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Join us on Cochrane TaskExchange!

Fri, 02/26/2021 - 13:58

Keen to get experience with systematic reviews, but not sure where to start? Or perhaps you’re already experienced, and want to help out? Can you help with translation work, or would you like to find collaborators for your evidence synthesis project? 

TaskExchange is an online platform that connects people needing help with their systematic review with people who have the time and skills to help. A variety of tasks are posted on the platform, from literature searching, article screening and translation and data extraction, to statistical analysis, and consumer reviews. Whether you’re a complete beginner or very experienced, you’re bound to find a task that suits you! Any tasks completed count towards a Cochrane MembershipCOVID-19 specific tasks are available. 

Posting tasks on TaskExchange to look for consumer, patient, or public input? Follow these top tips to make your task easier to understand and more likely to get a response. 

Explore tasks that are currently open! 

We invite you to get started today with TaskExchange - sign up, browse the tasks, and respond to the tasks that catch your eye! If you are working on health evidence projects, you can post a task and get help, or browse contributor profiles to look for someone to collaborate with. 

Visit the TaskExchange website

Friday, February 26, 2021

Cochrane community participates in a virtual walk to raise money for Anne Anderson Award

Thu, 02/25/2021 - 21:47

The global Cochrane community are walking and raising money for the annual Anne Anderson Award, which is given to a Cochrane member who has contributed meaningfully to the promotion of women as leaders and contributors to the organization.

Given we can't meet in-person for our 2021 Anne Anderson Walk, we are doing it virtually. Participants are making donations and sharing pictures themselves on their walk or their local area - click on the map below to see! 

Who is Anne Anderson?
Anne Anderson was a contributor to the stream of thinking and effort that gave birth to evidence-based health care. A clinically qualified reproductive physiologist, Anne had an active interest in women’s health, co-editing the first edition of Women’s Problems in General Practice with Ann McPherson and contributed to Effectiveness and Satisfaction in Antenatal Care (1982), edited by Murray Enkin and Iain Chalmers. She was discussing with Marc Keirse and Iain Chalmers the possibility of co-editing a companion volume on elective birth, however her premature death from breast cancer in 1983 ended her involvement. Anne Anderson was 46 years old when she died. Iain Chalmers, Murray Enkin and Marc Keirse went on to publish Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth (ECPC) in 1989, dedicating the book in part to Anne. ECPC, through its systematic approach to assessing the research literature, is widely acknowledged to have led to development of Cochrane. 

What is the Cochrane Anne Anderson Award?
In the footsteps of Anne Anderson, many outstanding women continue to contribute and inspire other women to improve health knowledge for the good of their communities. Often these women are quiet achievers who might otherwise not be recognized. The goal of the Anne Anderson Award is to recognize and stimulate individuals contributing to the enhancement of women’s visibility and participation in the Cochrane leadership. The award is given to a Cochrane member who has contributed meaningfully to the promotion of women as leaders and contributors to the organization. 

The Anne Anderson Award winner receives a plaque from Cochrane honouring her contributions, as well as a cash award. The recipient designates the cash award to assist a woman from a low-resource setting with Cochrane activities.

What's the Anne Anderson Walk?
The Cochrane Colloquium, our annual flagship event, brings together the world’s most influential health researchers, scientists, academics, opinion leaders, clinicians, and patients to promote evidence-informed decision-making. It is here that the award is given out and the fundraising walk is held. The annual Anne Anderson Walk is a cherished annual social event, where attendees explore the Colloquium host-city by foot with a guide. Donations by participants are made to next year's Anne Anderson Award. 

Given current COVID-19 circumstances, Cochrane community's will be not be gathering in 2021 for a Colloquium. However, we are walking  together virtually between March and May and sharing pictures of our walks.

How can I participate?
All Cochrane Members and Supporters are welcome to participate in this virtual walk and fundraising effort! 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Cochrane seeks Events and Brand Support Officer

Fri, 02/19/2021 - 19:23

Specifications: Full Time Maternity cover (Secondment/Consultancy role)
Salary: competitive
Location: Flexible
Application Closing Date:  7 March 2021

This role is an exciting opportunity to use your experience in the Events and Brand Support Officer role to make a difference in the field of health care research.  

Knowledge Translation (KT) is essential in achieving Cochrane’s vision and maximizes the benefit of the work of our global contributors. The Cochrane Knowledge Translation Strategy (KT Strategy) elaborates on Strategy 2020’s fundamental commitment to the dissemination, use and impact of Cochrane evidence.

