[This post was originally published by the University of Johannesburg on April 19, 2018.]
The Africa Centre for Evidence (ACE) in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) is delighted to welcome two new members of staff – Prof Sandy Oliver from University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom and Prof John Lavis from McMaster University in Canada – as Distinguished Visiting Professors for the next five years.
“As distinguished visiting professors, both Prof Oliver and Prof Lavis will contribute to the academic life at ACE and the wider UJ community through their research activities, publications, seminars and engagement with staff and post-graduate students,” says UJ’s Prof Ruth Stewart, Director of the Africa Centre for Evidence.
“These visiting professorships were established by UJ as part of a prestigious program of lifting the global excellence and stature of UJ. Core to this initiative is the strengthening of research capabilities, and thus increasing research output, impact and citation. The visiting professorships also augur well with the Vice-Chancellor resolve to ensure that UJ is on equal footing as a university of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” explained Prof Stewart.
Prof Stewart added, “With our vision to reduce poverty and inequality in our region by increasing the production and application of research evidence that is both useful and used, ACE is excited to collaborate with these two globally highly regarded scholars.”
Prof Sandy Oliver is Director of the Social Science Research Unit at UCL Institute of Education, and Deputy Director of the EPPI-Centre (Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Coordinating Centre) in London. For thirty years her interests have focused on the interaction between researchers and people making decisions in their professional and personal lives. With this in mind she has been developing methods to collate knowledge from whole bodies of research (systematic reviews), not just single studies. Most recently this has been in the area of international health systems and international development, where she has conducted systematic reviews and built up a programme of support for research teams elsewhere conducting reviews. She is a member of the Board of the Campbell Collaboration, a Cochrane editor with their Consumers and Communication Review Group, and a member of the Centre for Excellence in Development Impact and Learning. She works with the UK’s Department for International Development and the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research at the World Health Organisation (WHO) to build capacity in systematic reviewing in low- and middle-income countries.
Prof John Lavis holds the Canada Research Chair in Evidence-Informed Health Systems, is Professor in the Department of Health Evidence and Impact, a Member of the Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis, and Associate Member of the Department of Political Science at McMaster University. He is Associate Director of the Michael G. DeGroote – Cochrane Canada Centre and also is the Director of the McMaster Health Forum. He co-directs the WHO Collaborating Centre for Evidence-Informed Policy, and is co-chair of the WHO-sponsored Evidence-Informed Policy Network (EVIPNet) Global Steering Group. Prof Lavis holds an MD from Queen’s University, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and a PhD from Harvard University. He is committed to helping policy-makers and stakeholders to: 1) learn how to make decisions based on the best available research evidence; 2) find evidence through the McMster Health Forum’s own products and the best available sources of pre-appraised, synthesised research evidence (including the Forum’s Health Systems Evidenceand Social Systems Evidence and the Forum-supported and citizen-targeted McMaster Optimal Aging Portal); 3) spark action through stakeholder dialogues, citizen panels and more; 4) embed supports for evidence-informed decision-making, by institutionalising promising and proven approaches; and 5) evaluate innovations in supporting evidence-informed decision-making.