ultimately leading to enhanced health outcomes for patients and improved population health.”
Over the past five years, in 10 offerings, nearly 300 healthcare professionals have completed this pioneering program. The workshop has consistently demonstrated effectiveness, with participants praising its remarkable value. Post-activity evaluations have affirmed that the workshop is a catalyst for professional development. It has boosted participants’ confidence to conduct rigorous systematic reviews and effectively apply updated evidence across various domains in medical practice. The impact of this workshop, showcased by participants publishing systematic reviews, is testament to its contribution to a robust research ecosystem and improved healthcare outcomes.
The workshop is led by WCM-Q IPH faculty and staff, comprising Dr. Karima Chaabna, course director, assistant Professor of clinical population Health Sciences & Manager of Population Health Research; Dr. Amit Abraham, Course Director, Assistant Professor of Clinical Population Health Sciences & Projects Specialist; Ms. Anupama Jithesh, Projects Coordinator, and Dr. Sonia Chabaane, Projects Specialist.
Dr. Ravinder Mamtani, Vice-Dean for Population Health and Lifestyle Medicine, Professor of Population Health Sciences and Professor of Medicine, said: “Building research capacity is a critical component for the advancement of healthcare. This workshop aims to do that and advances evidence-based medicine among healthcare professionals. We at IPH remain committed to lifelong learning and building capacity among healthcare professionals on important population health-related topics.”