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    Systematic review for researchers and academics

    Systematic reviews and meta-analyses occupy the highest rank in the hierarchy of evidence in evidence-based medicine and practice. This understanding is crucial for clinicians and health researchers who wish to practice evidence-based medicine, conduct high quality research, or make use of (interpret) existing studies. However, not many academics and researchers are adequately exposed to systematic reviews, despite their importance and the feasibility to conduct this type of study without the need for huge financial resources.

    On 29 June 2022, the Faculty of Medicine of Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) organized a talk titled “Systematic Review: What’s New?” as part of its effort to promote high quality research among its staff and students. The event was organized by the Biostatistics Consultancy Service (BCS) team in collaboration with the Department of Public Health Medicine and the office of Deputy Dean (Research & Innovation). The talk aimed to: (i) expose new researchers (beginners) to systematic reviews in order to cultivate interest in, and familiarize them with, this study design; (ii) inform the audience (researchers and academics) of the latest developments about systematic reviews and how to address emerging/new challenges, and (iii) further polish the skills of researchers with experience in systematic reviews.

    UiTM was privileged to have Professor Dr. Philip Baker as the speaker, who is a Professor of Epidemiology and currently teaches at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Australia. Dr. Baker completed a BSc from the University of Toronto and a PhD from QUT. His areas of expertise span across evidence-based practice and clinical epidemiology, systematic reviews, knowledge translation in public health decision-making, and public health epidemiological services that include health surveillance of communicable and chronic diseases. Dr. Baker also collaborates with the USA Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a Member of Cochrane Collaboration, and was nominated as American College of Epidemiology Fellow.

    In the opening ceremony officiated by the Dean of Faculty of Medicine, Associate Professor Dr Fazah Akhtar Hanapiah, she highlighted that the talk was an opportunity for international engagement to enhance research and academic collaborations with external academic institutions. More specifically, this would pave the way for more meaningful academic endeavors such as exchange of students and lecturers, cross-country research work and data sharing, and incorporation of diverse and global perspectives.

    Approximately 100 participants from various local universities (such as Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, and Universiti Sains Malaysia), private medical institutions and members of the public participated in the event. It is hoped that the talk has promoted a greater understanding about systematic reviews and inspired more students, academics and researchers to employ this study design in their work.

    Prepared by Dr Chen Xin Wee, Department of Public Health Medicine