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LSTM Leverhulme Lecture: Ecstasies and agonies of evidence synthesis

Monday, 02 Nov 2015

Professor Jimmy Volmink will deliver the LSTM Leverhulme Lecture on 17th November 2015.

The likelihood of misusing resources on ineffective or harmful interventions can be reduced if healthcare decisions are consistently informed by reliable research. However, vested interests, both academic and commercial, as well as strongly held beliefs, can pervert the decision making process, so that research evidence will sometimes be ignored, with detrimental consequences.

"This presentation is my personal account of 20 years’ experience with conducting and promoting the use of systematic reviews in South Africa around problems of my continent, drawing on examples from TB, HIV and nutrition. I will reflect on instances where systematic review findings were embraced, rejected or ignored by decision-makers. Some examples will also illustrate where systematic reviews were useful for stimulating debate or spurring new research. The overarching story is of an exciting, enlightening and rewarding career in evidence synthesis which has allowed me to gain many friends (and make some enemies)". 

Jimmy Volmink is Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Stellenbosch University and Founding Director of the South African Cochrane Centre hosted by the Medical Research Council of South Africa. His previous positions include Deputy Dean for Research at Stellenbosch University, GlaxoWellcome Chair of Primary Health Care at the University of Cape Town, and Director of Research and Analysis of the Global Health Council in Washington DC.