On 15th January 2013, a half day session was held at the department of Statistics, Manipal University to initiate the proceedings of PHESA (Public Health Evidence South Asia). Six medical students representing different semesters attended the session which was one of the first in a series of mentoring initiatives scheduled to kick -start the activities of PHESA. Dr Suma Nair, Associate Professor in the department of Community Medicine is the chief mentor. She has been involved with the Cochrane Collaboration as a trainer and reviewer of systematic reviews since 2004. She is a member of the Cochrane breast cancer & infectious disease group and currently has one systematic review in progress. She mentors medical students on short term research projects and currently is the PI for two ongoing community based projects in the field of cancer and tuberculosis.
Aim of the symposium was to provide an overview of challenges involved in the evaluation of public health interventions, so as to provide a strong evidence base. The symposium also discussed the role of the CPHG in synthesizing evidence of public health interventions through systematic reviews. It allowed a discussion of interest in, and the potential roles for, a Cochrane public health group satellite Centre for South Asian Region.