Antonio holds a BSc in Psychology and an MSc in Research Methods and Implementation in Psychology and Health, both from the University of Granada, Spain. He has also been awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Granada, for his work in the Andalusian School of Public Health. During this time, he was part of several research projects, mostly focused on health inequalities and health systems, prior to joining UCL. Antonio has particular interest in research methods in health, mostly systematic reviews and meta-analysis.
Elena is a Senior Health Economics. She holds a PhD in Economics and Management from Padua University, a Master degree in Economics and Management of Health Care Services from Ferrara University and a first degree in Economics from Padua University.
Prior to coming to UCL she was a Research Associate at the Imperial College Business School, working on the economic evaluation of the Collaborations for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) for Northwest London.
She previously held a research post at the Department of Economics, Ferrara University, where she collaborated to a multi-year research project and undertook an economic evaluation of a Regional Colorectal Cancer Screening Program.
Preventer inhalers (inhaled corticosteroids) are a common medication for asthma, and people get the full benefit of the medication by taking their prescribed doses correctly. We know many patients struggle to take enough doses effectvely, which impacts their ability to manage the condition.
Could pharmacists hold the key to helping patients take medicines effectively and in the right doses?
Our latest BITE – a postcard “need to know” summary of our research – presents the findings of our review of the evidence on whether pharmacists involved in asthma care could help people take their preventer inhaler as prescribed, therefore giving them the full benefit of their medication.
We recently collaborated with colleagues at Peninsula CLAHRC to deliver a successful ‘Beyond Searching’ course.
Members of the PenCLAHRC Evidence Synthesis Team (EST) travelled to London to work with CLAHRC North Thames’ Dr Antonio Rojas–Garcia in delivering the workshop to 19 librarians from the NHS and various universities.
Beyond Searching was devised 5 years ago by members of the EST who have been running annual workshops ever since. The course is designed to show health information professionals that they already have the skills to effectively contribute to systematic reviews – reviews aiming to find as much as possible of the research relevant to the particular research question, and to identify what can reliably be said on the basis of these studies. The training gives them the confidence to get involved in the process and to advise others.
‘Librarians and other information professionals are highly skilled and motivated individuals with a drive to learn about new technologies and ways of working. They already have the skills needed to contribute to systematic reviews so our course is more about how they apply those skills. ‘It is always a joy to teach this workshop – often we learn a lot ourselves in the process – and it was particularly good this time to get the chance to collaborate with colleagues from CLAHRC North Thames.’
– Morwenna Rogers (EST member)
This was the second year that the course followed a flipped classroom model, which EST members learned about during their visit to the University of Michigan two years ago. The model frees up classroom time for discussions and active learning, by making some of the foundation lectures and reading material available to participants in advance.
Attendees were asked to complete a series of online tasks prior to the course, which introduced them to key concepts of systematic reviewing and comprehensive searching. This enabled attendees to focus on more detailed aspects of search techniques during the workshop.
Guest speaker Claire Stansfield from the EPPI-Centre was also invited to discuss the use of automation (employing machines, computers, or robots to help researchers identify relevant papers), and its implication for reviews in the future.
The beyond searching team were delighted with the positive feedback they received. One attendee said that it was:
“The best training [they] have ever attended”
Another attendee planned to use the knowledge she had gained to change practice in her own place of work, and another thought that the flipped classroom model was excellent preparation for the face to face teaching day.
Dr Rojas – Garcia (below) praised the cross CLAHRC co-operation behind the delivery of this workshop, remarking:
‘It was great to spend the day collaborating with colleagues from PenCLAHRC. I considered it a very positive experience, it has been really encouraging to see how other colleagues teach about systematic reviews.’
To read more about the Beyond Searching workshop collaboration, visit the EST blog.
CLAHRC North Thames PhD Marissa Mes enjoyed success at the prestigious Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) of the Asthma UK Centre for Applied Research (AUK CAR).
Marissa won best poster presentation when she showcased her work to delegates during the conference (below) – her research focus is assessing whether pharmacists are a suitable delivery channel for an intervention aimed at asthma patients to improve their adherence to preventer inhalers.
Our congratulations to Marissa on her prize.
Marissa’s fellow CLAHRC PhD Caroline Katzer, who is developing and evaluating an intervention to improve adherence to inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in adult asthma patients also showcased her work at the conference via both a poster and an oral presentation, which generated a lot of discussion, and was among those complimented on the quality of her presentations.
Both PhDs are funded by the CLAHRC and affiliated to AUKCAR.
Decision-makers in public health can be confronted with a huge volume of data, evidence, reviews and summaries – from local and national sources. There is also an acknowledged gap between evidence and policy in public health.
In a recent blog on the EPPI centre website CLAHRC researchers Dylan Kneale and Antonio Rojas-García reflect on their work exploring the use of evidence in local public health decision-making – and raise the question – How much research is being wasted because it is not generalisable in local settings?
While reduced resources make judicious use of evidence more important than ever when deciding how and where to apply resources, researchers also need to understand, and better communicate, the generalisability of their research evidence to decision-makers working locally.
A new CLAHRC publication offers valuable insight into the types of evidence used by decision-makers working in public health. In 2013, responsibility for public health services and planning shifted from the “health” boundary to local authority control. These services can range from health checks to open access sexual health.
CLAHRC researchers examined English local public health decision-making in a new review of what evidence is used and how by those planning, designing and commissioning services.
The review, published in a new paper in the Journal Implementation Science identifies three clear trends in evidence use
- the primacy of local evidence
- the important role of local experts in providing evidence and knowledge, and
- the high value placed on local evaluation evidence despite the varying methodological rigour.
Barriers to the use of research evidence included issues around access and availability of applicable research evidence, and indications that the use of evidence could be perceived as a bureaucratic process.
This is part of a wider project entitled Exploring decision-making processes and knowledge requirements in public health
Read the full paper
Kneale et al. Implementation Science (2017) 12:53
The use of evidence in English local public health decision-making: a systematic scoping review
Jasmina joined the RPT in January 2018. With undergraduate, MSc and DPhil degrees in applied mathematics, Jasmina’s research focuses on applying different quantitative techniques to explore a variety of biological and physiological systems, comminicable and non-communicable diseases and answer emerging public health and healthcare questions. In conjunction with her role within the RPT, Jasmina also holds Honorary Lectureships at the Department of Mathematics and Institute for Global Health at UCL and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), as well as an Honorary Academic Researcher Post at Public Health England.