WHO/Cochrane/Cornell Summer Institute

for Systematic Reviews in Nutrition for Global Policy Making


Please note:

The 2021 WHO/Cochrane/Cornell University Summer Institute for Systematic Reviews in Nutrition for Global Policy Making will be offered in a virtual format beginning in April, 2021. The team has reviewed applicants to the 2020 Summer Institute (which was canceled due to pandemic restrictions), and accepted applicants will receive an email on March 1 with further information. We look forward to welcoming you to the 2021 Summer Institute in a new format that we believe will be effective training!

2021, Cornell University, virtual format for the Summer Institute


This unique institute usually takes place during 2 weeks of summer on the Cornell University campus and 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. This year our teaching team will run the Institute distributed over time to allow remote participation and to maximize this training opportunity given that an in-person gathering at Cornell is not yet feasible.

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

The institute is intended for nutrition scientists and practitioners with interest in the application of scientific evidence in policy making. Candidates must have a university degree in health or social sciences with 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:

  • update and develop your technical skills and knowledge in systematic reviews of nutrition and nutrition-sensitive interventions;
  • build understanding of the process for global policy making, 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; and
  • 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 Affiliate Center in the new US Cochrane Network, the Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University will build on 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. 2021 marks the 7th 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, 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 and training nutrition scientists to conduct reviews is critical to develop and sustain worldwide capacity for this effort.

Summer course trains experts in WHO policies, Institute launched in 2014

The following article from the Cornell Chronicle, published July 8, 2014, describes our experiences in the first year of the Institute. The 2018 Summer Institute was our 5th Institute.

More than 30 nutrition experts from around the globe gathered at Cornell July 7-18, 2014, for hands-on training in World Health Organization (WHO) procedures to retrieve, summarize and assess reliable, current evidence to inform WHO’s recommendations for nutrition and public health policy.

Institute focuses on global nutrition policy impact

The program, among other things, updates and develops technical skills and knowledge in systematic reviews of nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions and builds understanding of global policy making, nutrition and evidence assessment and its challenges.

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

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

WHO Cochrane Cornell Summer Institute, Contact Information

Patricia A. Cassano, PhD
Professor & Director, Division of Nutritional Sciences
The Alan Mathios Professor
Professor, Weill Cornell Medicine, Department of Population Health Sciences, Division of Epidemiology
127 Savage Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853
+1 607.255.8001 (phone), +1 607.255.2691 (fax)
E-mail:  summerinstitute@cornell.edu


Learn about the WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center on Implementation Research in Nutrition and Global Policy 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.