On June 23-24, 2020 the training course “Systematic review and meta-analysis: theory and practice” for specialists with higher medical or pharmaceutical education, teachers of medical educational institutions was held on the basis of the Department of Public Health and Healthcare Management of the Belarusian State Medical University. The training course was organized by the Faculty of Advanced Training and Retraining of Personnel within the framework of international cooperation between the Belarusian State Medical University, the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) and Karolinska Institutet (Sweden).
The organizers and moderators of the training course were:
Anna V. Sidorchuk, Senior Researcher of the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, candidate of medical sciences;
Andrei A. Pyko, Employee of the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, candidate of medical sciences;
Irina N. Moroz, First Vice-Rector of the Belarusian State Medical University, doctor of medical sciences, professor;
Tatyana P. Pavlovich, Head of the Department of Public Health and Healthcare Management of the Belarusian State Medical University, candidate of medical sciences, associate professor.
The training course was elaborated on the basis of the post-graduate course “Systematic review and meta-analysis” of the Karolinska Institutet, which is a basic course in evidence-based medicine aimed at familiarizing with the basic methodological concepts, terms and practical methods used in the systematic integration of the results of individual studies and approaches to critical assessment of research results.
In a short time, the Swedish and Belarusian colleagues carried out great bulk of work from elaboration of the training course program to its expertise and approval, prepared information materials for trainees, and agreed on the procedure of conducting classes. All the legal documentation for the training course was made in accordance with the established requirements.
The purpose and objectives of the course was to familiarize university employees with the principles and methods of a systematic review and meta-analysis as tools of evidence-based medicine, to develop skills in planning, conducting and evaluating the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis while conducting analysis of scientific literature.
The training was carried out on the basis of the Department of Public Health and Healthcare Management in online format using IT-technologies.
Anna V. Sidorchuk and Andrei A. Pyko were lecturers who shared their knowledge and personal experience based on pedagogical and scientific activities with university employees.
16 teachers of our university underwent training within the framework of the training course “Systematic review and meta-analysis: theory and practice”.
Over the course of two days the participants of the training course were able to get acquainted with the principles and methods of making a systematic review of literature and using meta-analysis as a tool for evidence-based medicine: discuss the main stages and practical steps when writing a research protocol and search strategies of data extraction from relevant studies of good quality, master the calculation methods of fixed and random effects and methods of heterogeneity assessment, master the techniques of presentation and interpretation of meta-analysis results.
The materials, provided by the lecturers, were actively discussed by the trainees. The First Vice-Rector, Irina N. Moroz acted as a superviser of the course. She welcomed the participants of the training course on behalf of the university leadership, participated in the discussion and expressed gratitude to the organizers and lecturers of the training course for cooperation and personal contribution to this event.
The Dean of the Faculty of Advanced Training and Retraining of Personnel Oksana A. Teslova, who was also a trainee, noted that the program of the course was very rich in relevant knowledge for both young and more experienced researches. Oksana A. Teslova expressed hope that this educational program will be expanded and repeatedly implemented in the Belarusian scientific community.
The impressions of the trainees were not heterogeneous (a lot of attention was paid to this term during the course):
- Very informative and useful course. Thank you very much!
- The program of training is very rich!
- It would be great to prolongate the period of training!
- I liked the organization, format and content of the course. Comprehensible information was provided on relevant topics.
Tatyana P. Pavlovich, Head of the Department of Public Health and Healthcare Management shared her impressions: “Recently, more attention has been paid to systematic review and meta-analysis because the number of literary sources available for researches is steadily increasing. Currently, systematic review and meta-analysis are perhaps the main methods for evaluation of published results of scientific research.
Anna V. Sidorchuk and Andrei A. Pyko proved to be true professionals in the field of analysis of literature data and evidence-based medicine, excellent teachers who were interested in the topic of the course and won the group’s favor. All materials were presented in comprehensive manner. The lecturers provided vivid examples from personal experience, which is extremely important, because certain particularities of any work can be discovered only through personal experience. Anna V. Sidorchuk made recommendations and shared her experience on searching and working with literature, on practical using of procedures of meta-analysis, which was especially important and interesting for us. The trainees had the opportunity to ask questions and receive detailed answers.
Unfortunately the training course is over. We received valuable information, but also, following the results of the training now we are ready to ask new questions and set new goals in order to work on this topic more deeply and thoroughly.”
Irina N. Moroz, First Vice-Rector of the university, noted: “In modern conditions, international cooperation in the promotion of educational technologies and academic mobility is becoming more and more important. For the first time, the university organized a training course on systematic review and meta-analysis, which allowed us to increase the level of professional knowledge of BSMU teaching staff in the field of biostatistics. This course is the first step in the long-term cooperation between medical universities of Belarus and Sweden on the promotion of new educational technologies, planning and organization of scientific research, and training of highly qualified specialists in the field of public health and healthcare.”
Long-term cooperation plans include the elaboration and promotion of professional development program on applied aspects of a systematic review and meta-analysis involving both Swedish colleagues and BSMU staff as lecturers.
We will be glad to see printed systematic reviews and meta-analyses authored by the trainees of the course!
Tatyana Pavlovich, Head of the Department of Public Health and Healthcare Management
Oksana Teslova, Dean of the Faculty of Advanced Training and Retraining of Personnel
Photo: authors and Dmitry Zelenkovsky
Translation: Varvara Boika