Cochrane News

From Cluttered to Clear: Presenters and attendees to benefit from Cochrane London Colloquium's adoption of #betterposter templates

9 months 3 weeks ago

The Cochrane Colloquium is a premier event for those interested in evidence-based healthcare decision-making. It brings together individuals involved in evidence production, dissemination, implementation, and policy-making, as well as those making individual healthcare decisions. The 2023 Cochrane Colloquium will take place in London, UK from 4th to 6th of September 2023, with satellite events on 3rd of September. Registration is now open.

One of the key features of the Colloquium is the poster sessions, which have facilitated many collaborations, partnerships, and learning opportunities. This year, approximately 300 posters will be presented. However, rows of text-heavy posters can be difficult for attendees to navigate, particularly for those for whom English is not their native language, or who may be neurodivergent or disabled.

To address this challenge, we are collaborating with a team of researchers who are investigating the accessibility of presentations at academic conferences. As part of their work, they have created Cochrane Colloquium poster templates based on the latest evidence.

Can you tell us a bit about your elite poster research team so we have an understanding of how you are approaching academic posters?
Sure! Our team includes Dr. Zen Faulkes, author of the book “Better Posters” and founder of the Better Posters blog, Dr. Mike Morrison, the psychologist who created a redesign for scientific posters that went viral and started the #BetterPoster movement, and Dr. Emily Messina and her colleagues at IPG Health Medical Communications (James Wells, Noofa Hannan, and Anja Petersen).   

What do you see as the purpose of academic posters?
For all the hate posters get, they have incredible potential and play a crucial role in science communication. A scientific poster session is one of the only learning environments in science where researchers walk into a room completely open to learning anything. So, a key function of scientific posters is to give scientists broad, serendipitous insight about work going on across their whole field. They’re also great for meeting people with similar research interests. Networking is a key purpose of attending a poster session, but the job of the poster itself is to communicate insight very quickly (and engagingly!) in a stressed, busy environment.

Most conference attendees can probably relate to this. Most academic posters follow the same format that they always have. What’s wrong with them?
Imagine that you’re standing in front of a wall where somebody has taped-up printed pages of a scientific paper, and you’re trying to read all those dense text and tiny figures on the pages from 4 feet away. Now imagine trying to do that while there are literally 100 other similar ‘posters’ you need to see in a short time, and while a presenter is standing in your personal bubble trying to talk to you. Now imagine trying to do that with low vision, or a processing disorder that amplifies the lights and sounds in the room. It’s difficult to learn anything from the poster in that context, which is why people often just give up and ask the presenter to explain the study.

That’s core problem with the traditional scientific poster design: It ignores the context of just how busy and overwhelming the room it’s sitting in is. Mainly because it was created decades ago when poster sessions were much smaller.

There is also a harmful feedback loop in scientific poster design, where authors with (typically) no design training feel like they need to ‘fill up all the space’ with text and figures to ‘show that they did work’, and then the poster session attendees learn just to accept that cluttered posters will always be the norm and we have to make due with them.

So, what would make these posters better?
A ‘better’ poster is one that is designed to teach people about what the study learned fast, even when they’re mentally overwhelmed or standing far away. This typically means ‘better’ posters are much less cluttered, have big clear takeaways, and have bigger key figures and data visualizations. You can imagine how this is also unsurprisingly better for accessibility needs like low vision or ADHD.

Can you tell us more about the design you came up with?
The #BetterPoster template is based on the latest research in instructional design, accessibility, and eye tracking. It is designed to teach people something (typically the main finding) from a far distance; this makes it possible for you to learn something from every poster in the room, not just the few you stop at. (If you’re a presenter worried about ‘spoilers’, research so far indicates that this results in the same or more people actually stopping to talk). Then, the remainder of the poster is designed to quickly communicate additional details (limitations, key figures, methods) still at a distance of about 3ft. The figures also include mini-takeaways, to help people interpret graphs while also trying to, for example, pay attention to you the presenter. Finally, it includes a QR code that people can scan to get the author’s contact details or read the whole paper.

Cochrane is adopting the #BetterPoster design as the official poster template for the Cochrane Colloquium. What can poster presenters expect?
Poster presenters can expect to save hours of time in creating their posters and to have an easier time getting their information to the people who will be most interested in their content. You’ll notice that when people walk by your betterposter, more people will at least read your big main finding. When that happens, count it as a little win: you’ve just communicated something you’ve learned to somebody else who needs to know it, even if they didn’t stop. Then, when people do stop to talk, hopefully you notice that they’re able to engage with more content on your poster and ask you better questions because you made it big and clear enough to read. Presenters can download the templates here. The templates are adjustable to the specific size requirements of the colloquium, but they can also be adapted for other presentations in the future. And please get creative in how you make your poster ‘feel’! Communicating study-relevant emotion is part of good science communication. We're excited to see what you come up with; please tag pictures of your poster with #BetterPoster on social media so we can see them!

And what can attendees of the Colloquium expect?
You typically browse a poster session hunting for those one or two posters that are most relevant to you that you’re going to invest in. You can still do that, but now, with betterposters, you’ll be constantly learning as you’re hunting. You’ll learn something from every single poster you walk by, and then more from the few you decide to stop at. And if you stop to talk, it’ll be easier to see the figures and details while you’re talking to the presenter. And if you want even more on your favourite poster, scan the QR code for more detail that you can take away.  We will include an evaluation within the official post-Colloquium survey and look forward to hearing attendees' feedback.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023
Muriah Umoquit

Cochrane seeks Project Officer - UK, remote

9 months 4 weeks ago

Title: Project Officer
Specifications: 12-Months Fixed Term – Contract
Salary: £32,500 per annum
Location: UK – Remote/Flexible
Directorate: CEOO
Closing date: May 22, 2023

Cochrane is an international charity. For 30 years we have responded to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesising research findings and our work has been recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

Cochrane's strength is in its collaborative, global community. We have 110,000+ members and supporters from around the world. Though we are spread out across the globe, our shared passion for health evidence unites us. Our Central Executive Team supports this work and is divided into five directorates: Evidence Production and Methods, Publishing and Technology, Development, and Finance and Corporate Services.

We are recruiting a project officer role to support the Project Portfolio Manager with the development of Cochrane’s new organizational strategy, annual operational plans and quarterly reports. The role will also support the Project Managers with administrative duties for Cochrane’s priority projects and programs where required.

Don’t have every single qualification? We know that some people are less likely to apply for a job unless they are a perfect match. At Cochrane, we’re not looking for “perfect matches.” We’re looking to welcome people to our diverse, inclusive, and passionate workplace. So, if you’re excited about this role but don’t have every single qualification, we encourage you to apply anyway. Whether it’s this role or another one, you may be just the right candidate.

Our organization is built on four core values: Collaboration: Underpins everything we do, locally and globally. Relevant: The right evidence at the right time in the right format. Integrity: Independent and transparent. Quality: Reviewing and improving what we do, maintaining rigour and trust.

You can expect:

  • An opportunity to truly impact health globally
  • A flexible work environment
  •  A comprehensive onboarding experiences
  • An environment where people feel welcome, heard, and included, regardless of their differences

Cochrane welcomes applications from a wide range of perspectives, experiences, locations and backgrounds; diversity, equity and inclusion are key to our values.

How to apply

Friday, May 5, 2023 Category: Jobs
Muriah Umoquit

Cochrane Rehabilitation to participate in World Health Assembly side event on rehabilitation resolution

9 months 4 weeks ago

Cochrane Rehabilitation will represent Cochrane in an upcoming side event at the 76th World Health Assembly (WHA). The event, titled "Strengthening Rehabilitation in Health Systems - Responding to the new WHA Resolution" aims to raise awareness of evidence-based health policies and advocate for the integration of rehabilitation services into health systems. As WHO's decision-making body, the WHA is attended by representatives from all Member States, making it a crucial platform for promoting evidence-informed healthcare practices. This year's assembly marks the 75th anniversary of WHO's founding and the first time that a resolution focused on rehabilitation has been included in the agenda.