This role will lead on supporting, developing and implementing Cochrane’s annual marketing and events calendar, to lead and coordinate Cochrane’s organizational virtual events in 2021 as well as preparations towards 2022’s events including Cochrane’s Toronto Colloquium hosted by Cochrane Canada, 11 - 14 September 2022, along with supporting brand and event activities of Cochrane’s Groups.

We are looking for a self-motivated and highly organized individual who is able to work effectively and collaboratively with a diverse range of contacts across the world.  

Cochrane is a global, independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesizing research findings to produce the best available evidence on what can work, what might harm and where more research is needed. Our work is recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information. An understanding of Cochrane’s work and health research more generally is an advantage, but not essential.

How to apply

For further information on the role and how to apply, please click here.  The deadline to receive your application is by 22 February 2021.  The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements, using specific examples. Note that we will assess applications as they are received, and therefore may fill the post before the deadline.

  • For further information, please download the full job description from here
  • Deadline for applications: (12 midnight GMT Sunday 7 March 2021)
  • Interviews to be held on: week commencing 15th March 2021
Friday, February 19, 2021 Category: Jobs

Cochrane signs on to WHO call for action on managing the infodemic

Thu, 02/18/2021 - 14:14

Cochrane is pleased to join other organisations and individuals in signing a World Health Organization (WHO) call for action about managing infodemics.

WHO defines an infodemic as “overabundance of information – some accurate and some not – that occurs during an epidemic. It can lead to confusion and ultimately mistrust in governments and public health response”. This has been a particular challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The WHO call for action encourages signatories to take the following steps:

  1. Recognize that an infodemic is a tsunami of information—some accurate, some not—that spreads alongside an epidemic and note that it cannot be eliminated but it can be managed.
  2. Acknowledge that infodemic management can reduce the direct and indirect negative impacts on the health of populations, as well as growing mistrust towards governments, science, and health personnel which has fueled the polarization of societies.
  3. Emphasize that everyone has a role to play in addressing the infodemic.
  4. Support a whole-of-society approach and engage with communities in the production, verification, and dissemination of information that leads to healthy behaviors during epidemics and pandemics.
  5. Commit to finding solutions and tools, consistent with the freedom of expression, to manage the infodemic embedding the use of digital technologies and data science.
  6. Strive to make science more accessible, transparent, and understandable, maintain trusted sources of information and promote evidence-informed policies thereby fostering people’s trust in them.
  7. Learn from the COVID-19 infodemic management practices and share experience on value-added partnerships.

Cochrane is committed to supporting evidence-informed decision making through the production of high-quality, relevant, and up-to-date research syntheses. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cochrane community has been actively trying to meet information needs.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Cochrane International Mobility - Marlide Jukema

Wed, 02/17/2021 - 14:39

Cochrane is made up of 11,000 members and over 67,000 supporters come from more than 130 countries, worldwide. Our volunteers and contributors are researchers, health professionals, patients, carers, people passionate about improving health outcomes for everyone, everywhere.

Getting involved in Cochrane’s work means becoming part of a global community. The Cochrane International Mobility programme connects successful applicants with a placement in a host Cochrane Group, learning more about the production, use, and knowledge translation of Cochrane reviews. The prgramme offers opportunities for learning and training not only for participants but also for host staff.

In this series, we profile those that have participated in the Cochrane International Mobility Program and learn more about their experiences.

Name: Marlide Jukema
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Cochrane International Mobility location:
Cochrane Sweden

How did you first learn about Cochrane?
When I was searching for an interesting place for my master’s scientific internship I got in contact with Jos Verbeek, Coordinating Editor at Cochrane Work. He kindly redirected me to Matteo from Cochrane Sweden and it took off from there!

What was your experience with Cochrane International Mobility?
It’s been a great experience in many different aspects. I arrived with very little research skills, but they developed so quickly once I was in Sweden. Besides the research skills, I also really grew in my role as a researcher, meaning working with an international team, developing confidence, but also admitting when you get stuck and have to discuss matters with the team. At times it was quite challenging for me since I had no prior experience with the topic. However, I received so much guidance and support from Dr. Matteo. Having such a genuine caring and inspirational supervisor was an unexpected highlight of my stay.

What are you doing now in relation to your Cochrane International Mobility experience?
When I came back to the Netherlands I joined a systematic review in neonatology led by Cochrane Sweden, which I am currently contributing to. It’s a good opportunity to apply my new obtained skills and develop them further.

Do you have any words of advice to anyone conserving a Cochrane International Mobility experience?
If you are interested in the world of systematic reviews, let this be your sign to go for it!


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Do patients manage their health care better if they can access their electronic health records?

