Dr Emily Karanges
Dr Lisa Parker
Professor Lisa Bero
Dr Alice Fabbri
Dr Barbara Mintzes
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Ensuring policy decisions rest on unbiased pillars of evidence
We translate rigorous and unbiased evidence into clinical practice and health policy. Our work is being used to make new gold standards for synthesising evidence for a wide variety of health policy decisions worldwide.
We want to ensure that policy decisions rest on strong and unbiased pillars of evidence. Diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease are the result of a complex mix of biological, social, cultural, and other factors. Producing and promoting unbiased evidence and evidence-based decision-making in relation to these diseases is key to their prevention and treatment.
Our work explores what constitutes evidence and how we can reduce bias in the evidence base. Specific areas of interest are in the design, conduct and reporting of research and how we can communicate research findings in a clear and convincing way to a variety of stakeholders.
We also promote the use of evidence in decision-making while taking into account the social, political and ethical contexts of decisions.
Our researchers design and test rigorous interventions to promote research integrity and the uptake of research, particularly for medicines use, effectiveness and harm in the policy process.
What impact will this research have?
Our ground-breaking work has exposed bias and conflicts of interest in health-related research. These include pharmaceutical, environmental, nutrition, and tobacco control research.
As a result of our work on the effects of sponsorship and other conflicts of interest on research, there’s been a growing recognition that selective reporting of research outcomes, as well as entire studies, can make it impossible to identify data for systematic reviews.
This work has led to international reforms related to transparency, accessibility of data and stricter standards for managing conflicts of interest.
Policymakers and regulators in several countries have now adopted improved methods for critiquing evidence, conducting systematic reviews and developing clinical practice and public health guidelines.
Our methodology for assessing bias also supports agencies such as the NHMRC and the World Health Organisation as they refine methods for developing public health (as opposed to clinical) guidelines.
We also work with diverse communities including journalists, lawyers, judges, and consumers to increase their skills in evaluating bias in research.