Emma Thompson, Cochrane 's Advocacy and Partnership Lead, stated: “The World Health Assembly is the most important global health policy forum, bringing together health leaders from around the world. This side event is a major opportunity for Cochrane to stand alongside others working in rehabilitation in calling on decision-makers to ensure that the provision of robust, evidence-informed services for everyone remains firmly on the global health agenda.”

Dr. Carlotte Kiekens, Cochrane Rehabilitation Co-Director, emphasized the significance of the forthcoming vote on the "Strengthening Rehabilitation in Health Systems" resolution, stating: "This year, the World Health Assembly (WHA) will vote for the first time on a resolution for ‘Strengthening Rehabilitation in Health Systems'. This comes from an understanding that we are experiencing increased disability and multimorbidity due to the ageing population, the growth of non-communicable diseases, and the successes of medicine.”

Prof. Stefano Negrini, Director of Cochrane Rehabilitation, will participate in the panel session and discuss issues related to research and evidence needs for rehabilitation. Cochrane Rehabilitation has collaborated with WHO on evidence support for rehabilitation issues for several years, including as part of Rehabilitation 2030 and in leading Cochrane’s involvement in the new World Rehabilitation Alliance.

Negrini explained, “The WHA resolution follows WHO’s launch of “Rehabilitation 2030: a call for action”, the production of a Package of Interventions for Rehabilitation, and the launch of the World Rehabilitation Alliance to advocate for the field. During the WHA side event, promoted by the delegations of several countries and co-organised with partners in the field, Cochrane, through Cochrane Rehabilitation, has been given a specific place on the panel discussion due to our strong collaboration with the WHO Rehabilitation Programme over the years.”

Overall, the side event offers a valuable opportunity for Cochrane to stand in solidarity with others in the rehabilitation field to urge decision-makers to prioritize the provision of evidence-informed services for all. Recent estimates suggest that over 2.4 billion people worldwide live with health conditions that could benefit from rehabilitation, yet more than half of the global population lack access to these services, particularly in lower-income or fragile settings.

Friday, May 5, 2023
Muriah Umoquit

Cochrane Lifetime and Emeritus Members

9 months 4 weeks ago

Cochrane is proud to announce new lifetime and emeritus memberships, recognizing the extraordinary contributions of individuals who have made an exceptional, long-standing contribution to Cochrane’s work and leadership.

Cochrane's strength is in its collaborative, global community. Over the last 30 years, our members and supporters from more than 130 countries have worked together to produce credible, accessible health information and help inform health decision-making. Though we are spread out across the globe, our shared passion for health evidence unites us.

Cochrane’s Membership scheme helps reward everyone who helps provide produce and disseminate Cochrane evidence, as well as provide leadership for our strategic goals. Membership is a valuable addition to résumés, gives you voting rights, and opens opportunities for getting involved in governance and learning opportunities.

We are proud to recognise extraordinary contributions to Cochrane with Emeritus and Lifetime Memberships. These will be awarded to those who have contributed to Cochrane’s success over many years and are now reducing or ending their active time with Cochrane.

Emeritus members:
Individuals who made a significant long-standing contribution to the leadership of the organization.

Lifetime members:
Individuals at all levels of the organization who have made an exceptional, long-standing commitment to Cochrane's work.

Emeritus members

Individuals who made a significant long-standing contribution to the leadership of the organization.

Gerd Antes

"Cochrane Germany, Cochrane Switzerland and Cochrane Austria are sending  congratulations to Gerd on his well-deserved emeritus status. Throughout his career, Gerd has been a driving force in the advancement of evidence-based healthcare and critical thinking, particularly in the German-speaking countries. Our collaboration spans many years, and we have greatly enjoyed working with him. We are so very pleased to see Cochrane honor his life-time contributions. Without Gerd’s support, Cochrane Germany, Cochrane Sitzerland and Cochrane Austria would not be where they are today. Vielen Dank, Gerd!"

Joerg Meerpohl, Erik von Elm and Gerald Gartlehner

Hilda Bastian 

Hilda's impact on Cochrane is undeniable. Her advocacy for transparent reporting, rigorous analysis, and clear communication of research findings has greatly enriched Cochrane’s commitment to evidence-based health and care. Moreover, her dedication to demystifying scientific research has helped bridging the gap between researchers and the public. By fostering a culture of informed decision-making grounded in robust evidence, Hilda Bastian’s contributions have elevated the standards of evidence and ultimately enhanced patient care worldwide.

Hilda has become one of Cochrane's most influential and respected critical friends. She has consistently championed consumer involvement and has pushed Cochrane hard on its commitments to open access, transparency and patient engagement. She has provided advice to many people over the years, and made a virtue out of dispassionate (...and sometimes very passionate...) critique.

Sally Bell-Syer - In 1999, I was undertaking a series of systematic reviews at the University of York when I was approached by Nicky Cullum, the Co-ordinating Editor of the Cochrane Wounds Group, and asked if I would be interested in joining their team as their Trial Search Co-ordinator (now information Specialist). This was an exciting time to join, as the Wounds Group was growing and developing with new authors becoming engaged in review writing. After three years I took over the Managing Editor (ME) role and became actively involved in supporting and training authors in systematic review methodology whilst continuing to be involved in collaborating on writing reviews for both the Wounds and the Skin Group.

I remained in this post until my retirement from the University. At that point I joined the Managing Editor Support team and continued to enjoy working with all of my colleagues in the review groups for several more years.

I have far too many highlights of being involved with Cochrane to mention! Overall, I think being part of such an amazing organisation which was built on hard work, vision and time given voluntarily in working towards a common goal. But in particular the ME community who are (in my personal view) the keystone of Cochrane, supporting the authors producing the reviews that is the Cochrane Library of today.

We worked hard and had a lot of fun but were fundamental to many of the organisational developments; included forming the MEs’ Executive, running training courses and establishing documentation to support the editorial role and then achieving funding for the ME Support team.

Special highlights – the time spent with the MEs’ Executive, travelling to Colloquia, and having the opportunity of meeting face-to-face, my term representing MEs on the Steering Group (now Governing Board) and of course being awarded the Chris Silagy Prize, nominated by my peers.

The evidence-based healthcare movement has grown massively and Cochrane is at its very core. The pioneering vision and work undertaken to establish Cochrane was ground-breaking. Cochrane Reviews have developed over time and represent a resource which is highly respected and accessible to all. They have relevance to every aspect of society whether you are a healthcare provider, a carer, a patient, a researcher or policy maker. The truly international base of the organisation is a real strength as well as its diversity and inclusivity. It has stayed true to its purpose and mission whilst creating a cohesive and supportive community.

Over the years I have introduced many people to take up positions within the Cochrane organisation and many of them are still there. The author community, however, has evolved dramatically and Cochrane through its partnership with Wiley has meant that the authoring process is much more aligned to that of a medical journal. This development has been an organic change over many years and has embraced the emerging technologies. Support is now available in a wealth of online support and training materials which are available to all. To contribute to a fabulous resource such as the Cochrane Library is a rewarding experience for anyone wanting to contribute to evidence-based healthcare. Anyone interested in getting involved, be they authors, consumers, healthcare providers, researchers, health care professionals and from any country in the world can be assured they will receive a warm welcome.

"For more than 20 years, Sally Bell-Syer made a huge contribution to the work of Cochrane through her work with the Wounds Group and as an advocate for Managing Editors (MEs). She sat on the Cochrane Steering Committee, set up and convened MEs Executive. Also, after identifying the need for specific mentoring and support for her ME colleagues she put together the concept of the ME Support Team. Once established Sally spent six years ably assisting and mentoring MEs, both new and old, to take on the challenges and demands of an ME. While working for Cochrane Sally went above and beyond her role and is a very deserved of an Emeritus Membership."

