Evidence Review and Synthesis Centres

Through an agreement with the Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital, the Public Health Agency of Canada funds two Evidence Review and Synthesis Centres (ERSCs) for the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care:

University of Alberta ERSC, and the University of Ottawa ERSC.

  1. Dr. Lisa Hartling (PI), University of Alberta;
  2. Dr. Melissa Brouwers (PI), Dr. Julian Little (PI), and Dr. David Moher (PI), School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa


The ERSCs appraise and synthesize the latest data on clinical interventions, providing the Task Force with a state-of-the-art evidence summary on which to base its guidelines. Other ERSC activities include the following:

  • Developing an analytic framework and key questions in collaboration with the Task Force;
  • Performing scientific literature reviews;
  • Synthesizing scientific evidence in a transparent and reproducible manner;
  • Performing decision analyses, meta-analyses and cost effectiveness analysis;
  • Obtaining peer review from national and international experts;
  • Writing reports to summarize the evidence;
  • Providing technical assistance to help potential users translate evidence-based knowledge into clinical practice;
  • Conducting research on the methodology and process of developing systematic reviews and health technology assessments;
  • Developing, implementing and evaluating evidence-based tools to improve clinical practice;
  • Identifying and commenting on gaps in the literature, as well as suggesting potential research questions, study designs, and analytical methods to address these gaps in future studies; and
  • Publishing results of reports in peer-reviewed journals, presentations at conferences and preparation of special journal supplements.

Each year, the Task Force determines the scope of topics to be assessed by each ERSC, the type of synthesis and the timelines for their completion. The Task Force also provides guidance to the ERSCs regarding review methodology and criteria.