Improving social justice in observational studies: protocol for the development of a global and Indigenous STROBE-equity reporting guideline

Sarah Funnell, Janet Jull, Lawrence Mbuagbaw, Vivian Welch, Omar Dewidar, Xiaoqin Wang, Miranda Lesperance, Elizabeth Ghogomu, Anita Rizvi, Elie A. Akl, Marc T. Avey, Alba Antequera, Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, Catherine Chamberlain, Peter Craig, Luis Gabriel Cuervo, Alassane Dicko, Holly Ellingwood, Cindy Feng, Damian FrancisRegina Greer-Smith, Billie Jo Hardy, Matire Harwood, Janet Hatcher-Roberts, Tanya Horsley, Clara Juando-Prats, Mwenya Kasonde, Michelle Kennedy, Tamara Kredo, Alison Krentel, Elizabeth Kristjansson, Laurenz Langer, Julian Little, Elizabeth Loder, Olivia Magwood, Michael Johnson Mahande, G. J. Melendez-Torres, Ainsley Moore, Loveline Lum Niba, Stuart G. Nicholls, Miriam Nguilefem Nkangu, Daeria O. Lawson, Ekwaro Obuku, Patrick Okwen, Tomas Pantoja, Jennifer Petkovic, Mark Petticrew, Kevin Pottie, Tamara Rader, Jacqueline Ramke, Alison Riddle, Larissa Shamseer, Melissa Sharp, Bev Shea, Peter Tanuseputro, Peter Tugwell, Janice Tufte, Erik Von Elm, Hugh Sharma Waddington, Harry Wang, Laura Weeks, George Wells, Howard White, Charles Shey Wiysonge, Luke Wolfenden, Taryn Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Addressing persistent and pervasive health inequities is a global moral imperative, which has been highlighted and magnified by the societal and health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Observational studies can aid our understanding of the impact of health and structural oppression based on the intersection of gender, race, ethnicity, age and other factors, as they frequently collect this data. However, the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) guideline, does not provide guidance related to reporting of health equity. The goal of this project is to develop a STROBE-Equity reporting guideline extension. Methods: We assembled a diverse team across multiple domains, including gender, age, ethnicity, Indigenous background, disciplines, geographies, lived experience of health inequity and decision-making organizations. Using an inclusive, integrated knowledge translation approach, we will implement a five-phase plan which will include: (1) assessing the reporting of health equity in published observational studies, (2) seeking wide international feedback on items to improve reporting of health equity, (3) establishing consensus amongst knowledge users and researchers, (4) evaluating in partnership with Indigenous contributors the relevance to Indigenous peoples who have globally experienced the oppressive legacy of colonization, and (5) widely disseminating and seeking endorsement from relevant knowledge users. We will seek input from external collaborators using social media, mailing lists and other communication channels. Discussion: Achieving global imperatives such as the Sustainable Development Goals (e.g., SDG 10 Reduced inequalities, SDG 3 Good health and wellbeing) requires advancing health equity in research. The implementation of the STROBE-Equity guidelines will enable a better awareness and understanding of health inequities through better reporting. We will broadly disseminate the reporting guideline with tools to enable adoption and use by journal editors, authors, and funding agencies, using diverse strategies tailored to specific audiences.

Original languageEnglish
Article number55
JournalInternational Journal for Equity in Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023


  • Health equity
  • Observational studies
  • Reporting guidelines
  • Social justice


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