Gail Quinn and Clare Jess


Xavier Bonfill - In 1994 I attended my first Colloquium in Hamilton (Canada) and began promoting the Cochrane Collaboration in Spain, initially under the help and supervision of Alessandro Liberati (Ɨ 2012). In 1997 the Spanish Cochrane Centre was registered and I became its Director. In 2000, the Centre was registered as Iberoamerican Cochrane Centre (IbCC) because we assumed the responsibility of promoting and coordinating the Cochrane activities in the Latin American Spanish-speaking countries besides Spain and Portugal.

I was the director of the IbCC since then and until early 2023. We established he Iberoamerican Cochrane Network formed by people from Spain and Latin America and many associate and affiliate centres based in health care centres, research institutes, universities and government bodies. I have co-authored more than 30 Cochrane reviews published in the Cochrane Library. I was the coordinating editor of the Lung Cancer Group between 1998 and 2003 and was a member of the Cochrane Governing Board for the period 2019 - 2021.

We started translating the Cochrane reviews into Spanish in 2000 and publishing them in the platform that we created: the Biblioteca Cochrane Plus (BCP). Starting in 2003 until now the Spanish Ministry of Health has maintained a national subscription to the BCP, similarly to what has happened in other Iberoamerican countries in different periods. The usage of the BCP has been always very high (in millions). It was fully integrated into the enhanced Cochrane Library in 2019.

I would distinguish two dimensions of Cochrane impact: the first, more technical and material, has consisted in the elaboration of a huge amount of documented evidence about a great diversity of interventions, not only on the most conventional ones, distributed in different formats and languages. The development of methodologies in evidence synthesis has also been dramatic and a lot of people over the world have benefited from that. Many health care individual decisions and recommendations included in CPGs have been more appropriate thanks to the existence of Cochrane materials and methods.

The second dimension is social: the existence of a worldwide network based on a Collaboration with idealistic, democratic and generous principles, open to anyone from any country and background, including patients and citizens, has been a landmark by itself and contributed to demonstrate the kind of pathway that our world should follow if aspires to peace and harmony.

Cochrane has new challenges today, which are different from those existing 30 years ago. There are also many more opportunities, particularly in the field of information technologies. But I think the principles that led to constituting the Cochrane Collaboration continue to be still relevant and valid, and they should be well known and assumed consequently. I would add that efforts must be devoted for maintaining and promoting Cochrane as an organisation really global, participative, multilingual, and inclusive.

"Xavier's contribution to Cochrane has been impressive, right from the beginning of his involvement in 1994. His initial enthusiasm for Cochrane's ideal was soon complemented by his vision and drive to consolidate Cochrane first in Spain and soon after also in the Spanish-speaking world. Thanks to his inspiring and generous leadership style, he created the necessary complicities to establish the Iberoamerican Cochrane Network, a vibrant network that still endures today. We feel indebted to his legacy and are grateful for his hard and constant work which encourages us to continue with enthusiam in this new stage of great challenges and opportunities."

Gerard Urrútia Cuchí and Eva Madrid


Martin Burton 

Martin’s contribution to Cochrane extends over 25 years, beginning in 1998 when he became the founding Co-ordinating Editor of Cochrane ENT. In 2011 he stepped into the role of Director of Cochrane UK and has served as a member of the Cochrane Governing Board 2014 in a number of roles, becoming a Co-Chair of the board in 2017. Martin has led Cochrane UK through a significant strategic change and has supported the team to achieve a balance of serving its UK stakeholders, supporting the Cochrane community, and contributing to the global organization and evidence community. He has supported the team at Cochrane UK to develop and maintain an innovative dissemination programme, contributing to the development and implementation of Cochrane’s Knowledge Translation Framework and supporting our stakeholders in the use of health evidence. He's also shown an exceptional commitment to promoting the understanding and use of evidence among students and young people.Martin is moving on from Cochrane to embark on a new and exciting appointment as Master of Sidney Sussex College Cambridge from September 2023.
Therese Docherty and Sarah Chapman

"I am delighted to have received this award and deeply honoured."
Martin Burton

Iain Chalmers played a pivotal role in the founding of Cochrane, revolutionizing the way healthcare information is disseminated and accessed. In the early 1990s, Chalmers recognized the need for a comprehensive database of high-quality evidence to guide medical decision-making. Working as the first director of the National Perinatal Epidemology Unit in Oxford, he led the development of Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth, one of the first collections of systematic reviews of health evidence. Inspired by Archie Cochrane's influential book "Effectiveness and Efficiency: Random Reflections on Health Services," Chalmers envisioned a global collaboration that would systematically review and synthesize research evidence on topics across healthcare.

In 1993, to bring his vision to life, Iain convened a meeting of nearly a hundred colleagues who agreed to establish the Cochrane Collaboration. Motivated by the enthusiastic reception given to the digital preparation, publication and updating of systematic reviews of interventions in pregnancy and childbirth, others embarked on the preparation, publication and promotion of systematic reviews across all of healthcare. The early versions of the Cochrane Collaboration's work were distributed on floppy discs and then CD-ROMs, reflecting the technological landscape of the time, and eventually used the world wide web, thus making evidence-based information more accessible to healthcare professionals and researchers worldwide. This innovative approach to assembling and disseminating evidence was rapidly recognised as an important innovation and led to the expansion and development of the Cochrane Collaboration into the globally recognized organization it is today.

"Iain Chalmers' pioneering efforts to improve health care decision-making in pregnancy and childbirth, and subsequent role as a co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration have profoundly impacted the practice of evidence-based medicine, globally.  His dedication to rigorous research methodology, transparency, and fostering wider participation and collaboration has left an indelible mark on many of us.  Through his vision and commitment Iain has inspired researchers and clinicians around the world to strive for excellence and encouraged a more inclusive and collaborative approach to generating and utilizing evidence in healthcare."

Karla Soares-Weiser and Jimmy Volmink

Nicky Cullum

Nicky is one of the founding members of Cochrane and led Cochrane Wounds from 1995 to 2023, providing decision makers in this field with robust, relevant and timely evidence for 28 years. Nicky was also elected to the Governing body in 2018 where she served until 2021.

Nicky’s contribution to Cochrane is hard to overstate: her methodological knowledge and skill alongside a terrifying level of attention to detail and clarity of communication produced reviews that have been a benchmark for excellence for many years. Nicky has remained an enthusiastic early adopter of innovation in systematic review methodology, constantly working at the vanguard of methodological development over her long Cochrane career, aiming to product the most rigorous work possible.

In addition to providing decision makers with reliable and up-to-date systematic review evidence for over a quarter of a century, Nicky’s work in Cochrane has influenced the careers of numerous individuals. Nicky has built capacity for review conduct and evidence based healthcare more broadly across disciplines but particularly in nursing. Nicky has been a longstanding and hugely effective and impactful advocate and representative of Cochrane. She has tirelessly championed Cochrane’s values and work making a huge contribution to the development of Cochrane, its global reputation and its impact.

Kay Dickersin - I got involved with the Cochrane Collaboration as Iain Chalmers said that he would like to do for ALL of medicine what he had done for the perinatal field. I, with many others, signed on then and there.

My personal highlight of my involvement is the annual Colloquiums. Every year, I would be fed up with the world, and then I went to the annual meeting. At the Colloquium I would then be inspired by all the idealistic men and women from all over the world who were engaged in making the dream a reality. It really was a collaboration.

The work Cochrane Collaboration do is so important. Who else should do it than someone who knows how to do the work systematically and well?

“We are beyond thrilled that Dr. Kay Dickersin, Professor Emerita at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is being recognized as an Emeritus Member of the Cochrane Collaboration. Dr. Dickersin was a founding member of the Cochrane Collaboration in 1993 and has been a strong advocate for Cochrane’s vision and methodology ever since. Her pioneering work on publication bias in the 1980s stimulated her multiple efforts to rectify the situation. She was a leader of initiatives for indexing randomized trials, development of search filters for identifying randomized trials, and trial registration. Dr. Dickersin deserves recognition for her immense contributions and commitment to Cochrane, and to the methodology of evidence synthesis that underpins every Cochrane systematic review.”

