Shaping the Symposium Scientific Program

Shaping the Symposium Scientific Program

Blog Series: A Peek Into the World of the Symposium Program Working Group

Shaping the Symposium Scientific Program

Dr. Daniel Maceira – HSG Regional Board Representative for the Americas and Chair of the Symposium Program Working Group – shares a peek into the work of the HSR 2022 PWG through a series of blogs to highlight the program planning and realization for the upcoming Symposium in Bogota, Colombia.  

We are pleased to share that we received over 1,764 abstracts and session proposals across all the submission streams for the Seventh Global Symposium on Health Systems Research (HSR 2022).

  • 242 organized sessions abstracts received
  • 1,474 individual session abstracts received
  • 48 capacity strengthening abstracts received

On behalf of the Symposium Program Working Group (PWG) for HSR 2022, I would like to outline the process of decision-making around the selection of abstracts and the shaping of the scientific program.

As part of HSR tradition, our first step was to establish a Scientific Committee to participate in a systematic peer review process. The 217-member Scientific Committee was assembled for HSR 2022 and tasked with the responsibility to review all abstracts. Each abstract was reviewed and scored (out of 5) by two to three committee members independently, using the criteria outlined in the call for abstracts. The average of the review scores was then generated and used to create a preliminary ranking.

The PWG members used the preliminary ranking in a second-round review of ‘high-scoring’ abstracts – those that scored 4 out of 5 and higher. Shortlisted abstracts from the same author were retrieved and the lower-scoring abstract was reassigned to the poster presentation category. This was done to ensure that the maximum number of people are given a chance to share their research as an oral presentation.

Next, we screened abstracts to ensure adequate representation in the shortlist of each of the four Symposium sub-themes.

Finally, we reviewed to ensure adequate representation of research from all regions, especially regions historically less well represented at HSR symposia.  As in our prior Symposia, there was a significantly higher number of submissions focused on the region of Africa compared to other regions.  In keeping with the symposia’s commitment to equity and to ensure a truly global event with a balance in the content, focus and opportunities for knowledge-sharing, the PWG also made a decision to prioritise some high-scoring abstracts focused on other regions.  While the strength of research on the African region is still well reflected in the proportion of accepted abstracts, this process helped to increase the number of accepted abstracts focused on the Middle East region by 45%, the Western Pacific region by 35%, the Latin America and the Caribbean region by 25%, and South Asian region by 15%.

Throughout the entire process, we focused on equity and maintained the abstract selection be based on the three key concepts:

  1. Quality of the abstract
  2. Balanced representation of all regions in the program
  3. Transparency

Of the 1,474 individual abstracts submitted, a total of 911 abstracts were selected; 261 for oral presentations and 644 for poster presentations, including multimedia submissions.

Correspondence with HSR2022’s sub-themes:

  • 287 focus on The politics and policies of health systems
  • 103 on Intersectoral collaboration and integrative governance on the road for health in all policies
  • 307 on The changing dynamics of health provision models to promote equity, and the central role of human resources for health
  • 165 focus on The role of comprehensive primary health care in promoting sustainability, and the contribution of new technologies.

During the months of May and June, the PWG contacted all applicants who submitted organized, individual and capacity strengthening abstracts to let them know whether their contributions had been accepted. As always, it was a highly competitive process.

We would like to thank all who submitted abstracts for HSR 2022 consideration and express our gratitude to all members of the Scientific Committee who volunteered their time to support that symposium peer review process.

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