Dr Mona Nasser
Associate Professor of Evidence Based Dentistry
Peninsula Dental School (Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry)
Associate Professor in Evidence based Dentistry
I am the Associate Professor in Evidence Based Dentistry in Peninsula Dental School, Plymouth University (from April 2011), a skydiver, pilot and Iyengar yoga teacher.
I give lectures on Critical Appraisal and Evidence based Healthcare to undergraduate dental students, MBA students and MSc students. I have taught evidence based health care to undergraduate, postgraduate students, faculties and researchers in UK, Brazil, Iran, Bahrain, Turkey and Germany. I was the founder and currently a co-convenor . Before, joining the dental school, I worked as a research associate and methodologist in the Department of Health Information at the German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) ,the German equivalent of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE)in the UK and an Iyengar yoga teacher at Tehran Iyengar Yoga Institute.
I am involved in the following institutes and initiatives:
- Affiliated researcher with the Cognition Institute, Earth Sustainability Institute, Transtechnology research group and Clinical Trials and Population Studies Group in Plymouth University.
- Founder and co-convenor of the CochranePriority Setting Methods Group
- Steering group member of the the Evidence based Research Network
- Methods Editor, of the Aerospace Medicine Systematic Review Group
I qualified DDS(Doctorate in Dental Surgery)from the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in 2005. My doctoral dissertation focused on the antimicrobial activities of several endodontic materials working in the microbiology lab in the Pasteur Institute in Tehran. I have subsequently done a PhD with Plymouth University on "setting priorities for conducting and updating systematic reviews". I have also done a MSc in Dental Public Health with King’s College of London/University of London, a postgraduate certificate in clinical education with Plymouth University and astronomy modules with University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN).
My current key research interests:
- Conducing meta-research on how research funders contribute to reducing research waste
- Conceptualising Oral Health Inequalities and evaluating the impact of system level interventions on oral health inequality
- Research priority setting methodology
- Conducting and implementing systematic reviews on the effectiveness of health care interventions and develop methods in this field
- Interdisciplinary research to address priority research questions
In my free time, I fly planes, skydive and study astronomy and aerospace sciences. I am planning to fly around the world in 2019/2020 with a single engine plane.
These are two videos around my funders project and the aerospace medicine systematic review group:
Conducing meta-research on how research funders contribute to reducing research waste - Meta-research is an evolving scientific discipline that aims to evaluate and improve research practices. I lead the work around funding agencies as part of the wider Reduce Research Waste initiative (REWARD – www.researchwaste.net ). The REWARD initiative is an international collaboration with academics from around the world e.g. Stanford University(USA), Toronto University (Canada), Bond University (Australia), University of Edinburgh (Scotland). For the funding project, I work with ZonMW (a key healthcare research funder in Netherlands), National Institute for Health Research(NIHR) (a key health care research funder in UK), French ministry of Health,James Lind Alliance (UK), Queen’s University Belfast (Northern Ireland), Bond University(Australia), Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Norway), Bergen University College (Norway) and University of Southern Denmark (Denmark). I have published the results of this project in Lancet.
Oral Health Inequalities - Measuring the impact of the Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PSDE) and the Dental School on oral health inequalities in Devon and Cornwall. I received funding from PDSE to conduct this project.
Cochrane Priority Setting Methods Group ( http://priority.cochrane.org ): I conduct methodological and implementation research as part of an international collaboration of researchers and stakeholders with an interest in research priority setting methodology. This also included an interdisciplinary project as part of the larger Cognovo project ( www.cognovo.eu ) with colleagues from the arts, humanities and cognitive science. The project looked at how the interactive design approach to biomedicine can raise new ways to approach research questions that to address clinical problems. The Cochrane Priority Setting Methods group is an international collaboration led by me between Plymouth University, John Hopkins University (USA), Cambridge University (UK), UCL (UK), Ottawa University(Canada), Bihar Monitoring and Evaluation Project (India), Modena University(Italy), Melbourne University (Australia). The Journal of Clinical Epidemiology agreed to devote a special issue to research priority setting to publish my work along with my research collaborators. The results of this project were part of a REF impact story that was submitted in 2014 and praised by the REF panel for its reach and significance. There are organisations around the world that use the publications to implement new approaches to set priorities in their organisation.