Tianjing Li and Bobbi Scherer

Gladys Faba 

Gladys was one of the founders of the first Cochrane Mexican group in 1999, in the National Institute of Public Health. She served as the director of that group for almost a decade and also coordinated the rest of the Mexican Cochrane groups from 2003 to 2006.

She also served in the Cochrane Board from 2017 to 2021.

Dr. Faba has been a leader in advocating for the use of evidence and Cochrane systematic reviews to inform health policy in Mexico. 

Giordano Pérez-Gaxiola and Leticia Barajas

Paul Garner

Paul has made a truly extraordinary contribution to Cochrane. This contribution spans from the formation of the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group and his subsequent leadership of this Group, to his significant contributions to methods and Cochrane policies, and his enthusiastic involvement in the wider Cochrane community. Throughout his time with Cochrane, he has embraced the spirit of collaboration drawing new authors from all over the globe into evidence synthesis and building capacity in this field. His nose for high-priority topics has led to the production of some of the most impactful Cochrane reviews which add to his hugely impressive portfolio of work. His passion for evidence synthesis has been infectious (excuse the pun!) for many early career researchers, and he continues to be a hugely supportive mentor and friend to many within the Cochrane Collaboration

Deirdre Walshe and Tilly Fox

Robin Grant

Robin's association with GNOC goes back to the very early years of the Group when he took over as Editor responsible for the neuro-oncology titles working alongside the founding Co-ordinating Editor Chris Williams. In 2011 this association was formalised when the Neuro-oncology satellite was established to accommodate the increasing number of Systematic Reviews (SRs) in this area. It was at this point that Robin became a joint Co-ordinating Editor and the Group’s name was changed to Gynaecological, Neuro-oncology and Orphan Cancers. Robin’s role as an NHS Consultant Neurologist at the Edinburgh Centre for neuro-oncology (ECNO) as well as his committee roles in various international societies dedicated to advancing the research in neuro-oncology (most notably as President of the European Association of Neuro-oncology) allowed him to expand the Groups contacts and Editors on an international scale.

Robin is an excellent communicator and his enthusiasm is infectious, especially when building and maintain outstanding working relationships and effectively managing associations with a diverse range of individuals such as academic editors, authors, senior academics/clinicians, policy officers, allied charities, researchers and health consumers. This was particularly evident during the James Lind Alliance Neuro-oncology PSP, which identified and promoted the clinical research questions for SRs and future topics for clinical trials of greatest importance to children and adults with tumours arising in the brain or spinal cord. These were then translated and published as Cochrane reviews covering eight out of the top ten identified uncertainties. Working alongside Jo Morrison, Robin is a hugely supportive, positive and innovative colleague for the GNOC team as well as an ambassador for the wider Cochrane community.

Gail Quinn and Clare Jess

Muir Gray - As Director of R&D for the Anglia and Oxford Region of the NHS I was one of the joint funders of the UK Cochrane Centre and one Saturday morning Iain told me that he had had an idea and that was to set up a Cochrane Collaboration, and that one advantage of the name was that we could use the same logo that David Mostyn had prepared for the Cochrane Centre

A personal highlight of mine were the volunteers we recruited from Oxford clubs like the Headington Bridge Club to scan journal title pages to identifiy possible randomised controlled trials

The impact Cochrane has had on Evidence Based Medicine in part was result of recruiting Dave Sackett as Professor of EBM to Oxford , where he also took the Chair of the Collaboration. We can say that the Collaboration created the way EBM to move from being an excellent McMaster initiative to broaden to become EBHC world wide

My advice to someone interested in getting involved with Cochrane - Join the Revolution!

"We are delighted to present this prestigious award to Sir Muir Gray to honour his invaluable contributions as one of Cochrane's founders and chief visionaries. Sir Muir's dedication to Cochrane spans decades, from his instrumental role as the original Company Secretary and member of the original Steering Group to his ongoing engagement evidence synthesis. His unwavering commitment to promoting value in healthcare and inspiring countless individuals to participate as contributors and supporters makes him a true champion of Cochrane's mission."

Karla Soares-Weiser and Martin Burton

Jini Hetherington - I initially got involved with Cochrane as I was Administrator of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit when Iain Chalmers was Director. In 1992 Iain took me, and several others with him when he established the Cochrane Centre, which later became the UK Cochrane Centre when the organisation became worldwide.

I have loved meeting and working with people from all over the world. Sharing the common cause of contributing towards evidence-based health care for the final twenty years of my working life gave me purpose and self-respect, as well as many friends of many different nationalities. I couldn’t have wished for anything better.

One of the Collaboration’s major strengths is that people with vastly differing skills and experience from each other all have something to offer. It is the mix of interests, abilities and nationalities that makes a Cochrane job so interesting and rewarding. I would just say, “Go for it!”

 "We are thrilled to present the prestigious Emeritus Award to honour Jini Hetherington for her extraordinary contributions to Cochrane. Jini's invaluable involvement in the early stages of Cochrane, including her instrumental role in the development of the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Database, which later transformed into the renowned Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews/Cochrane Library, is truly commendable. As Cochrane's first administrator, her remarkable dedication in shaping crucial processes and policies, coupled with her unwavering support and warm hospitality extended to colleagues from around the world, exemplify her exceptional commitment to the Cochrane community. Jini's exceptional contributions make her highly deserving of this prestigious award."

Karla Soares-Weiser and Martin Burton

Sophie Hill - I first heard of Cochrane in the mid-1990s. After participating in a clinical guidelines committee for Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council, I gave a paper at the 1996 Adelaide Cochrane Colloquium on ‘The liquorice all-sorts approach: review and synthesis of a mixed bag of research.’ This led to an invitation from Professor Chris Silagy to give a paper on consumers and evidence at a Melbourne seminar and my interest in the challenges of communication and evidence was appreciated by officers in the Victorian Department of Health. I was subsequently invited in 2000 to put in a proposal to take on the Coordinating Editor role of the Cochrane Consumers and Communication Group. I was influenced by a wonderful book by Light and Pillemer, titled ‘Summing Up’ (1984). The key message for me from this book was how can we make better decisions at a societal level informed by what we have already learned from reliable research. The applied nature of this question had a big impact on my thinking.

I have many happy memories of my involvement with Cochrane. Building an evidence base is a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. But so is working to make the organisation strong and productive and I had several roles where I could do this. I have been part of many wonderful teams of people working locally and around the world to contribute evidence to better decision making by consumers, health professionals and governments. The highlight of my career was working closely with the Victorian Department of Health to incorporate evidence on communication and participation into policy making. Cochrane has had many impacts on health care and health research. In the Cochrane Consumers and Communication Group, we were able to show that person-centred care really matters! There is strong and reliable evidence to demonstrate the importance of communication with patients, and that it can be done well, and it can be done poorly. Communication was long neglected by the health system. If Covid has shown us anything, it is how important communication has become, and obviously it is going to remain a critical challenge well into the future.

Cochrane is first and foremost a wonderful network of people around the world, all doing interesting things. It links research, health care and advocacy.

"We are very proud to have nominated Sophie Hill for Emeritus Membership of Cochrane and congratulate her on receipt of the award in recognition of her enormous contributions to Cochrane both internationally and within Australia. Over many years, Sophie has through her leadership, mentorship and many positions made an extraordinary contribution to Cochrane’s impact, methods, relevance and standing. All the while, Sophie has approached her roles in Cochrane as she approaches life: with integrity, intelligence, humility and humour. We are really fortunate to have worked closely with Sophie and incredibly pleased to see her work within Cochrane acknowledged in this way."

