David Moher


David Moher
University Research Chair in Systematic Reviews

Bureau: 613-737-8899 ext. 79424
Courriel professionnel: dmoher@ohri.ca

David Moher


University Research Chair in Systematic Reviews

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Research Focus

To address the fundamental potential for bias involved in the science of conducting systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials (RCTs). To provide up-to-date evidence-based tools that effectively support healthcare decision-making by synthesizing research methods issues. To expand the updated tools globally, emphasizing the needs of scientists in the developing world.

Research Relevance

About 40,000 clinical trials are ongoing at any one time, globally. They represent the most valid medical research, but also the most costly. The potential bias inherent in reported RCTs can severely overstate the effect of any intervention, such as a new treatment for malaria. Programs built on a foundation of faulty data cause suffering and waste money.

Systematic reviews are key means of accessing evidence in the ever-changing environment of healthcare. They provide a synthesis of available evidence and support strong decision-making. Those that are reported with low quality are likely to induce varying degrees of bias, thus distorting the estimates of the effectiveness (and harms) of interventions. Accurate and complete reporting of systematic reviews provides readers with a transparent record of the processes involved in a review's conduct, clarifies possible sources of bias, and allows the reader to make an informed judgment of the value and relevance of the evidence.

Minimizing Bias in Healthcare Decision-Making

Systematic reviews are reported with increased frequency, having gained status with the evidence-based healthcare movement. Many questions however remain unanswered to ensure their ongoing relevance and effectiveness. How systematic reviews are conducted is evolving and a number of methods issues require further synthesis to ensure they continue to be relevant. These issues include quality assessment, blinding of quality assessors, scientists speaking languages other than English, Grey literature, and establishing the number of databases to be searched.

A world recognized scientific leader in the methodology of systematic reviews and the development of reporting guidelines for health research studies, Moher has led the development of consensus standards for the reporting of cluster randomized trails (CONSORT), systematic reviews of randomized trials (QUORUM), systematic reviews of observation studies (MOOSE) and diagnostic studies (STARD).

The CONSORT Statement consists of a checklist and flow diagram that researchers use when reporting their randomized trials, improving the quality of reporting. A key aspect of CONSORT is the need for continual development. The explicit goal is to foster and facilitate proper reporting of randomized trials in the literature.

As medical journals change and become available to a wider readership, the continuing development of standards such as CONSORT will become increasingly important as ways to assess the validity of published work. Moher's program of research over the next five years will be aimed at providing answers to questions concerning the science of systematic reviews and randomized controlled trials by conducting a systematic review of updating methods.

Dr. Moher is the director of Clinical Research and the Chalmers Research Group at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute.

Awards and Accomplishments

  • Author of 162 peer review publications
  • Founding Director of the Chalmers Research Group, CHEO Research Institute
  • Director of Clinical Research, CHEO Research Institute
  • Developer of internationally adopted CONSORT standards
  • Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (2019)
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