Conducting and implementing systematic reviews on the effectiveness of healthcare interventions and develop methods in this field - (e.g. rehabilitation of astronauts as part of the newly established aerospace medicine systematic review group, local consensus process for implementing guidelines, updating the mandibular fracture review, updating the community-based interventions for promoting child oral health review), developing new methods on how to conduct systematic reviews (e.g. developing methods on the use of systematic reviews to inform future research, comparing the Cochrane Library with the Global Burden of Disease). These projects are part of international collaborations with Norwegian Knowledge Centre (Norway), University of Melbourne (Australia), UCL (UK), Northumbria University (UK), European Space Agency (Germany), University of Colorado (USA), University of Washington (USA) and the Royal Dental Hospital of Melbourne (Australia). I have published these projects in well-known academic journals e.g. the BMJ (impact factor 2015- 19.697), the Cochrane Library(impact factor 2015- 6.035) and JAMA dermatology (impact factor 2015 - 5.097).I am also on the Steering group of “the Global Health Trials Methodology Research Agenda: a priority setting exercise” project. The project intends to identify priorities on trial methodology. The other steering group members are based in University of Birmingham (UK), University of Oxford (UK), University of Bristol (UK), Queen’s University of Belfast (Northern Ireland), South African Medical Research Council (South Africa), Cochrane Innovations (UK),University of College London (UK), University of Liverpool (UK), Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (China).
Interdisciplinary research to address priority research questions – I worked with academics from different fields to address questions that were prioritised as part of a process of stakeholder engagement. One such project,as mentioned above, was methodological research on how research priorities are set. Others were priority questions identified through consultation with dentists: environmental sustainability in dental practices working with experts in this field in the faculty of health; and, in collaboration with psychologists, looking at the impact of fear and anxiety on dentists’ performance.
REF2014 Case impact stories:
Advancing methods for prioritising healthresearch (REF2014 impact story) - The results of my priority setting research projects highlighted the need forfurther research to evaluate and compare methods for setting priorities forresearch. This work led to an organizational change in the CochraneCollaboration. The Cochrane Collaboration is the leading evidence based healthcare organisation in the world. Systematic reviews published by the CochraneCollaboration are the most reliable source of evidence used by healthcareprofessionals around the world and are used widely to develop national andinternational clinical guidelines or health policies. The results of my project formed the basisfor developing a new Methods Group within the Cochrane Collaboration: TheCochrane Priority Setting Methods Group (launched in 2011). This Group works totranslate the research on priority-setting processes mentioned above, intopolicy guidance for research groups within Cochrane. The policy guidance isdirected at over 100 Cochrane groups around the world. The importance of theresearch was recognized by the Collaboration in awarding me the Bill SilvermanPrize in 2012 and by Dame Sally Davies (at that time she was the Chief MedicalOfficer of NHS England) at the UK & Ireland Cochrane Contributors meetingin March 2013. She highlighted my work as a key development in Cochrane toensure that its reviews are relevant to the needs of the NHS. I also shared theresults of the priority-setting projects as they were conducted throughworkshops to communicate key issues that emerge, to raise awareness, and toincrease public engagement in research. In 2012, Cochrane Canada and the PanAmerican Health Organisations (PAHO) approached me to develop and organiseonline training resources on research priority setting, informed by ResearchPriority Setting (RPS) Research. These resources are available online at nocost to all global health researchers and Cochrane groups. The UK CochraneCentre requested an additional training session for the 25 UK-based CochraneReview Groups, and I organized it at the UK and Ireland Cochrane ContributorsMeeting in 2013. My research was used todevelop training resources on RPS Methods for the Yorkshire and Humber ResearchDesign Service, part of the NHS that supports researchers to develop and designhigh quality research proposals. It was also used to inform the development ofa research priority setting process for systematic reviews on consumer andcommunication topics in La Trobe University (Australia). Following thepublication of the results, NETSCC/NIHR has approached me for advice on usingthe research to inform their processes. I am also on the steering group of the Evidence-Based Research network,which advocates for use of systematic reviews to inform future research. As partof my commitment to both research initiatives, I worked with colleagues anddeveloped and implemented successful processes and all our research studentsnow follow an evidence-based approach in their work. Our research studentsselect their key questions based on consultation with stakeholders or through apriority setting process, and then conduct systematic reviews before decidingwhether to embark on additional primary research. I am doing more work on howto make more systematic use of existing evidence to inform decisions aboutfuture research.
