Panel Discussion

Rethinking the pros and cons of randomized trials and observational studies in the era of big data and advanced methods: A panel discussion

What is the best way to determine cause and effect? How can and should different types of studies shape clinical guidelines, practice, and policy? How might advances in biostatistics, big data, and artificial intelligence shape how we think about health evidence? Come and join us for this lively discussion on the pros and cons of randomized trials, observational studies, and other designs used to determine the effect
of an intervention, whether it be a new drug, program, policy or worldwide event like the COVID-19 pandemic. An expert panel of methodologists and clinicians from major North American university research centers share their insights and expertise on the current state of knowledge on best approaches, latest innovations, and recommendations for choosing thoughtfully and maximizing the quality from impact evaluation studies across diverse settings.
This panel discussion is accessible to all levels of training and expertise and welcomes all clinicians, researchers, students, and decision-makers seeking to better navigate the complex landscape of health evidence in a fast-changing world.

See the discussion here.


  • Nadia Sourial, PhD, Department of Health Management, Evaluation and Policy, School of Public Health, University of Montreal, Research Centre of the Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM)
  • Alan Cohen, PhD, Department of Family and Emergency Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Sherbrooke, CHUS Research Centre, Centre de recherche sur le vieillissement
  • Ellie Murray, ScD, School of Public Health, Boston University
  • Francois Lamontagne, MD, Department of Medicine, University of Sherbrooke, Centre de recherche du CHUS
  • Elena Losina, PhD, Harvard Medical School Department of orthopedic surgery


  • Lise Gauvin, PhD FCAHS, Director of the Health Innovation and Evaluation Hub, CRCHUM; Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health, University of Montreal