Rebecca Ryan and Sally Green

Malinee Laopaiboon 

Malinee is a biostatistician who began her involvement with Cochrane when she worked with Iain Chalmers at the NPEU in Oxford in the 1980s. She was a co-founder of the Thai Cochrane Network (now Cochrane Thailand) and has been a long-standing and active contributor on many Cochrane reviews. Malinee played a major role in training a large group of systematic reviewers in Thailand and SE Asia, and worked tirelessly in supervising and supporting many Cochrane review authors. She also mentored successors in her department to continue working with Cochrane and providing methods support and advice to Thai authors. Malinee’s charming and kind personality was appreciated by all those she worked with and supported.

Pisake Lumbiganon and SteveMcDonald

Anne Lyddiatt - Years ago people who had questions about their treatment of medical conditions relied on information obtained from their doctor, family, friends, and some public information. This was at times helpful but not always and often didn’t answer the questions of most concern to the patient. It was this atmosphere in which the Cochrane reviews made their entrance - and were received by many who had questions and concerns about their treatment. I can remember people telling me that they didn’t have a medical background and were afraid it would just confuse them more. The plain language summary was a solution to that! Over the years I have referred many to the reviews and I know this has had an effect as they referred family and friend to the site.

Personally I have made many friends within the Cochrane family. People I knew I could call on when needed. They were always there and willing to answer my questions no matter how “dumb” I felt they were. I am not closely connected with Cochrane at this point but certainly tell people who are interested in becoming involved to contact the group or someone I know who is still closely connected.

I think at this time in health care we are dealing with a crisis - not just here in Canada but world-wide. People are desperate for information that will help them make decisions. Many are without a GP and I shudder to think of the info they are receiving from friends, family, and many of the unreliable sources of medical information available to us. I see this as an opportunity to make people more aware of evidence based medicine through public awareness and education by all various methods available.

 "We are thrilled to congratulate Anne on being recognized as an Emeritus Member of the Cochrane Collaboration! Anne’s infinite enthusiasm and drive to improve health research and health care for arthritis patients has seen her take on a wide number of appointments as a patient research partner or representative locally, provincially, nationally and internationally. Perhaps more importantly, she has not only championed patient engagement in all of her work, but has been a steadfast, generous and selfless mentor to countless others she has engaged with or recruited. She has quite simply been the quiet but driving force behind successful patient engagement globally."

Peter Tugwell and Catherine Hofstetter

Petra Macaskill

Prof Petra Macaskill has exemplified remarkable collegiality, expertise and dedication during about two decades of service to Cochrane in various roles including co-convenor of the Screening and Diagnostic Tests Methods Group (SDTMG), Handbook author, review author, editor and statistical editor.

In 2004 Petra was invited by the German Cochrane Centre to participate in an international meeting of methodologists held in Freiburg. This was a pivotal meeting of the Cochrane Diagnostic Test Accuracy (DTA) Reviews Working Group that subsequently led to the development and implementation of Cochrane DTA reviews in the Cochrane Library with the first review published in 2008. Petra became co-convenor of SDTMG (with Constantine Gatsonis) in 2004, continuing even after retirement till she resigned in 2023. Petra has been instrumental in the development of methods for systematic reviews and meta-analyses of diagnostic test accuracy and the well cited meta-analysis chapter of Cochrane’s Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Diagnostic Test Accuracy.

Petra has been a statistical editor for Cochrane Kidney and Transplant (previously Cochrane Renal Group) since 2004 and has continued in this role. She was also an active editor in the Cochrane Diagnostic Test Accuracy (DTA) Editorial Team from its inception in 2008 till 2023. Petra is a very warm and welcoming colleague, supporting and nurturing the development of junior colleagues (including both Prof Yemisi Takwoingi and Dr Mariska Leeflang, current SDTMG co-convenors), and always happy to invite overseas colleagues to Sydney and to her home. In true Cochrane spirit, Petra has been generous with her time and fostered an environment of collaboration and inclusion, inspiring and empowering those around her to strive for excellence

Yemisi Takwoingi and Mariska Leeflang

Fergus Macbeth 

As a good enthusiast of evidence-based medicine and someone who has fully embodied Cochrane principles, Fergus has made an extraordinary contribution to Cochrane, far beyond what was expected of his role as Co-ordinating Editor of the Lung Cancer Group for over twenty years. Making the most of his equanimous approach, he worked with the Cochrane Council as Co-Chair for some years and was also co-Funding arbiter, revising the Conflict-of-Interest policy. He also contributed to the Cochrane Cancer Alliance and has authored and peer-reviewed many Cochrane Reviews. Beyond his outstanding contribution, his sensitive attitude towards other languages and cultures and his genuine willingness to help people learn and grow are excellent qualities that he’s shared during his contributions to Cochrane.

Sera Tort and Angela Webster

Fergus made an exceptional, long-standing contribution to Cochrane’s work and leadership which started back in 1997 when he attended the Proposal Meeting for the Lung Cancer Group organised by Xavier Bonfil in 1997. When the Lung Cancer Group was set up in 1998, he joined as Criticism Editor and took on the role of Joint Co-ordinating Editor in October 2004 when Xavier Bonfil stood down. He continued in this role when the group was transferred to France in 2013. Not only has Fergus spent almost 19 years promoting and sustaining the development of the Lung Cancer Group (in some difficult times with lack of resources and uncertainty about its future) but in 2016 also took on further leadership positions in Cochrane. First when he was appointed Joint Funding Arbiter with Angela Webster and then when he was elected to the new Cochrane Council and was elected by the Council to be the first Co-Chair at the inaugural meeting during Geneva Colloquium.

Deeply attached to Cochrane commitment to independence, transparency, and integrity, he was Joint author of report on COI policy in 2019 and contributed to the first draft of the revised CoI policy in 2020. His kindness and generosity has always been precious to the group and working with him was just so easy and natural. Fergus attended his last colloquium in September, we could not let him go without telling him how thankful we are for his tremendous contribution to the Lung Cancer Group and to Cochrane in general and how we will miss him.

Corynne Marchal and Tom Treasure

Nandi Siegfried - In the late 1990s I was working as registrar in a hospital in Sydney, Australia. My consultant tasked me with conducting a literature review and handed me an armful of papers to read, appraise and synthesize. The high attrition rate in the trials worried me, but I had no tools to address this when interpreting the trial findings. Fortunately a nursing colleague suggested I get in touch with the Cochrane Collaboration. I was delighted when Clive Adams, Co-ordinating Editor of the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group, immediately invited me to join a review team working on the very same topic. He knew little about me and less about my nascent abilities but welcomed me enthusiastically nonetheless. It was this founding Cochrane principle of building on enthusiasm which I have never forgotten and have always tried to follow when engaging with potential new authors.

We conducted the first iteration of that review through the postal services with hundreds of pages of search results sent across the ocean. The process ignited my wish to deepen my understanding of epidemiology, and I enrolled in a part-time Masters of Public Health at Sydney University. There I was fortunate to meet Les Irwig and Davina Ghersi, both early adopters of Cochrane. Over twenty years later that review is still updated regularly and I have drawn in many of my colleagues as team members along the way. It is a truly global review.

When I later returned to South Africa, I joined the South African Cochrane Centre (SACC) which had recently been established at the South African Medical Research Council, headed up by Jimmy Volmink. Together with our hard-working colleagues we spent the next 10 years raising awareness of evidence-based healthcare and training reviewers across sub-Saharan Africa. At the time Cochrane reviews were not indexed in PubMed, and we met a lot of resistance from clinical colleagues and policymakers which I must admit has not entirely disappeared. It wasn’t a natural career step as it is now, but we definitely had a sense that we were involved in something bigger than ourselves which kept us going.

A professional highlight, without a doubt, was establishing the Cochrane HIV/AIDS Mentoring Programme in partnership with George Rutherford and Gail Kennedy of the Cochrane HIV/AIDS Review Group based at UCSF in California. George and Gail had identified that there were few Cochrane HIV/AIDS reviews relevant to the African setting and my SACC colleague, Joy Oliver, and I recognised that review authors in our region required intensive mentoring in methods skills, software use, and writing assistance. We set out to provide this by linking experienced authors with novice reviewers and built up to 47 review authors from six African countries. The Programme was built on the principles of harnessing enthusiasm and enabling wide participation in the work of Cochrane. I must credit George and Gail for their commitment to an equitable partnership and thank Joy who was the real engine of the Programme. Joy’s passion for consumer involvement encouraged us to consider how to engage more equitably with HIV-focused advocacy organizations.