Research Degree Supervision
· Anastasios Plessas – Impactof stress on the practice of dentistry (part-time ResM student) – Director ofstudies (Started Oct 2015)
· Zoe Allen – exploring the referral interface between general dental practice and salaried dentalservices (part-time PhD student) –co- supervisor (Started Jan 2013)
· Agatha Haines – Ideas exchange: Understanding the human object (full-time PhD student)(co-supervisor) http://trans-techresearch.net/agatha-haines(part of the cognovo project www.cognovo.eu)(Started April 2014)
· Nick Perez - cinematicinterface for cognitive exploration in (medical) simulation (part-time PhD student)(co-supervisor) http://www.trans-techresearch.net/research/phd-research/phd-candidates/nick-peres/
Grants & contracts
Awards, contracts & Grants:
Principal Investigator, Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE), Impact of a community and patient-centred dental school on the existence and gradient of oral health inequalities in Devon and Cornwall. £92,922
Co-investigator, Dental Education and Training limited, Developing sustainability in dental practice andeducation through an action research approach. £8000
Co-investigator, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), A systematic review of physical activity foralcohol and substance use disorders: evidence synthesis with stakeholderengagement to formulate practical recommendations. £ 149,946
Co-investigator, General Medical Council. Understanding differential attainment across medical training pathways (narrative synthesis). £34,837. 2015
2nd place, British Dental Editors Forum (BDEF) Young Dental Communicator Award 2014.
Co-investigator. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) contract. Production of an evidence review of approaches for conveying oral health promotion messages by dental teams £54,628. 2014-2015.
CO-investigator. ISSR Small Collaborative Award - How can dentistry be sustainable? An exploratory study. £9790 (Co-investigator). 2014-2015.
Co-investigator. EU FP7 Marie Curie Initial Training Network (FP7-PEOPLE-2013-ITN-IDP 604764; 2013-17 €4.1m) "CogNovo: Cognitive Innovation". Denham S (Coordinator, Plymouth University); Harris, Waddington, Hanoch, Dales, Nasser (Plymouth), Katsikopoulos, Beck (Berlin), Djulbegovic (Florida): Project 14. Irrationality and Decision Making.
Bill Silverman Prize 2012 for the research project (Nasser M, Welch V, Tugwell P, Ueffing E, Doyle J, Waters E.Ensuring relevance for Cochrane reviews: evaluating processes and methods for prioritizing topics for Cochrane reviews. J Clin Epidemiol 2012 Apr 19).
Principal investigator, Developing a research programme for empiricial studies on health research priority setting methodology awarded by International Research, Networking and Collaboration, Round 3 scheme through University of Plymouth (2011-2012)
Collaborator, A mixed-method study to investigate the referral behaviours and attitudes of NHS general dental practitioners in making referrals from primary dental care to specialist surgical services for the extraction of teeth in North Devon, NHS North Devon (2012)
Co-investigator, Prioritising Cochrane review topics to reduce the know-do gap in low- and middle-income countries, The Cochrane Collaboration prioritisation fund, (2007-2008)
Cochrane Developing Countries Stipend. The Cochrane Collaboration 2007
Silver Medal in National Student Biology Olympiad (Iran), 1999
- Plymouth Inequalities Group
- VOYAGE: Rural and urban ageing and health inequalities
Key publications are highlightedJournals
Other academic activities
- Shamliyan TA, Kane RL, Ansari MT, Raman G,Berkman ND, Grant M, Janes G, Maglione M, Moher D, Nasser M, RobinsonKA, Segal JB, Tsouros S. Development of Quality Criteria To EvaluateNontherapeutic Studies of Incidence, Prevalence, or Risk Factors of Chronic Diseases: Pilot Studyof New Checklists [Internet]. Rockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Researchand Quality (US); 2011 Jan. Available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bookshelf/br.fcgi?book=methresdisease
- NasserM , Sawicki P. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care: Germany. Issue Brief (Commonw Fund). 2009 Jul;57:1-12. The full report was published on the Commonwealth fund website on 28 July 2009 http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/Publications/Other/2009/Comparative-Effectiveness-Across-Countries.aspx