Tue, 02/16/2021 - 10:33

What are electronic health records?
Healthcare providers maintain health-related information about a patient in an electronic health record, which is held in a digital
form and is accessed by a computer. Healthcare professionals use these records to access all health-related information for a patient's
care, whenever and wherever they need it. Information may include a person's medical history, medicines, allergies, test results, and
immunisation history.

Some healthcare providers let patients see their own electronic health records, usually by giving them web-based access. Patients may also
be oDered other web-based services, such as health-related reminders, secure messaging, and general educational health information.

Why we did this Cochrane Review
Access to electronic health records might encourage patients to talk with a healthcare professional about their health and potential
treatments, and might help them to take part in decision-making. We wanted to find out whether access to electronic health records
benefits patients or causes any potentially unwanted effects.

What did we do?
We searched for studies that looked at patients’ access to electronic health records. We also looked for studies where access came with extra services. We were interested in changes in:

  1. how much patients knew, and understood, about their health care;
  2. whether patients felt more in control of their care (empowerment);
  3. taking medicines, or keeping up with monitoring (prevention) programmes;
  4. patients' satisfaction with their care;
  5. how patients rated their well-being (quality of life);
  6. patients' health;
  7. patients' levels of anxiety, worry, or depression;
  8. how oLen patients used healthcare services (numbers of phone calls or visits);
  9. communication between patients and their healthcare providers; and
  10. whether patients experienced any unwanted effects.

Search date: we included evidence published from 2000 up to April 2020.

What we found
We found 10 relevant studies, published between 2000 and 2016, that enrolled from 78 to 4500 adults. These studies took place in the USA (seven studies), Canada (two), and Japan (one). Five studies were conducted in doctors' offices and five in hospital clinics. People taking part in the studies were followed up for three months to two years. Two studies were funded in part by pharmaceutical companies.

The studies focused on patients with type 2 diabetes (five studies), asthma (one study), glaucoma (one study), congestive heart failure (one study), and hypertension (one study); one study focused on patients who visited their doctor for any reason.

Studies compared usual care plus access to electronic health records against usual care alone. In nine studies, access to electronic health records came with extra services.

We could not combine study results because of differences in how studies were conducted, types of patients enrolled, and how results were measured, so we had to evaluate them separately.

What are the main results of our review?
Compared with usual care, we are uncertain whether access to electronic health records affected:

  1. patients' knowledge and understanding of diabetes and of blood glucose testing (evidence from one study in 379 patients with diabetes); or
  2. how oLen patients communicated with their healthcare provider (one study in 107 patients). Compared with usual care, access to electronic health records may make little to no difference in:
    patients feeling empowered (three studies; 601 patients) or satisfied with their care (three studies; 903 patients); or
  3. how many patients died or reported serious unwanted effects (two studies; 486 patients).

Four studies (in 5466 patients) looked at how well patients kept up with monitoring programmes and continued to take their medicines. Although access to electronic health records may slightly improve keeping up with monitoring programmes, studies assessing how patients continued to take their medications showed different results, so we are unclear about effects of the intervention.

Accessing electronic health records may not have affected how often patients used healthcare services (three studies).

No studies reported on any unwanted effects nor on whether access to health records may have affected patients' anxiety, worry, or depression.

How confident are we about our results?
We are not confident in our results because of the small number of studies found. Our search may have missed some relevant studies because of differences in terms used for electronic health records. In addition, we identified limitations in the ways most studies were designed or conducted. Further evidence is likely to change our results.

Key messages
Access to electronic health records (and extra services) may provide little to no benefit for patients' feelings of empowerment or satisfaction, nor for risk factors for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high pressure inside the eye (a risk factor for glaucoma). Such access may slightly increase how many patients keep up with monitoring for risk factors.

Future studies should use up-to-date technologies such as mobile devices to find out:

  1. effects of access to electronic health records;
  2. for which groups of patients access is most suitable; and
  3. which extra services should be included
Thursday, February 18, 2021

Podcast: Vitamins and minerals for subfertility in women

Thu, 02/11/2021 - 14:44
Thursday, February 11, 2021

Job vacancies with Cochrane Infectious Diseases - Liverpool, UK

Wed, 02/10/2021 - 16:30

The  Centre for Evidence Synthesis in Global Health has led developments in systematic reviews in tropical medicine and international health. In the 1990s, staff contributed to setting up Cochrane, and established the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group (CIDG). This is now recognised as one of Cochrane’s premier groups, with over 150 Cochrane reviews and 600 authors, and is well-linked with the World Health Organization. Two job positions are currently being advertised with the Centre.

