CESH Seminar Series featuring Livia Puljak, MD, PhD

August 9, 2018

On  Monday, September 10, 2018  the Center for Evidence Synthesis in Health  welcomes Professor Livia Puljak from University of Split School of Medicine in Split, Croatia: 

"How can we make evidence synthesis better? A focus on risk of bias and outcomes"


Monday, September 10, 2018
Brown School of Public Health 121 South Main, Room 331 [map]

Lunch will be served. 


After switching from basic research to evidence synthesis and conducting several systematic reviews, I stumbled upon inexplicable inconsistencies in risk of bias (RoB) ratings and use of outcome domains/measures in evidence synthesis. It started with attrition bias – I kept getting discrepant advice from seasoned systematic review authors about properly judging this domain of Cochrane RoB tool. I sought help in Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews, but realized that recommendations for attrition bias were vague, and judgments in published Cochrane reviews were inconsistent. So I did a series of studies in which I compared RoB judgments and supporting comments in more than 700 Cochrane reviews, first for attrition bias, and then for all RoB domains. I found that many RoB judgments in published Cochrane reviews were erroneous, i.e. not in line with recommendations from Cochrane Handbook.

Then, after a Cochrane review group changed outcomes three times within 8 months, I got interested in core outcome set and recommended outcome domains/measures, with multiple studies showing mess in this respect too. Once we know things are not good, the question is what can we do about it; how can we make evidence synthesis better?

About the Presenter:

Livia Puljak, MD, PHD is professor at the University of Split School of Medicine in Split, Croatia. She graduated from medical school in 2002, and then went off to do basic research – first at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas as a research fellow, and then at the Laboratory for Pain Research at the School in Croatia where she currently works. After continuously failing to find satisfaction in basic research, she gradually switched research fields, pursuing evidence synthesis and methodological research. She has conducted a number of systematic reviews and, recognizing the numerous obstacles and lack of justification for why things are done the way they are done, she has pursued methodological research on a wide range of topics related to evidence synthesis. Prof. Puljak was the inaugural director and founder of Cochrane Croatia; currently serving there as knowledge translation coordinator.

To view Dr. Puljak's CV, click here