Systematic Reviews Program


Systematic reviews are a cross-cutting core research theme of the Centre. Over the past 14 years we have developed our expertise in this area and have been successful in partnering with clinicians and policy makers.

The primary objectives are to:

  • Conduct high quality reviews that will have an impact on clinical research and policy decision in health care
  • Promote knowledge and skills pertaining to the understanding and development of systematic reviews
  • Support members of the UBC and VCHRI research community

In all of our activity we are interested in knowledge translation and in this actively seek out interaction between researchers and decision makers/clinicians.


The core team is composed of Stirling Bryan, Mimi Doyle-Waters and Penny Brasher with additional support from Michael Schulzer and Mark FitzGerald. We are actively engaged in systematic review research, teaching review methodology and supporting health care teams wanting to apply for synthesis grants and undertake their own review.  Our knowledge and expertise extends to all components of a systematic review:

  • Proposal writing
  • Question formulation
  • Protocol development
  • Search strategy formulation
  • Selection of studies
  • Data extraction and quality assessment
  • Meta-analysis
  • Critical appraisal

Showcase Projects

A Systematic Review of Research Evidence on: (a) 24-hour Registered Nurse Availability in Long-term Care, and (b) the Relationship between Nurse Staffing and Quality in Long-term Care

Funder: Expedited Knowledge Synthesis program of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research

Commissioning province: Saskatchewan

This project focused on the policy alternatives to 24-hour availability of RNs/RPNs in special care homes, and the implications of each alternative in terms of care quality and resident outcomes. We provided:

  • a review of existing nurse staffing regulations relating to 24-hour nurse staffing in long term care facilities
  • a literature review relating to the 24-hour RNs/RPNs coverage and
  • a review of the broader nurse staffing literature.

What are the most effective ways to measure patient health outcomes of primary health care integration through PROM (Patient Reported Outcome Measurement) instruments?

Funder: Expedited Knowledge Synthesis program of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research

Commissioning province: British Columbia

A review was conducted to ascertain the utility of generic instruments for the measurement of patient reported outcomes in obtaining reliable, valid and useful information from patients for assessing the impact of primary and community health care reform initiatives in Canada.

Synthesizing knowledge on disinvestment processes in health care

Funder: Knowledge Synthesis Grant, the Canadian Institutes for Health Research

A review of the literature was undertaken in order to develop an inventory of empirical cases of attempted disinvestment within priority setting processes, both successful and not.