Take a look at  and where you will find annual reports of our work and learn more about the CIDG team. If you have any further informal inquiries, please contact:


Research Assistant in Evidence Synthesis (COVID-19)

Based in Liverpool, we are currently looking for a Research Assistant to join the team of 11 staff to contribute to public health and clinical Cochrane reviews relevant to COVID-19. CIDG work closely with the Central Cochrane Editorial Unit in prioritising and completing relevant reviews. We have published reviews in public health measures including quarantine, diagnostic tests and treatments. We are currently working on reviews related to aerosol transmission, public health, and vaccines, ivermectin, and prevalence of the Long COVID Syndrome; and on diagnostic COVID-19 review updates, collaborating with an international team organised from the University of Birmingham.


The successful candidate will have a Master degree that includes training in interpreting quantitative data; ideally you will also hold a postgraduate qualification in epidemiology or related quantitative topic. You will have experience in biomedical or social science research in low and middle-income countries and have the ability to critically appraise medical literature at postgraduate level. A PhD is desirable. You need clear evidence of critical insight into priority policy questions in international health relevant to infectious diseases, and experience in diagnostic test research is desirable. If you have authored a Cochrane review, have experience of using GRADE, or have a track record in published research, it will be an added advantage to your application. 



Clinical Research Associate (Evidence Synthesis) 

Based in Liverpool, we are currently looking for a Clinical Research Associate to join the team of 11 staff to contribute to the broad programme of research and development in READ-It. We are currently working on Cochrane effects reviews in COVID-19, malaria drug treatment, malaria vector control and TB and malaria diagnostics; and a variety of qualitive evidence synthesis reviews in neglected tropical diseases and TB. There are also methodological projects related to Cochrane review methods that there may be opportunities to be part of. We aim for a mixed portfolio to provide a broad exposure to evidence-informed science.

The successful candidate will have an MBBS and an appropriate postgraduate qualification. You will have experience and confidence in critically appraising medical literature at postgraduate level and demonstrate evidence of a critical insight into priority policy questions in international health in infectious diseases relevant to low- and middle-income countries. Excellent skills in writing in plain English are important to the post.

The post holder will demonstrate experience of working in a multi-disciplinary team with the ability to work collaboratively as well as independently. We want people who have an enthusiastic approach to work and possess excellent attention to detail. Strong communication, time and organisational skills are pivotal as you will be responsible for ensuring effective communication flow within the project team. If you have authored a Cochrane review, have experience of using GRADE, have a track record in published research or possess a PhD in a relevant field, it will be an added advantage to your application. You will also contribute to the postgraduate teaching programme in critical appraisal and evidence synthesis.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021 Category: Jobs

Is chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine useful in treating people with COVID-19, or in preventing infection in people who have been exposed to the virus?

Wed, 02/10/2021 - 13:51

COVID-19 is an infectious respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. If the infection becomes severe, people may need intensive care and support in hospital, including mechanical ventilation.

Drugs used for other diseases were tried out in COVID-19, and this included chloroquine, used for malaria; and hydroxychloroquine used for rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus. The authors sought evidence of the effects of these drugs in treating people ill with the disease; in preventing the disease in people at risk of getting the disease, such as health workers; and people exposed to the virus developing the disease.

Key messages

  • Hydroxychloroquine does not reduce deaths from COVID-19, and probably does not reduce the number of people needing mechanical ventilation.
  • Hydroxychloroquine caused more unwanted effects than a placebo treatment, though it did not appear to increase the number of serious unwanted effects.
  • The authors do not think new studies of hydroxychloroquine should be started for treatment of COVID-19.

Bhagteshwar Singh, Lead author of this review and Clinical Research Fellow at the Institute of Infection, Veterinary & Ecological Sciences, University of Liverpool explains,

“Early in the pandemic, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine had been put forward as potential drugs for treatment and prevention of COVID-19. Evidence from initial studies was inadequate, but more recent reports from larger trials meant we could conclude in our review that hydroxychloroquine is not beneficial for patients with COVID-19 who require care in hospital. The evidence is less clear for prevention of COVID-19 and for people being treated as outpatients. However, with no benefit when used for treatment of severe COVID-19, a benefit in these situations is unlikely.”

Senior author Dr Tom Fletcher added: “This review certainly should put a line under using this drug to treat COVID-19, but some countries and health providers are still caught up in the earlier hype and prescribing the drug. We hope this review will help these practices end soon."

What was studied in the review?
The team searched for studies that looked at giving chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to people with COVID-19; people at risk of being exposed to the virus; and people who have been exposed to the virus.