I enjoyed my earlier methodological work, alongside Martie Muller and Jon Deeks, on pooling data from observational studies, and have welcomed the opportunity to participate in Cochrane methodology development in subsequent years. An exciting creative project involved designing an evidence-based reproductive healthcare boardgame funded by the World Health Organization (WHO), which is still in use today. Obtaining WHO Primary Registry status for the Pan-African Clinical Trials Registry was hard work but with the support of the European and Developing Country Clinical Trial Partnership and dedicated staff, the registry has now registered close to 4000 trials.

Other highlights include celebrating Sir Iain Chalmers’ graduation as an honorary Fellow of the South African College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in 2001 - I was thrilled to attend the graduation dinner with him. Watching staff members from the SACC and the Mentoring Programme rise to great heights in their careers has been inspiring – these include Tamara Kredo, Charles Wiysonge, Taryn Young, Lawrence Mbuagbaw and Vivek Naranbhai.

I have been extraordinarily privileged to work alongside two long-time Cochrane contributors, Jimmy Volmink and Mike Clarke. After 20 years, Jimmy continues to urge me to aim higher and Mike has the extraordinary ability to intuitively understand when to encourage me to make my voice heard. These are precious gifts. And without Cochrane, I never would have met Jini Hetherington, Sally Hopewell, Nancy Owens, Don Operario, Lisa Askie, Belen Dofitas and Yanina Sguaserro all of whom shared office space, provided safe haven and offered friendship to me and my family when we relocated to Oxford for three years.

The impact of Cochrane in driving quality healthcare has been immense in my region. Of course, we don’t have results from an RCT to prove this, but I would argue that a pre-post analysis would suffice. In the field of HIV specifically, results from systematic reviews, often those developed by Cochrane teams, have informed global policy in prevention, treatment and care, and driven the research agenda forwards. We also see evidence of Cochrane’s impact in the uptake of GRADE for guidelines development by the World Health Organization. It is gratifying to see reviews informing guidelines in the knowledge translation ecosystem.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that there is still a role for Cochrane in synthesizing findings, evaluating risk of bias, and communicating these to the public. Many of my scientifically-trained colleagues seemed to forget the most basic principles of epidemiology and allowed urgency to muddle their thinking at the time. We need to guard against this in future pandemics and learn from our mistakes.
Conducting a Cochrane review is committing to a way of life and thinking critically about risk of bias will permeate every facet of your being. For those who share the same desire to produce high-quality impactful reviews which matter to people in need of healthcare, participating in Cochrane can be highly satisfying work. Sadly, barriers to participation remain mostly related to language, geography, and residual colonial thinking. I would urge Cochrane members, new and old, to raise their voices so that these concerns can be aired openly, and hopefully galvanise Cochrane to provide equitable, safe and nurturing spaces for all.

“We are delighted that Nandi Siegfried has been awarded the Cochrane Emeritus award, recognizing her vast contributions of the past decades. We have experienced firsthand her leadership at Cochrane South Africa, co-coordinating the Cochrane HIV satellite editorial base at the height of the HIV pandemic, heading the HIV Mentoring Programme, and conducting practice changing reviews show her considerable contribution to the field.  In parallel, Nandi was developing and advancing methods for Cochrane reviews, and championing the cause for clinical trial registration. She led the formal recognition of the Pan African Clinical Trial Registry as a WHO primary register, thus creating a platform to foster transparency and collaboration on the African continent. Nandi has been a champion for Cochrane in Africa and globally. We thank and congratulate Nandi on this wonderful achievement!”

Tamara Kredo and Jordi Pardo

Prathap Tharyan

 "Few people encapsulate the ethos of Cochrane more than Prathap, and we’re delighted his contribution has been recognised with this Emeritus Award. Prathap’s energy and generosity of spirit was instrumental in setting up the Cochrane network in South Asia and securing a national licence to the Cochrane Library for India. For many years he tirelessly criss-crossed the region, training authors and encouraging the next generation of Cochrane leaders. And Prathap’s vocal talents were just as extraordinary – his rendition of REM's Losing my Religion (with lyrics about RevMan) at the Stavanger Colloquium remains an enduring memory 20 years on. Congratulations on a well-deserved Award."

Steve McDonald and Sally Green

Mario Tristan

Mario Tristan is a leader and EBM enthusiast who has always inspired a great passion for Cochrane. He founded the Central American and Spanish Caribbean Cochrane Centre and promoted the creation of centres across the region. Mario cares about people, especially early career researchers from Latin America. His profound and long standing social sensitivity has been very remarkable for the Iberoamerican Network. He is also an early adopter of new technologies and methods, an inspiration for younger generations to stay up-to-date and current. 

Eva Madrid and Juan Franco

Christopher Williams

As a founding member of Cochrane and for the following 20 years, Chris Williams made a significant contribution to the work and ethos of the Cochrane Collaboration in his role as Co-ordinating Editor of Cochrane Gynaecological, Neuro-oncology and Orphan Cancers, and in the wider organisation. This was particularly evident in the early years when he was instrumental in organising the Colloquium and other Cochrane meetings. He was also an excellent mentor, advocating the development of colleagues in systematic review methodology.

Under the guidance of Ian Chalmers, Chris Williams instigated the setting up of the Gynaecological Cancer Group. His expertise in rare cancers then led to the Group adopting a much wider scope to include neuro-oncology and aspects of care of cancer patients not relating to cancer of a specific site, as well as reviews dedicated to psychosocial interventions and rehabilitation.

Gail Quinn and Clare Jess

Hywel Williams - How did I get involved with Cochrane? Simple – it was Sir Iain Chalmers. When I was finishing off my dermatology training and doing a PhD in epidemiology at St. John’s Dermatology Centre in London, I read an editorial in the BMJ by Iain about getting to grips with Archie Cochrane’s agenda. It stopped me in my tracks. I wrote a letter to Iain. Next thing I know, he invited me down to Cochrane Head Office in Oxford and I spent a whole day there. I found myself walking out with a box of letters from other interested people in starting a Cochrane Skin Group. That was it. I wrote to them all and contacted many others. It took a while to firm up our plans, and in 1996 we had our exploratory meeting which Iain kindly attended, and we were off. You can find all our key timelines here.

My personal highlights are working together with people from all over the world – no hierarchy. Also, working with patient contributors like Maxine Whitton who ended up leading the Cochrane review on vitiligo – a condition associated with loss of pigmentation that can affect people with dark skin profoundly. Our internal editorial team was a joy to work with – really committed people who were key in producing high quality reviews. We had a real sense of an international community in Cochrane and we were all on first name terms. We had an excellent team of editors committed to the principles of EBM. Our old motto was “the truth is out there”. I also learnt a lot from the Colloquia – fantastic workshops from people like David Moher, Barney Reeves and Jonathan Sterne. It also gave me a lot of satisfaction to hand over the co-ordinating editor role after 21 years to Bob Boyle from Imperial and Robert Dellavalle from Denver – both loyal, fair and knowledgeable systematic reviewers with great organisational and people skills.

