Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Spring 2022 Scholars Discuss Developments in Diagnostic and Environmental Health Evidence

The USGN's 16th GRADE Guideline Development Workshop, held in Chicago, was the first to be held in-person since March of 2020. In classic USGN style, participants enjoyed vibrant conversation, hours of learning, and delicious yogurt parfaits and strong coffee during morning breaks.

Two participants joined the fun and learning as part of the Evidence Foundation scholarship program, presenting to fellow attendees about their current projects related to evidence synthesis and guideline development. 

Spring 2022 Evidence Foundation scholars Kapeena Sivakumaran and Ibrahim El Mikati, center, pose for a photo between sessions in Chicago with the U.S. GRADE Network faculty (from left to right: Reem Mustafa, Philipp Dahm, Shahnaz Sultan, Yngve Falck-Ytter, Rebecca Morgan, and Hassan Murad).

Ibrahim El Mikati, a post-doctoral research fellow in the Outcomes and Implementation Research Unit at the University of Kansas Medical center, discussed his project helping to develop guidance for judging imprecision in diagnostic evidence. This approach will utilize thresholds for confidence intervals and will also introduce the concept of optimal information sizes for assessing imprecision in the context of diagnostic guidelines.

One thing that the GRADE workshop has helped me appreciate is transparency," said Ibrahim. "Having a transparent explanation of judgments provides users with trustworthy guidelines."

Kapeena Sivakumaran is currently leading two systematic reviews for Health Canada related to the impact of noise exposure and sleep disturbance on health outcomes. Challenges of these projects include a focus on short-term outcomes in the relevant literature as well as the need to incorporate multiple evidence streams, such as mechanistic data that can be interpreted in conjunction with observational evidence. 

“The workshop provided me with valuable insight into guideline development and using the GRADE approach to assess the evidence," said Kapeena. "One new thing I learned from the workshop was how automation and [artificial intelligence] can be integrated into the process of living systematic reviews to support guideline development.”

Note: applications for scholarships to attend our upcoming systematic review and guideline development workshops, held virtually, close August 12th and September 30th, 2022, respectively. See application details here.