They found 14 relevant studies: 12 studies of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine used to treat COVID-19 in 8569 adults; two studies of hydroxychloroquine to stop COVID-19 in 3346 adults who had been exposed to the virus but had no symptoms of infection. The authors did not find any completed studies of these medicines to stop COVID-19 in people who were at risk of exposure to the virus; studies are still under way.

The studies took place in China, Brazil, Egypt, Iran, Taiwan, North America, and Europe; one study was worldwide. Some studies were partly funded by pharmaceutical companies that manufacture hydroxychloroquine.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Cochrane receives an Innovate UK grant to fund further development of the COVID-19 Study Register

Wed, 02/10/2021 - 11:12

Cochrane is delighted to announce the awarding of a grant from Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, to fund the continued development and enhancement of the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register throughout 2021.

Cochrane’s COVID-19 Study Register, launched in April 2020, is a curated collection for researchers to access all relevant primary studies being published related to COVID-19. The Register helps systematic reviewers prioritise topics, identify available evidence and produce urgently needed reviews for front-line health professionals, public health policymakers and research teams developing new therapeutic, diagnostic, and preventive interventions for COVID-19. 

The grant was awarded to Cochrane in partnership with Metaxis, which has been involved in the development of the Study Register since its launch.

Funding from this Innovate UK grant will be dedicated to making enhancements to the data curation processes that assist in populating the Register, which currently includes nearly 42,000 studies. The Register team plans to develop its crowdsourcing and machine learning (AI) capabilities that will help to identify, link, describe, and appraise studies in near real-time to significantly aid discoverability, as well increasing accessibility via an Open API. This new crowdsourcing and machine learning development is divided into six work packages as follows. 

  • Crowdsourcing study linking: 
    We will deliver a semi-automated approach to linking related reports through the use of a crowdsourced task. 
  • Crowdsourcing quality assessment: 
    We will deliver a new task on Cochrane Crowd that will allow contributors to perform a risk of bias assessment on randomised trials related to COVID-19.
  • Automation of study characteristics:
    This work package will deliver a range of machine learning classifiers that will then work in partnership with human annotators enabling us to better keep pace with the large quantity of research being produced.
  • Further develop and populate the register:
    We will populate, enrich, and add more features to the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register so it can keep up with the exponential growth in COVID-19 research and to enable researchers to navigate this research in a timely fashion.
  • Enhanced curation:
    All Cochrane study data are managed in the Cochrane Register of Studies, a large repository of linked clinical trials which enables the use of new technologies such as crowdsourcing and machine learning to play an increasing role in the identification and tagging of studies. We will add new capabilities to the Cochrane Register of Studies to better support the new workflows and curation activities described in work packages 1 to 4.
  • Open API/ improve the information security:
    Having developed the above technology, we want to make sure the information is easily accessible. The public API will expose RESTful micro-service endpoints for 1.) vocabulary access; 2.) COVID study register content search; and 3.) PICO micrograph data access.

Cochrane Crowd, Cochrane’s citizen science platform, will facilitate the crowdsourcing, linking studies and assessing quality. Thus far, the Crowd has contributed to identifying thousands of relevant COVID-19 studies via the COVID Quest task.

Charlotte Pestridge, Head of Cochrane’s Publishing, Research, and Development Department and Project Lead said: “This is fabulous news; this grant secures resource to innovatively enhance the COVID-19 Study Register throughout 2021. The work we’ve planned means the Register will be strengthened and further developed to become the definitive resource for primary research studies on COVID-19. This will provide researchers and policy-makers with rapid, up-to-date access to relevant evidence and enable rapid evidence synthesis in combating the global pandemic.”

Dr Gordon Dooley, Managing Director of Metaxis, who has worked on the Study Register since its launch, said: “This is really exciting news and we are delighted to be a key partner in this project. Our aim is to use the funding to make our processes for identifying and classifying COVID-19 study references more accurate and efficient, including the linking of different references for the same studies.”

He added: “With the planned enhancements to our Cochrane Crowd tasks and the integration of machine learning classifiers into the Cochrane Register of Studies, researchers and systematic reviewers will see references with full classifications being added to the Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register much more quickly. Our efforts to make COVID-19 evidence rapidly visible will assist them in prioritising COVID-19 topics and identifying available evidence to produce urgently needed reviews that will, in turn, inform decision-making for front-line health professionals.”

Find out more about Cochrane’s COVID-19 Study Register at

Thursday, February 11, 2021

International Women's Day Panel on diversity in health evidence synthesis - 8 March 2021

Tue, 02/09/2021 - 21:42

International Women's Day is March 8th! Join us as we discuss and highlight minority women and young investigators working in health science and evidence synthesis. Hear about their career paths, who has inspired them, and what advice they have for other women interested in or working in health evidence synthesis.  Learn about Cochrane’s role in evidence Synthesis and how anyone can get involved.

