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Evidence synthesis, upstream determinants and health inequalities: the role of a proposed new Cochrane Public Health Review Group

Waters, Elizabeth, Petticrew, Mark, Priest, Naomi, Weightman, Alison, Harden, Angela and Doyle, Jodie 2008. Evidence synthesis, upstream determinants and health inequalities: the role of a proposed new Cochrane Public Health Review Group. The European Journal of Public Health 18 (3) , pp. 221-223. 10.1093/eurpub/ckm127

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Within public health decision making, there has been an increasing awareness of the need for better syntheses of evidence related to interventions addressing upstream, population-level determinants of health and health inequalities. This includes focusing greater attention on ways of integrating evidence from a range of sources and on best ways of using what evidence is currently available, while remaining aware of its limitations. 1 Inherent within this is the need to consider further the contribution and value of multiple forms of evidence to the evidence base rather than a stringent focus on ranking evidence by more traditional scientific measures. Whilst we would argue that well-conducted experimental studies provide strong evidence on intervention effectiveness it is not always possible to carry out such studies when evaluating complex public health interventions. Accordingly, exploring ways of incorporating diverse evidence sources into systematic reviews, together with a realistic view of the scope, strengths and limitations of such evidence, needs consideration if public health is to make an effective contribution to impacting health inequalities and the social determinants of health. High quality systematic reviews can inform both the development of further primary research as well as policymaking, which does not absolve the need for better primary research on the effectiveness and economic efficiency of interventions and policies with regards to health inequalities, 2 but primary research must be informed by better understanding of what research already exists and hence where the gaps are.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Information Services
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1101-1262
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 01:58

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