Mrs April Coombe BSc.Econ, MSc

April Coombe

Institute of Applied Health Research
Information Specialist

Contact details

Public Health, Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Institute of Applied Health Research
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

April Coombe is an information specialist and works in the Biostatistics, Evidence Synthesis and Test Evaluation Research Group at the Institute of Applied Health Research.

April trained as a librarian, and has wide ranging information specialist and team leading experience across the academic/NHS sectors in NICE/NIHR/PHE and other funded projects.

April’s current focus is on developing search strategies to support bid submissions and evidence synthesis products across the institute and in collaboration with other universities. She also assists on the post-graduate taught module in Systematic Reviews and Evidence Synthesis; signposts students to appropriate search support and aids the Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit with their search requirements. She is an advisor in search methods for the West Midlands Research Design Service. Her interests include mobile health technology and search methodology.


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


After obtaining an MSc in library and information science  April’s first professional post was at the Centre for Information Research, University of Central England (Birmingham City University) as lead researcher on a preservation surrogacy research project for the British Library.(1999-2000)

Following a move to the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority (2001) April’s interests in health information work developed through providing support to NHS library services across the West Midlands through the work of the West Midlands Library Services Development Unit.

This included a secondment to the West Midlands Public Health Observatory (2003); an NIHR funded knowledge mobilisation project (2005) and working alongside other information specialists and clinicians to develop pilot projects for NHS Evidence. (NICE funded). (2004-2009)

April then moved to the University of Surrey as Project Manager for the NHS Evidence service managing a team of information specialists developing content on stroke and cardiovascular topics. (2009-2011). Information specialist contracting work for the James Lind Alliance  then followed supporting their work to identify priorities for further research.(2012-2013)

In 2014 April moved to working for the Institute of Applied Health Research at the University of Birmingham. In the first instance April worked within the Horizon Scanning Research and Intelligence Centre. Here she undertook a variety of research work identifying new and emerging healthcare interventions including a substantial project on use of mHealth technologies for behavioural change for Public Health England (Jan 2014 – 2017)

April joined the Biostatistics, Evidence Synthesis and Test Evaluation Research Group research group in 2017. She has worked on numerous search strategies for systematic reviews and bid submissions across the research group, the Institute of Applied Health Research, University of Birmingham and other UK Universities.



Other activities

  • Member of European Association for Health Information and Libraries
  • Peer reviewer of search strategies for Cochrane DTA reviews.


Bartington, S, Coombe A, Pope F, Singh A, Day, R, Manaseki-Holland, S, Moore D, Thomas, N (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. 10, 33.

Daley A.J., McGee E., Bayliss S., Coombe A., Parretti H.M (2020). Effects of physical activity calorie equivalent food labelling to reduce food selection and consumption: Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled studies. J. Epidemiol. Community Health. 2020;74:269–275. Simpson S, Coombe A, Genus T, Trevitt S and Ward D (2015).

Using social media in early awareness and alert activities Poster. HTAi Annual Meeting - Global Efforts in Knowledge Transfer - Oslo, Norway

Coombe, A, Simpson S, Wood, A (2015). New and emerging mobile health interventions that promote behavioural change. Horizon Scanning Research and Intelligence Centre, Oct 2015.

Sharp, Steve, Quinn, Tom and Coombe, April (2005) Currency versus quality: the challenge for the Cardiovascular Diseases Specialist Library. He@lth Information on the Internet, 48(1), pp. 6-8. ISSN (online) 1460-4140

Edwards A* and Graham G (2000) Preservation surrogacy and collection management, Collection Building; Vol 19, No. 4 .

Edwards A* Graham G and Nankivall C (2000), Developing a National Strategy for Preservation Surrogates,  The Library and Information Comission.

*Maiden name