Each year Cochrane hosts an event in the name of Anne Anderson, a pioneering woman in health evidence synthesis.  In the past it's been the 'Ann Anderson Walk' at the Cochrane Colloquium to raise money for the annual Anne Anderson Award. This year, the Cochrane US Network is thrilled to be hosting a virtual panel, which will highlight the stories of five amazing women and kick-off a special virtual Ann Anderson community activity.  Registration is FREE for this exciting virtual event  - everyone is welcome to attend!

When: 8 March 2021 2-3 pm EST (view in your time zone)
Register: (You will need to create a password to complete registration)

Who was Anne Anderson?

Anne Anderson was a contributor to the stream of thinking and effort that gave birth to evidence-based health care. A clinically qualified reproductive physiologist, Anne had an active interest in women’s health, co-editing the first edition of Women’s Problems in General Practice with Ann McPherson and contributed to Effectiveness and Satisfaction in Antenatal Care (1982), edited by Murray Enkin and Iain Chalmers. She was discussing with Marc Keirse and Iain Chalmers the possibility of co-editing a companion volume on elective birth, however her premature death from breast cancer in 1983 ended her involvement. Anne Anderson was 46 years old when she died. Iain Chalmers, Murray Enkin and Marc Keirse went on to publish Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth (ECPC) in 1989, dedicating the book in part to Anne. ECPC, through its systematic approach to assessing the research literature, is widely acknowledged to have led to development of Cochrane (more about Anne Anderson: Wikipedia).

Who is part of this year's panel?

Tiffany Duque is a global health and research consultant and has worked for 20 years in the fields of nutrition, health programs, and research in multiple countries. In her current role as Senior Officer of the Cochrane US Network, she strives to increase the advocacy and use of evidence synthesis in the US, toward the goal of better health outcomes for all people living in the United States. Prior to her role with Cochrane, Ms Duque worked in Colombia with the Global Alliance of Improved Nutrition as Principal Investigator for a nutrient supplement and breastfeeding research project in underserved communities.  In prior projects she worked with UNICEF Headquarters to develop updated global guidance on infant and young child nutrition and complementary feeding and for World Vision South Africa on a nutrition and HIV community intervention program. She also worked for 8 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, serving as program manager for the Micronutrient Malnutrition program. Ms. Duque has lived in several cities and countries and currently resides with her two young children and husband in Los Angeles, California.

Dr.  Patricia Heyn is an Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the Deputy Director of the US Cochrane University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, Colorado.  She is the editor for the Review Articles of The Gerontologist in addition to serving on many editorial boards of highly cited peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Heyn has been involved in synthesis methodology and applied clinical gerontology and rehabilitation research for over 20 years.  Her investigations are aimed to find innovative solutions to (1) increase healthy lifestyle behavior; (2) prevent or delay the onset of neurodegenerative disease with exercise and/or cognitive training; and (3) evaluate protective/risk factors associated with Alzheimer’s disease.  She is well-known for her distinctive knowledge in evidence-based methodologies and clinical practice guidelines. Her meta-analysis study on the effects of exercise training for individuals with dementia is recognized as one of the most cited articles from the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and is highly scored in Altmetric. Her research was featured in the La Nación, Argentina's leading newspaper and is frequently cited in various media such as, WIKIBOOKS, ABC 7 News and the Alzheimer’s Association.  Dr. Heyn is from Brazil and currently resides in Denver, Colorado.

Dr.  Shayesteh Jahanfar is currently Associate Professor of Public Health and Community Medicine in the MPH Program at Tuft’s University School of Medicine.  Dr. Jahanfar has worked with Cochrane since 2002, starting from being an author, facilitator, reviewer, and moving up through various positions including committee member, Coordinator of Cochrane international events, Director of Cochrane Iran, Director of Central Michigan University affiliate, and now establishing a Cochrane Affiliate at Tufts University. Over the years, Dr Jahanfar has written almost 20 reviews and protocols, trained over 600 clinicians, educators, and students and supported knowledge translation activities and has been promoting Cochrane with any resources she can find and she migrated from Iran to Malaysia, then Canada and onto the US. She is a strong advocate to young investigators and mentors and trains multiple masters and PhD level students, in addition to her teaching and research, each year.

