What is the significance of evidence synthesis in public health program and policy?
There are various sources of evidence that can serve as a basis for improving health program and policy. Ideally, at the college level, we need to design a large study that serves as a parent study for multiple smaller studies carried out by students. By doing this, we can ensure that the studies will have sound methodologies and are orchestrated toward one big goal, and thus provide robust evidence. However, funding would be the main barrier to designing this type of research. Another approach would be to conduct evidence synthesis of existing studies, such as through systematic or rapid review. This type of review has the benefit of obtaining more detailed information from multiple studies.

What do you see as the major challenge for academics and researchers in conducting evidence synthesis?
We are aware that not everyone in the college has the skills to carry out systematic reviews or rapid reviews. However, through teamwork among faculty members from multiple disciplines, it is feasible to undertake robust reviews and produce reliable evidence. Some faculty members may not be in favor of systematic review, compared to other methods, but that does not hinder the utilization of systematic review in the college. Instead, such disagreement will bring positive effects to those who are pro systematic review to apply the method better.

What do you see as the benefits of conducting a Rapid Review course for your institution?
FPHUI has been playing its role in giving nuance to the development of health policy in Indonesia. There are a number of faculty from FPHUI who have been the initiators of various health policies in the country. In my opinion, introducing this method (rapid review) is a positive thing. Contributing to the development of health policy in Indonesia requires multiple research methods. I see rapid reviews as one of the methods that can support the role of FPHUI in inspiring the development of health program and policy.

 

Agustin Kusumayati, MD, MSc, PhD is the Dean in the Faculty of Public Health at the University of Indonesia. Dr. Kusumayati was appointed Dean in 2013 following serving as Chair of its Center for Reproductive Health Studies from 2009-2013. Since 2012 she has been involved in developing systems for certification and registration of Public Health Professionals. She was a focal point in developing the Academic Paper for the Development of Public Health Education in Indonesia and Academic Paper for the Development of Public Health Expert National Certification Exam. In 2013 she was appointed by the Indonesian Public Health Association and Indonesian Public Health Schools Association to chair the National Committee for Public Health Expert Certification Exam. She became Chairperson of the Indonesian Public Health Schools Association in 2016. She is now in a strategic position to steer the development of Public Health Education in Indonesia as well as to encourage improvement of the capacity and quality of Public Health Schools in Indonesia.