Professor Taryn Young's Inaugural lecture at Stellenbosch University

22 Oct 2019

Professor Taryn Young is Head of Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and Director of the Centre for Evidence-based Health Care at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She is also Deputy Director of READ-It.

Taryn Young has expertise in evidence-informed healthcare, specialism in public health, strong leadership skills and a driving passion to engage and enhance the capacity of students, researchers as well as key decision-makers to break the barriers to the successful application of research evidence findings to healthcare. She collaborates with institutions in the African region to promote evidence-informed practice and policy in Africa, taking into account the unique attributes of the region and the relevance of proposed activities. She has an exceptional track record of research success, is an NRF-rated scientist and a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. She serves on various steering and advisory committees and values excellence, integrity, collaboration and teamwork.

Background on her inaugural lecture

Title: Influencing the evidence ecosystem – a reflection

The evidence ecosystem represents the dynamic and complex interactions between evidence production, evidence synthesis, and evidence translation within the broader complex healthcare context. In this inaugural lecture, I will share experiences and reflect on initiatives implemented in the past two decades to influence the evidence ecosystem. Various factors impact on the flow of evidence from primary to secondary research to policy to implementation. A key element is the conduct of regionally relevant and robust research addressing priority health problems. Systematic reviews are well recognised as good evidence sources and efficiencies of their use in policymaking have been argued extensively. To increase the uptake of research evidence in healthcare policy and practice, facilitators and interventions can target policymakers, researchers, exchanges between them and their environment. Key to these are interpersonal relationships and communication between research users and producers. Dedicated capacity development initiatives play a critical role to support both the conduct and the use of research evidence – especially equipping the next generation of healthcare practitioners, healthcare managers, policymakers and researchers to be critical thinkers and lifelong learners. Above all, working together, sharing best practices and lessons learned, minimising unnecessary duplication and fostering equitable partnerships will help us to go further in our quest to advance health and healthcare in the African region.

This report first appeared on the Stellenbosch University website