WHO/Cochrane/Cornell Summer Institute

for Systematic Reviews in Nutrition for Global Policy Making


2024, Cornell University, Summer Institute


This unique Institute offers a combination of online and in-person learning. In 2024, the Institute format includes one week of online instruction, which is primarily self-directedand tailored by each person to fit their schedule. This is followed by a second week of residential, in-person training. The online preparation brings all participants to a common starting point, which prepares us to maximize training during the in-person week on the Cornell University Ithaca campus. The Institute brings together experts from the World Health Organization (WHO), Cochrane, and Cornell University to train participants in the development of systematic reviews of nutrition interventions in populations.  We have excellent outcomes, and Institute participants have contributed to producing reviews that inform global guidelines. 

In earlyJuly 2024, the Institute will begin by providing access to materials for all participants to get started with online materials as early as their schedule allows. Week 1 is online training that is asynchronous, work at your own pace and on your schedule. During this online week, we expect you to reserve about four hours per day to work through modules on basic concepts in systematic reviews. Week 1 will  include three online interactive sessions (1 hour each time), which will be recorded to allow flexibility. During week 2, we will convene in person for a residential week on campus at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY. During this in-person week, we will be fully immersed in training, discussions, networking, and learning from our expert faculty and each other! We will make introductions among participants and faculty as soon as possible , including forming the participants into teams and working on logistics to facilitate the goals of the Institute.

The 2024 WHO/Cochrane/Cornell University Summer Institute for Systematic Reviews in Nutrition for Global Policy Making dates are as follows: 

Prior to the Institute: Introduction to faculty, form the review teams, identify reviews to work on during Institute.  July 1 through July 5, 2024 [work on your own, set your own schedule]

Week 1: Cochrane Methods for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Online training. July 8 through July 14, 2024 [work primarily on your own, set your own schedule]

Week 2: Immersive training in Systematic Reviews and Global Policy Making. In-person training, Cornell University, Ithaca NY. July 29 through August 02, 2024 [suggested arrival July 27, social activity July 28, suggested departure August 3]

Systematic reviews following the Cochrane methodology are used by the WHO and ensure that WHO recommendations are based on sound evidence. Participants will learn Cochrane methods, including applying the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) tool to assess the overall certainty of evidence.

The Institute is intended for nutrition scientists and practitioners with an interest in the application of scientific evidence in policy making. Candidates must have a university degree in health or social sciences with an interest in nutrition interventions for public health and be willing to be registered as authors in a Cochrane Group.

Applications from women and from nationals of low- and middle-income countries are particularly encouraged.

In this program, you will:

  • Develop and/or update your technical skills and knowledge in systematic reviews of nutrition and nutrition-sensitive interventions;
  • build understanding of the process for global policy making in nutrition, and evidence assessment and its challenges;
  • complete hands-on training in the development of Cochrane systematic reviews on a topic of immediate global health relevance in nutrition and public health; 
  • develop confidence with the review methods and foster development of professional networks with fellow participants and faculty.

Cornell nutrition research will inform WHO guidelines, policy

A Cochrane systematic review on the benefits and safety of fortifying wheat or maize flour with folic acid and population health outcomes, led by scientists in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell, found that fortification with folic acid (the synthetic form of folate) may improve folate status and reduce the occurrence of neural tube defects.

Cochrane launches a new network of US institutions to promote evidence-based health care and public health 

As a Cochrane Associate Center in the US Cochrane Network, the Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University furthered an ongoing collaboration with Cochrane and the World Health Organization to train nutrition scientists to produce systematic reviews in nutrition in support of global policymaking. 2024 marks the 10th year of the WHO/Cochrane/Cornell Summer Institute, and this collaboration has already produced reviews that contributed to global policies and guidelines. The goals of the Cochrane US Cornell University Center align closely with the Cochrane Nutrition Field and the new Cochrane Nutrition and Physical Activity Thematic Group, which seeks to promote evidence-informed decision-making on nutrition policy and practice. Cochrane reviews on nutrition and health, such as this recently published review on interventions to reduce the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages, provide key evidence for policymaking; training nutrition scientists to conduct reviews is critical to develop and sustain worldwide capacity for this effort.

Applications are submitted via our online portal, as described below. 

We look forward to reviewing your application to the 2024 Summer Institute! The application site is now open, and the review of applications will begin immediately, and continue until the class is filled. We anticipate accepting 30 participants; accepted applicants will receive an email in mid-April 2024 with further information about registering (also see here for information on how to register). Please direct all questions to SummerInstitute@cornell.edu.

If you are interested in attending the program, please visit our online system for more information. You will be asked to upload the following information: 

  • Curriculum Vitae 
  • Reference letters may be submitted by referees directly (to SummerInstitute@cornell.edu), OR uploaded by the applicant on the writers' behalf, through our online system. These letters should specifically address your research and technical skills, and your readiness for the Institute.

*note, the online application system for the Institute is managed through Academic Jobs Online. Please contact us at summerinstitute@cornell.edu if you have any questions regarding the application process.

Please visit our registration page for details on how to register.

Please visit our registration page for information on the program and related expenses.

WHO Cochrane Cornell Summer Institute, Contact Information

Patricia A. Cassano, PhD, Director, Summer Institute
The Alan D. Mathios Professor, Division of Nutritional Sciences
Professor, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Population Health Sciences, Weill Cornell Medical
3310 MVR Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
+1 607.255.7551 (phone),
E-mail:  summerinstitute@cornell.edu


Learn about the WHO Collaborating Center on Nutrition Research for Health in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, which supports the WHO’s mission to provide training and education to nutrition scientists, while providing technical advice to the WHO and aiding in the development of guidelines.