Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Spring 2019 - Scholarship Recipients

Contributed by Madelin Siedler, 2018/2019 U.S. GRADE Network Research Fellow

Recently, we held the Tenth GRADE Guideline Development Workshop in Denver, Colorado. This workshop was one of the largest groups to date, with 51 participants traveling to the Mile-High City from as far away as Poland and Korea. During the workshop, participants focused on learning and applying the GRADE approach for diagnostic test accuracy. 

Two participants attended as recipients of the scholarship program funded by the U.S. GRADE Network and Evidence Foundation. This scholarship covers the cost of registration for workshop attendees who are newer to GRADE and have never attended a formal GRADE workshop. Scholars Janice Tufte and Dr. Irbaz bin Riaz presented on their innovative ideas for improving the development, implementation, or dissemination of guidelines with the aim of reducing bias in healthcare recommendations.

Scholarship recipients: Dr. Irbaz bin Riaz (L) and Ms. Janice Tufte (R), 
with scholarship coordinator, Dr. Shahnaz Sultan

Tufte, an independent consultant who leads patient-public partnership initiatives, presented on the unique opportunities of using patient partners during the development of GRADE guidelines. Patient partners are representatives of the patient population whom the guideline aims to serve. As part of a guideline panel, they offer fresh perspectives, ground the guideline development process with lived experience, and help the panel to identify and address differences in priorities among stakeholders.

Throughout her presentation, Tufte provided ways to improve how patient partners are involved in the guideline process, such as creating one-pagers and glossaries that cover the basics of GRADE methodology and inquiring beforehand about specific accommodations that might be needed in order to enhance the patient’s participation in the panel. “It was an honor to attend the GRADE Workshop in Denver as a Patient Partner Scholar,” said Tufte. “I felt like I was treated like a colleague where we were all learning together how to use GRADE tools to share best evidence within our individual systems and guidelines work.”

Dr. bin Riaz, an oncologist at Mayo Clinic, presented on a framework for developing living systematic reviews and guidelines to inform clinical decision-making, especially in topic areas undergoing rapid change. It can take several years for a systematic review and resulting clinical recommendations to be developed, Dr. bin Riaz explained. In the meantime, new drug approvals or indications, changes in drug labeling, or new information about potential risks and benefits of a treatment option can arise. As opposed to traditional, static documents, living systematic reviews and guidelines are continually updated as new evidence or important decision-making information comes to light. The ultimate goal of such an approach is to facilitate a more timely translation of medical knowledge into clinical practice, allowing patients and their providers to come to decisions informed by the totality of current evidence.

If interested in applying for a scholarship to future GRADE workshops, more details can be found here: https://evidencefoundation.org/scholarships.html. Please note the deadline for applications to our next workshop in Orlando, Florida will be July 1, 2019.