The Basics of Evidence-Based Medicine

Daniella Zipkin serves as an Associate Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina. Over the course of her career, Daniella Zipkin has made numerous contributions to the Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) movement though research, instructional courses, and national presentations. EBM is an approach to patient care that focuses on integrating patient values, clinical experience, and best available research.

In order to effectively utilize EBM, medical professionals must remain well versed in the most recent and relevant data, and communicate the evidence effectively to patients. Dr. Zipkin has reviewed the literature on best practices regarding presenting risks and benefits to patients, and the review was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2014, accessible at

This review has informed the production of Bottom Line evidence summaries, available through the Web Only section of the Journal of General Internal Medicine’s website, at, and then choosing the “Bottom Line Summary” box.

EBM begins and ends with the patient. Bottom Line summaries can be used by clinicians in encounters with patients, to aid in communicating high impact data in a way that patients can apply to their own experience.


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As a teacher, investigator, and clinician, Dr. Daniella Zipkin works with physicians, staff, and medical residents to improve practices in evidence-based medicine and doctor-patient communication. Through research grants connected to her faculty position at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, Dr. Zipkin studies the impact of communicating evidence to physicians in a collaborative atmosphere and to patients in a clinical setting. Dr. Daniella Zipkin currently serves as a Principal Investigator through a Duke Graduate Medical Education Innovation Grant on case-based teaching conferences in evidence-based medicine. She also leads a project through the Society of General Internal Medicine to create communication summaries for physicians to use with patients when explaining new clinical data. In conjunction with her academic role, Dr. Daniella Zipkin recently presented at several regional and national conferences. Dr. Zipkin developed and taught a workshop in evidence-based medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ pediatric hospitalist program. She also served as a Workshop Leader at the Society of General Internal Medicine Annual Meeting in 2011 on two programs, titled “Is a picture worth a 1,000 words? Communicating Evidence to Patients” and “Beyond Critical Appraisal: Tips for Real World Application of Study Results.” Dr. Daniella Zipkin studied at The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Medicine and completed her residency in general internal medicine through New York University and Bellevue Hospital Center in New York. She started working as a clinician educator through a fellowship at UCSF in the Division of General Internal Medicine. Since then, Dr. Zipkin has held several faculty and research positions in evidence-based medicine at UCSF, the California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) in San Francisco, and Duke University. In addition to her teaching background, Dr. Daniella Zipkin has served in several clinical settings as an Attending Physician at CPMC and as a Primary Care Internist at the Santa Cruz Medical Foundation in California. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Duke University Medical Center in the Division of General Internal Medicine.