Elizabeth Centeno-Tablante is a doctoral student in International Nutrition at Cornell University in the research teams led by Dr. Saurabh Mehta and Dr. Julia Finkelstein. She is developing research projects in Ecuador focusing on maternal and child health and the intersection between nutrition and infectious diseases. Elizabeth has published a Cochrane systematic review on folic acid fortification for public health and other systematic reviews on the transmission of COVID-19 as well as Zika and Ebola viruses through breastmilk, which contributed to the update of WHO guidelines. Before joining the PhD program, she was a consultant for the World Health Organization, where she contributed to the development of global guidelines for nutrition and maternal and child health. Elizabeth studied Biology at University of Carabobo, Venezuela and earned a master’s degree in Biomedicine at the University of Laguna, Spain and in Clinical Trials at the University of Sevilla, Spain.

Dr. Reem Mustafa is a clinical nephrologist who is board certified in Preventive Medicine, Internal Medicine and Nephrology and is an associate professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She is especially interested in managing patients with chronic kidney disease and their other medical conditions to slow the progression of their disease. Dr. Mustafa is trained and has research interests in public health, research methodology, and clinical epidemiology, including utilizing pragmatic clinical trials to study the effect of different feasible interventions to improve the outcomes and quality of life of patients with kidney disease.  Dr. Mustafa also has experience with decision analysis and mathematical models for guideline development and critical appraisal. Her work with Cochrane includes extensive experience in the development and assessment of clinical practice guidelines through my work with The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) working where she has been involved with global guideline development groups including WHO, the Canadian Society of Nephrology (CSN). Dr. Mustafa is a co-founder of the U.S. GRADE network.

Nimisha Kumar is a fourth-year medical student in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Indiana University School of Medicine.  She also received her BS in Biology at IU. Nimisha served as the inaugural Cochrane Fellow of the recently established US Satellite of the Cochrane Pregnancy & Childbirth Review Group, where she worked on three reviews, carried out a prioritization process, and served as liaison to the Cochrane US Network. As part of the US Network, she contributed to the Opioid Workgroup, designed to update and initiate reviews geared towards addressing the effects of the opioid epidemic in the US with regards to mothers and infants. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

Understanding health evidence in COVID-19 times

Mon, 02/08/2021 - 22:02

We all wish we were at least a little scientifically literate, so we can become competent enough to spot what is evidence based. Whether it's a chat over the fence with a neighbour or something you spot on social media, it's hard to know how to assess the quality of health claims. For many people  accessing health claims isn't something they've considered to do before or needed to do until now. 

The World Health Organization defines an infodemic as “overabundance of information – some accurate and some not – that occurs during an epidemic. It can lead to confusion and ultimately mistrust in governments and public health response”. This has been a particular challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic, with misinformation being shared often, and fast.

Listed below is online learning that is freely available to anyone who is interested in an introduction to evidence-based healthcare, Cochrane evidence, and how to use it. A great resource for yourself and to pass on to family and friends! 

Cochrane Evidence Essentials
What? Four  free learning modules that give an introduction to Evidence Based Medicine, clinical trials and Cochrane evidence.
How? You will be guided through four learning modules by Eleni, a fictional character who is looking for reliable evidence to help her make informed choices. By following Eleni’s story, users can explore topics that include Evidence Based Medicine, clinical trials, systematic reviews, and how to find, understand and use Cochrane evidence. The learning is engaging and includes contributions from a wide range of subject matter experts, quizzes, short films, audio, interviews, interactive graphics, and links to further information for people who wish to learn more.
Designed for?  Designed for patients, care givers, family members (anyone interested in health evidence) policy makers and members of the healthcare team. 

Evidently Cochrane
Blog posts usually featuring new or updated Cochrane reviews on a health topic that aim to make Cochrane evidence really accessible and to encourage discussion about it. The blogs often include a patient or practitioner perspective. Run by Cochrane UK. 
How? Weekly blog posts and  special series with multiple blogs, and other resources, on one topic.
Designed for? Designed for patients, carers, healthcare professionals and clinical support staff and health researchers.

iHeath Facts
Quickly and easily check the reliability of a health claim circulated by social media. Supported by Cochrane Ireland. 
Submitted health claims are researched and checked by a panel to provide robust, unbiased response. 
Design for? 
The general public.

Students 4 Best Evidence (also available in Spanish)
What? A website pulling together resources on Evidence-Based Healthcare into one interactive space. 
How? Run by a global  network of students, from school age to university, who are interested in learning more about evidence-based health care.
Designed for? For those training to be a doctor, nurse or other health professional, or school student thinking about studying medicine or doing health research. 

Other related resources:

Friday, February 19, 2021

Prof Jimmy Volmink recognised with honorary doctorate for ‘individuals of exceptional distinction’

Thu, 02/04/2021 - 19:30

Professor James "Jimmy" Volmink, the founding Director of the South African Cochrane Centre, was recognized for his devotion to evidence-based medicine with an  honorary doctorate at the Ku Leuven University. 

