Summer Institute for Systematic Reviews in Nutrition for Global Policy Making

WHO in collaboration with Cornell University, the Cochrane Collaboration, and Micronutrient Initiative
Ithaca, NY, United States of America, 7-18 July 2014
Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University Campus

Scope and purpose

As of 2010, all the public health recommendations published by World Health Organization (WHO) have to strictly comply with the methodology described in the WHO handbook for guideline development. This process, which is followed for nutrition guidelines, has been recently summarized and includes several steps ranging from establishing steering and guideline groups and prioritizing needs, to planning the implementation and updating the guidelines. Systematic reviews following the Cochrane methodology are used to assess the evidence for outcomes that are critical for decision-making.

The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology is used to assess the overall quality of evidence and establish the strength of the recommendations, considering the balance among risks and benefits, values, preferences, and costs . These guidelines, along with systematic reviews of the evidence, are made available to all countries through the WHO electronic Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA).

The leadership role of WHO in the area of evidence-informed nutrition guidelines, and the current high level of attention being given to nutrition through several commitments such as the 2008–2013 Action plan for the global strategy for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases.

The Global strategy on diet, physical activity and health, as endorsed by the Fifty-seventh World Health Assembly resolution WHA 57.17 , and the Comprehensive implementation plan on maternal, infant and young child nutrition, as endorsed by the Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly resolution WHA 65.6, have helped the field of public health nutrition progress more quickly.

The WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development has worked with the Cochrane editorial office and various groups within the Cochrane Collaboration. The Cochrane Collaboration is an international network of more than 28 000 people from over 120 countries working together to help health-care providers, policy-makers, and patients, their advocates and carers, make well-informed decisions about health care. This collaboration hosts the Cochrane Library and CENTRAL, the largest collection of records of randomized controlled trials in the world. Currently, the collaboration has 53 review groups, which publish reviews that fall within their scope in the Cochrane Library.

The collaboration also includes many other Cochrane entities that support the work of the review groups, 16 of which cover methodological issues. On 24 January 2011, WHO awarded the Cochrane Collaboration a seat on the World Health Assembly, allowing the collaboration to provide input on WHO health resolutions.

Cochrane reviews must be undertaken by more than one person. Review teams should include people with expertise in the topic area being reviewed, as well as someone with experience in the methodology of systematic review. The protocol development reviewed by editors may go through several iterations before going to external review. Protocols for Cochrane reviews are published before the completed systematic review in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

WHO, in collaboration with Cornell University, the Cochrane Collaboration, and Micronutrient Initiative, is convening the Summer Institute for systematic reviews in nutrition for global policy-making in Ithaca, NY, United States of America to be held on 7-18 July 2014.

This unique institute will bring together experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Cochrane Collaboration, Cornell University, and the Micronutrient Initiative to train participants in the development of systematic reviews of nutrition interventions in public health. Systematic reviews following the Cochrane methodology are used to ensure that WHO recommendations are informed on sound evidence. Participants will use the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) tool to assess the overall quality of evidence.

The WHO/Cochrane Collaboration/Cornell University Summer Institute for systematic reviews in nutrition for global policy-making is intended for nutrition scientists and practitioners with interest in the application of scientific evidence in policy making. Applications from women and from nationals of low- and middle-income countries are particularly encouraged.

The objectives of this programme are:
  • To update and develop technical skills and knowledge in systematic reviews of nutrition and nutrition-sensitive interventions;
  • To discuss the process for global policy making, nutrition, and evidence assessment and its challenges
  • Provide a hands-on training in the development of Cochrane systematic reviews on a topic of immediate global health relevance in nutrition and public health.

For additional information and registration please submit a CV to by 16 May 2014, and state a topic of interest. Once accepted, you will receive a link with additional information. Partial financial support will be available for a limited number of participants.

For additional information