The greatest impact Cochrane has had on evidence-based healthcare in dermatology was to shake up the world on the need for independent randomised controlled trials with active comparators – not the 23rd placebo controlled study of a new expensive drug. In fact, Cochrane Skin played a vital role in identifying uncertainties that were then picked up by the UK Dermatology Clinical Trials Network and funded by external bodies such as the NIHR. Several national trials have been completed as a result on vitiligo, pemphigoid, cellulitis, warts, eczema, basal cell carcinoma and acne. Some of the reviews also produced clear messages such as the lack of value in sentinel node biopsy and lymphadenectomy for melanoma – which was rapidly going down the evaluation bypass, or the lack of evidence for the painful ritual of freezing warts on the feet with liquid nitrogen. Most of all, it was the culture change that had the greatest impact so that dermatology colleagues started to think more about the value of undertaking systematic rather than traditional narrative reviews, and the need to try and base clinical practice on the best external evidence where possible

My advice to someone interested in getting involved in Cochrane would be to follow your heart. Jump in. Even if your review does not end up with a clear answer, concentrate on identifying the key priorities for future research. You will learn so much with the fantastic training materials now on offer. Most of all it is all about the lovely people you will meet. Collaborate, collaborate and collaborate and break down the normal professional boundaries that sometimes restrict our ability to help others.

Lifetime members

Individuals at all levels of the organization who have made an exceptional, long-standing commitment to Cochrane's work.

Linda Clare

Professor Clare was a contact editor for the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Impairment Group from 2004 to 2021. For much of that time, she was the Group’s only contact editor with specific expertise in non-pharmacological treatments and she therefore played a huge role in supporting an expanding portfolio of reviews in that area. The editorial team and many author teams reaped the benefits of her topic and methodological knowledge, judgement and wisdom, with a massive impact on the quality of the reviews produced. She also led author teams for reviews on some key topics, and introduced the Group to many enthusiastic young researchers who took on roles as authors and later editors. She was a wonderful support to successive co-ordinating and managing editors in the Dementia Group. She was (is!) a great collaborator with a clarity around her subject area that she always communicated succinctly and accessibly. 

Sue Marcus and Jenny McCleery

Leon Flicker

Professor Flicker was a mainstay of the editorial board of the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group since its inception in 1995. For 28 years, he has been an enormous support to a succession of co-ordinating and managing editors, providing content and methodological expertise and invaluable strategic advice, as well as general encouragement. He has been the contact editor for numerous reviews and never turns down a request for advice and assistance. He has been closely involved in numerous initiatives within the group, including the early adoption of DTA methods and the adaptation of the STARD tool for dementia studies. He has promoted Cochrane evidence in many fora and has brought many collaborators to the group. His great sense of humour and uncomplicated approach belie the massive intellect and expertise that have been at the heart of his contribution to our group.

It has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with and learn from him - Sue Marcus and Jenny McCleery

Patricia Graves

Patricia started working with the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group (CIDG) around 1996 to work on the malaria vaccines review, through Paul Garner. It was at the time of the trials of the first malaria vaccine Spf66 and there was a lot of confusion about whether it had sufficient efficacy or not. She’s made an extraordinary contribution to CIDG, and as a CIDG Editor and author has played a key role in shaping the CIDG malaria and vector control portfolio to ensure focus on high-impact, timely Cochrane Reviews and updates.  Whilst she stepped down as a CIDG Editor in June 2023, she remains a CIDG Specialist Advisor. 

Deirdre Walshe and Tilly Fox

Peter Herbison - When Adrian Grant set up the Cochrane Incontinence Group in 1995 he asked a colleague of mine, Don Wilson, if he would like to be an editor. Don and Adrian had collaborated in the past. Don said that he would happily join as long as I was also made an editor. Don wanted someone who was aware of the statistical and technical issues with him, and Adrian was pleased to have me. I was aware of the Collaboration and was very happy to join. Also, in Dunedin at that time was Jean Hay-Smith who had written reviews for the Pregnancy and Childbirth group and was to become a PhD student supervised by Don and myself. She had already been asked to be an editor of the incontinence group. So it was great to have three of us working together.

There are many personal highlights during my time at Cochrane... Publication of my first author Cochrane Review (Weighted vaginal cones for urinary incontinence), meeting people in person who I had looked up to, such as Doug Altman. Another highlight for me was going to Colloquiums where everyone was so supportive, not the competitive nature of some medical conferences I had been to. I also really valued learning that weighted averages were not as simple as they sound.

The impact of Cochrane is huge. When asked what the most important advances in healthcare have been, evidence based medicine is always in the top few mentioned. Cochrane has been instrumental in the evidence based medicine field by providing the best evidence about the success of treatments. People involved with the Collaboration have also led projects that look at how to produce the best evidence, and how to summarise that evidence. Examples are showing the importance of hiding the allocation in randomised trials, and network meta-analysis, which provides more clinically useful evidence than head-to-head comparisons.

If you are interested in getting involved in Cochrane, I would say do it. Writing a review teaches you a lot more than deeper understanding about a treatments and conditions — it also teaches a lot about science. If you don’t feel up to contributing to a review there are a lot of other ways to get involved.

"We would like to offer our heartfelt congratulations to Prof Peter Herbison on receiving a well deserved lifetime membership award. We nominated Peter for this award as he has been involved with Cochrane for over 20 years and has assisted 11 different methods and review groups over this time. He was a member of the statistical methods group and statistical editor for both the Bone, Joint and Muscle and the Incontinence groups. In addition to this he has co-authored over 24 Cochrane reviews. Peter has been invaluable to Cochrane New Zealand supporting New Zealanders authoring Cochrane reviews and has always been willing to give up his time to teach statistics to budding Cochrane authors, on Cochrane workshops. His teaching technique is always highly appreciated as he is able to communicate complex statistical theories in easy to understand language. He thoroughly deserves this recognition for all of the skills he has unselfishly shared over the years."

Assoc Prof Vanessa Jordan and Prof Cindy Farquhar

    Anne Lethaby - I had a passion for evidence-based research and got a job with the Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility group in 1996 as a systematic reviewer, not long after this group was established. The Co-ordinating Editor, Cindy Farquhar (a gynaecologist from New Zealand) had attended a course in Oxford with the original movers and shakers of Cochrane. Her passion and commitment were infectious.

    My personal highlights of my involvement with Cochrane were the strong sense of collaboration and support from our own group plus others (including lots of fun!), the passion and search for constant improvement of the product offered and the challenges to always do better.

    In some cases, systematic review findings have overturned established and not particularly evidence-based practices (often to the chagrin of established healthcare practitioners). It is virtually impossible for an active healthcare practitioner to keep abreast of all the new developments in research and continue to improve his/her practice without the comprehensively developed systematic reviews that summarise all available evidence to date.

    Since Cochrane came on the scene, we find ourselves in an internet age where it is easy to have information overload and it is difficult for the consumer of health information to know how to separate out the wheat from the chaff. The quality of the information that we receive from multiple sources can cause major disruption, conflict and polarisation of society (as evidenced by extreme views during the Covid pandemic). With respect to information on health, Cochrane offers a systematic and transparent process based entirely on evidence (as well as values and preferences) and points the way towards reducing uncertainty and improving health outcomes.

    Cochrane offers the chance to get involved with groups that offer support, help and advice to those interested in evidence-based systematic reviews in the field of medicine. There is a strong sense of collegiality and fairness, encouragement to continually improve and inspiration in the work required. The strong backup of volunteers underscores the importance of the vision.

    "We would like to offer our heartfelt congratulations to Anne Lethaby on receiving a well deserved lifetime membership award. We nominated Anne as she has worked with Cochrane for over 25 years and during this time has made an extraordinary contribution to Cochrane as a whole. She has authored 32 Cochrane reviews for 11 different Cochrane review groups and has been an editor for both the Sexually Transmitted Infections group and the Cochrane Gynaecology and Fertility group. Anne is also a talented and engaging teacher and has taken part in many workshop teaching systematic reviewer methodology. She is also a peer reviewer for four groups and in recent years has also helped out centrally by conducting copy editing for the Cochrane editorial unit. Anne’s contributions, as many and as varied as they are, are always of the highest quality. She is always generous with her time and expertise to anyone she comes into contact with and we feel she exemplifies the principles of Cochrane."

    Assoc Prof Vanessa Jordan and Prof Cindy Farquhar

    Fiona Rowe - started her work with Cochrane as an author in 2007 on the Botulinum toxin for the treatment of strabismus review, which was first published in 2009. This review had its 4th version published as an update earlier this year. Fiona has been an author on a total of five different Cochrane reviews.