- Karimkhani C, Boyers LN, NasserM, Dellavalle R. Mapping research prioritization by The CochraneCollaboration to Global Burden of Disease 2010 data. Cochrane Methods. IssueSeptember 2014. Available at: http://www.thecochranelibrary.com/SpringboardWebApp/userfiles/ccoch/file/Files/Coch_Methods2014.pdf
- NasserM , Crowe S, Welch V, Ueffing E.Proposed Agenda setting and priority setting methods group. Cochrane Methods.Cochrane DB Syst Rev 2011 Suppl 1: 37-38. http://www.cochrane.org/sites/default/files/newsletters/coch_meth_2011.zip
- NasserM . Priority setting in theCochrane Collaboration. Cochrane Methods. Cochrane DB Syst Rev 2010 Suppl 1: 6. http://www.cochrane.org/sites/default/files/uploads/Newsletters/Cochrane%20Methods%202010.pdf
- Fox DM, Nasser M.Informing the politics of prioritizing (and funding) systematic reviews:another potential step for the Agenda and Priority Setting Methods Group. Cochrane Methods Supplement 2013. ISSN: 2044-4702. http://www.thecochranelibrary.com/SpringboardWebApp/userfiles/ccoch/file/Files/Cochrane%20Methods%202013.pdf
- Pooler J, Nasser M. Challenges in conducting priority setting exercises for Cochrane entities. Cochrane Methods Supplement 2013. ISSN: 2044-4702. http://www.thecochranelibrary.com/SpringboardWebApp/userfiles/ccoch/file/Files/Cochrane%20Methods%202013.pdf
- Nasser M, Tibi A, Savage-Smith E. Ibn Sina’s Canon of Medicine: 11th century rules for assessing the effects of drugs. The James Lind Library.(www.jameslindlibrary.org). Accessed Sunday 6 July 2008.
- Nasser M ,Tibi A (2006). Ibn Hindu and the science of medicine. The James Lind Library ( www.jameslindlibrary.org ).
I wrote blog post for the following websites
1) Cochrane Blog - What is a good topic for a Cochrane Review? Wha tis a “real uncertainty”? http://www.cochrane.org/news/blog/what-good-topic-cochrane-review-what-%E2%80%9Creal-uncertainty%E2%80%9D
2) British Medical Journal (BMJ) blogs - How can research publication be improved? http://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2015/09/30/mona-nasser-how-can-research-publication-be-improved/
3) ISSR blog (currently ISSR is called Earth Sustainability Institute)- Uncertainties, knowledge gaps and research priorities. Uncertainties, knowledge gaps and research prioritieshttp://issrplymuni.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/june-2013-uncertainties-knowledge-gaps.html
There is a short interview with me in the Anniversary video of the Cochrane Collaboration talking about the Priority Setting Methods Group at time 1:40.
I have also been asked by the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO), which serves as the regional office for World Health Organisation (WHO) in the Americas, to host and run four webinars on my work on research priority setting. I ran the webinars but did not edit or prepare the videos.
1) Session one– Meet the Methods Group: An introduction to the Cochrane Priority Setting Methods Group
2) Session two– An Equity Lens for Priority-Setting Approaches in Systematic Reviews
3) Priority Setting for Cochrane Review Groups: Tips, Tricks, and Case Studies
Social Media - I run a personal blog http://monanasser.workdpress.com and a twitter account@monalisa1n. I talk about my research along with my personal interests inaviation. This makes the public more engaged. With others, I also run researchfocus twitter accounts @capsmg (priority setting) @ebrnetwork (evidence basedresearch network) and sometimes curate twitter chats on issues faced byCochrane authors (#cochraneauthor). As part of this project, I curated otherresearch-focused twitter accounts. These are the reports:
Introduction - Smiling wide and flying high – Mona Nasser joinsReal Scientists http://realscientists.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/smiling-wide-and-flying-high-mona-nasser-joins-real-scientists/
Final report - Crowdsourcing the best in science: thanks andfarewell to Mona Nasserhttp://realscientists.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/crowdsourcing-the-best-in-science-thanks-and-farewell-to-mona-nasser/
Curating @wepublichealth 22-28 Sep 2014http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/wepublichealth-an-experiment-in-citizen-journalism-meets-public-health/
Curating @wethehumanities 12-19 Jan 2015 https://wethehumanities.wordpress.com/2015/01/10/12th-19th-january-mona-nasser/