Learn more about why he called the 'father of evidence-based medicine in Africa' and his strong devotion to Cochrane:

Jimmy reflects on reflects his personal and professional journey in this 'Recommended Dose' podcast. His current role at Stellenbosch - one of South Africa’s most pre-eminent universities - is itself a striking testament to the kind of change he has witnessed, worked towards and continues to advocate for. When he applied to study at Stellenbosch back in the 1980s, Jimmy was turned down because he was black. Almost four decades later, he holds the prestigious position of Dean of Medicine and Health Sciences at that very same university. Here, Jimmy shares with Ray how this and many other formative experiences have led to his lifelong, unwavering commitment to support and mentor new generations of students in South Africa and to keep on 'banging the drum about inequality' to affect real change.

Jimmy expresses his gratitude for the honorary doctorate and shares his thoughts on COVID-19:

Please join us in offering Professor Volmink congratulations on this honour and best wishes for the future.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Cochrane UK and Cochrane Ireland host online event; 'Virtually Cochrane', 20-22 April 2021

Thu, 02/04/2021 - 15:17

Registration now open for ‘Virtually Cochrane’, an online event hosted by Cochrane UK and Cochrane Ireland: 20-22 April 2021.

Registration is now open for ‘Virtually Cochrane’, an online event for all those involved with, or interested in, planning, doing, sharing and using health and healthcare evidence.

Everyone is welcome to register for a series of sessions on the theme of ‘navigating evidence and uncertainty’. Join live sessions or watch content on-demand. There will also be opportunities for networking, and access to a projects hub.

Patients, carers, patient advocates, and members of the public can register for free.

You can view the programme here and register here

Get in touch:

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Cochrane Living Systematic Reviews vs COVID-19: Highlighting the latest information

Wed, 01/27/2021 - 15:53

By September 2020, there were more than 3000 COVID-19 trials registered and the number keeps growing. Systematic reviews compile all the relevant evidence about a topic to help inform decisions. However, where new research is being completed quickly, like COVID-19, a way of regularly updating systematic reviews with new studies is needed, so that all the evidence can be used to support urgent decisions.

Cochrane has been developing ‘living systematic reviews’. These are evidence reviews in topics where a lot of research is emerging quickly. Living systematic reviews search for evidence much more regularly than standard reviews and incorporate relevant new evidence as it becomes available. Living reviews are important so that decision makers such as policymakers can be sure they have the latest evidence when making decisions.

Learn more about this work and how Cochrane has adapted to the changing situation and availability of evidence in this short case story.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Virtual Methods Symposium: Advanced Methods and Innovative Technologies for Evidence Synthesis

Fri, 01/22/2021 - 20:21

The US Agency for Healthcare Research Quality has prioritized a crucial need to disseminate health research findings. As such, a grant was awarded to Dr. Tianjing Li to convene a conference on “Innovative Methods Research to Increase the Utility of Systematic Reviews.”  Dr. Li has met this challenge by bringing together some of the world’s top methods researchers to present their work and help disseminate how systematic reviews can improve the quality, effectiveness, and appropriateness of healthcare by synthesizing the evidence and facilitating the translation of research findings. Due to COVID19, this in-person event has been moved to a three-session, virtual format -  that is open to all and free! 

Coordinated by the Cochrane US Network and hosted by University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus, this exciting conference program and speaker line-up aims to maximize dissemination, encourage implementation, and increase knowledge. The interactions at the symposium will include opportunities to engage, discuss, and share on topics including:

  • theoretical and practical methodological advances
  • empirical exploration of methods
  • assessment of feasibility and comparison of alternatives
  • implementation of novel approaches in practice
  • dissemination and implementation of complex assessment and analytical methods

This symposium will provide a unique opportunity to bring methodologists and review authors from Evidence-based Practice Center and Cochrane together. It is aimed at professionals with backgrounds or interest in advancing and disseminating research synthesis methods,  as well as young investigators; thus fostering collaboration among various disciplines and specialties while also developing the next generation of methodologists.

Session 1: Complexity in Systematic Reviews
February 16th 1:30pm – 4pm EST (Check in your timezone)
Session 2: Automation for Systematic Reviews
February 23rd 2pm – 4pm EST (Check in your time zone)

Session 3: Synthesizing Harms of Interventions
March 8th 11am – 1pm EST (Check in your time zone)

These sessions are free to all participants - register for one or all three sessions!  

Friday, January 22, 2021