Mrs April Coombe MSc BSc

April Coombe

Institute of Applied Health Research
Information Specialist

Contact details

Institute of Applied Health Research
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

April Coombe is an experienced information specialist who works in the Biostatistics, Evidence Synthesis, Test Evaluation and Modelling (BESTEAM) research group at the Institute of Applied Health Research.

April trained as a librarian, and has substantial Information Specialist experience working across the academic and NHS sectors.

Her current focus is on developing search strategies for funded evidence synthesis products both within the Institute of Applied Health Research and in collaboration with other organisations and sectors.

In addition, she assists on the post-graduate taught module in Systematic Reviews and Evidence Synthesis, contributes to bid submissions for funded work, assists students with appropriate search support and provides search services to the Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit.


  • MSc in Library/information studies: University of Central England 1998.
  • BSc (Hons) Philosophy: University of Wales, Swansea 1994.


April Coombe qualified with a BSc Econ(Hons) in Philosophy from the University of Wales, Swansea in 1994 and an MSc in Information and Library Studies from Birmingham City University in 1998.

Her first professional post was as a Research Associate at the Centre for Information Research, Birmingham City University working on a British Library funded project .(1999-2000).

She then moved to the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority taking up the role of e-librarian within their Library Services Development team. In this role she supported the NHS library services with regional and national e-library projects. These included an NIHR funded knowledge mobilisation project and a NICE funded pilot project for what was to become the NHS Evidence service (2004-2009).

Roles at the University of Surrey as a Project Manager for the NHS Evidence service (2009-2011) and at the James Lind Alliance as an Information Specialist followed. (2011-2013). 

In 2014 April began working for the Institute of Applied Health Research at Birmingham University. In the first instance with the Horizon Scanning Research and Intelligence Centre identifying new and emerging healthcare interventions including a substantial project on use of mHealth technologies for Public Health England (Jan 2014 – 2017).

She has been in her current role of Information Specialist in the Biostatistics, Evidence Synthesis, Test Evaluation and Modelling (BESTEAM) research group since 2017.



Search methodology; include the development of search filters and innovation in technologies to assist in all stages of the search process. 


Other activities


Recent publications


Richardson, M, Newman, M, Berry , G, Stansfield, C, Coombe, A & Hodgkinson, J 2023, 'A systematic evidence map of intervention evaluations to reduce gang-related violence', Journal of Experimental Criminology.

Kettle, VE, Madigan, CD, Coombe, A, Graham, H, Thomas, JJC, Chalkley, AE & Daley, AJ 2022, 'Effectiveness of physical activity interventions delivered or prompted by health professionals in primary care settings: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials', BMJ, vol. 376, e068465.

Woolley, K, Dickinson-Craig, E, Bartington, S, Oludotun, T, Kirenga, B, Mariga, S, Kabera, T, Coombe, A, Pope, F, Singh, A, Avis, W, Day, R, Warburton, D, Manaseki-Holland, S, Moore, D & Thomas, GN 2021, 'Effectiveness of interventions to reduce household air pollution from solid biomass fuels and improve maternal and child health outcomes in low and middle income countries: a systematic review protocol', BMC Systematic Reviews, vol. 10, no. 1, 33.

Coombe, A 2019, 'Effects of physical activity calorie equivalent food labelling to reduce food selection and consumption: systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled studies.', Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Commissioned report

Coombe, A 2015, New and emerging mobile health interventions that promote behavioural change.

Other contribution

Coombe, A 2005, Currency versus quality: the challenge for the Cardiovascular Diseases Specialist Library..


Simpson, S, Coombe, A, Tavener, J, Genus, T, Trevitt, S & Ward, D 2015, 'Using social media in early awareness and alert activities', HTAi Annual Meeting - Global Efforts in Knowledge Transfer, Oslo, Norway, 15/06/15 - 17/06/15.

Review article

Thomas, JJC, Daley, AJ, Esliger, DW, Kettle, VE, Coombe, A, Stamatakis, E & Sanders, JP 2023, 'Accelerometer-Measured Physical Activity Data Sets (Global Physical Activity Data Set Catalogue) That Include Markers of Cardiometabolic Health: Systematic Scoping Review', Journal of Medical Internet Research, vol. 25, e45599.

De Pablo, P, Dinnes, J, Berhane, S, Osman, A, Lim, Z, Coombe, A, Raza, K, Filer, A & Deeks, J 2022, 'Systematic review of imaging tests to predict the development of rheumatoid arthritis in people with unclassified arthritis', Seminars in arthritis and rheumatism, vol. 52, 151919.

View all publications in research portal