    In addition to being an author she became the lead orthoptic editor for the Cochrane Eyes and Vision group in 2013 until this year.

    She has built up a number of collaborations including researchers, clinicians and patient and public representatives. This includes the VISable patient and public involvement group which she has facilitated for over 10 years. Fiona has worked tirelessly to change the face of visual impairment after acquired brain injury, providing evidence for clinical practice, raising awareness and developing countless research studies and publications on the subject.

    She spends a considerable amount of time promoting unmet needs, campaigning for change and presenting her research findings. She has an admirable and exceptional ability to convey her knowledge, share ideas, promote her work and communicate her ideas  -Lauren Hepworth and Claire Howard

    Karen Steingart 

    Karen has been the most meticulous and, at the same time, author-friendly peer reviewer, colleague, and editor you could wish for. Her generosity of spirit and fostering of collaboration between people and institutions in completion of high-impact, timely Cochrane Reviews means she truly represents Cochrane values. She has been a Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group (CIDG) and Cochrane Diagnostic Test Accuracy (DTA) Editor and Screening and Diagnostic Tests Methods Group (SDTMG) member for many years. Karen is also co-author of a chapter in the recently published Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Diagnostic Test Accuracy and also contributed to the Handbook as a peer reviewer.

    Karen became active with the CIDG in 2011, leading a Cochrane DTA review of Xpert MTB/RIF for tuberculosis. In total, Karen has authored over 10 CIDG Cochrane Review titles (and kept them updated in a timely manner and responsive to WHO guideline needs). She started in the Cochrane DTA Editorial Team to learn from us about how diagnostic reviews work and what important pitfalls are, but very soon the roles of teacher and student reversed. Also, in the dynamics between the DTA Editorial Team and other groups, Karen could be very culture sensitive and always helped to find a solution that was acceptable to everyone.

    Karen has a personal interest in mentoring junior investigators, especially researchers from low-income and middle-income countries, and this is evident in the Cochrane review teams she has assembled over the years. She is also strongly committed to mentorship and helping women develop careers in science.

    Yemisi Takwoingi and Mariska Leeflang

    Maoling Wei

    Maoling is one of the Chinese pioneers of Cochrane China Centre and the field of evidence-based medicine in China. Dated back to 1998, she started to work on the support of the establishment of Cochrane China Centre (formerly, Chinese Cochrane Centre) at West China University of Medical Science, with the support from the Ministry of Health of People's Republic of China, which was later formally registered at Cochrane Collaboration in 1999.

    As the one of the earliest advocates and witnesses of the development of Cochrane in China, Maoling has made an significant contribution to increase Cochrane’s awareness, impact, trust, and engagement in China. Maoling was devoted to the education and dissemination of Cochrane and evidence-based medicine by compiling the textbooks and teaching materials, providing trainings, translations, convening conferences, workshops and networks in China, which made more and more Chinese students, clinicians and researchers start to contribute to Cochrane as authors, editors, and peer reviewers.

    Since 1999, she coordinated the hand search of Chinese RCTs in 192 Chinese journals published since 1950 for the Cochrane Register of Studies (CRS) for Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL). Without funding, she appealed many Chinese clinicians and medical students volunteering to participate in this work, which disseminated the spirit of Cochrane and collaboration in many hospitals in China. Most of the clinicians and students she mentored has now become key academic leaders at hospitals and universities in China and the spirit of Cochrane is being carried forward generation by generation. 

    Yuan Chi and Jianping Liu


    Friday, December 1, 2023
    Muriah Umoquit

    Patients Included at Cochrane London 2023 Colloquium: Advisory Board Co-Chairs share insights and what to expect

    10 months ago

    Cochrane's flagship event, the Cochrane Colloquium, brings together individuals with an interest in the use of evidence in healthcare decision-making to learn, collaborate, and network. This includes patients, caregivers, and advocates, whom Cochrane refers to as consumers. Cochrane has a long history of involving consumers in our work, including in our colloquia. We are thrilled that the Cochrane London Colloquium happening in September 2023 will be a Patients Included event.

    We spoke with Sarah Chapman and Richard Morley, Co-chairs of the Patients Included Advisory Board, to learn more about the Colloquium's certification as a Patients Included event.

    Can you tell us a bit about yourselves?
    Sarah: “I work at Cochrane UK, sharing Cochrane evidence through our blog Evidently Cochrane and on social media in ways that make it easy for people to understand and use it. I also have a personal blog, From Ear To Eternity, where I write about my cochlear implant journey, and about life with hearing loss.”

    Richard: “Hello. I’m Cochrane’s Consumer Engagement Officer. I work for Cochrane’s Central Executive Team. I’m based in York, UK but work globally. I work to engage and involve consumers as users of our evidence and in the work of Cochrane. That includes our growing international community of consumers and I’d like to invite anyone who is interested in health evidence to join our Cochrane Consumer Network and learn more about our work.”

    Richard, Can you start by telling us a bit about patients, caregivers and public involvement at Cochrane?
    “Cochrane uses the term "consumers" to refer to individuals with personal experience of a healthcare condition, including patients, caregivers, and family members. They are users of our health evidence. Throughout our history, Cochrane has actively involved consumers to participate in our governance, author and peer reviewer teams, as well as numerous advisory groups. At Cochrane, we recognize that consumer involvement enriches our work and we remain committed to including them and enhancing their understanding of evidence-based healthcare.”

    Sarah, What does a ‘Patient Included’ event mean?
    “Put simply, it means that patients are at the heart of the event; they are involved in planning and delivering it.  The Patients Included Conference Charter gives a framework for how to do this. The five points of the Charter relate to the active participation of consumers in the design, planning and delivery of the event; funding and expenses; accommodating disability requirements; and facilitating virtual access where possible. In 2018, our Colloquium adopted the Patients Included Charter for the first time and we felt it made for a great experience for everyone. We are using what we learned from that event, as well as bringing in fresh expertise through our Patients Included Advisory Board as we prepare for Cochrane London 2023.”

    Richard, how have you worked with the local hosts to ensure that the conference is accessible to consumers from diverse backgrounds?
    “Sarah and I co-chair the Patients Included Advisory Board. The members advise on aspects of the inclusion of consumers in the planning and delivery of the Colloquium, in accordance with the Patients Included Conference Charter. The Consumer Network Executive has also fed into the preparations.

    Cochrane has also set aside £25,000 to provide stipends for consumers, and reduced rates, to support consumers from diverse backgrounds to attend the conference. Applications have closed now and we’ll be getting in touch with people towards the end of May with the results. Cochrane UK will fund two consumers living in the UK to attend Cochrane London, and applications are open until 12th June."

    Sarah, what kind of things are being planned to help with accessibility and the consumer experience?
    “Many things that consumers have raised as being important are being taken into consideration, from physical aspects of the venue to the presentation of scientific content. For example, we will have a ‘Take a break’ area that is away from the main hustle of the event that will be a space to recharge. We are working with a research team to implement the latest evidence on accessibility to the conference, from increasing the number of seating options to proving accessible poster templates. We will also have live transcription for the plenary sessions, which is a great help not just to people with hearing loss but also to those for whom English is not their first language.”

    Richard, can you tell us about specific sessions or activities geared towards consumers?
    “We’re planning lots of ways to support consumers at the Colloquium, as Sarah says. There will be a buddying system for consumers attending, a WhatsApp group, two meeting especially for consumers: one to prepare them for the conference, and a second to discuss issues of interest to volunteering in Cochrane.

    There will also be much in the formal content of the Colloquium for consumers. The conference theme is ‘Forward together for trusted evidence’ with content covering producing trusted evidence, advocating for trusted evidence, informing health and care decisions and co-production and working together. These are all really important for topics for users and co-producers of evidence.

    The full programme sessions will soon be announced. I know there will be a plenary devoted entirely to engagement and involvement, a Special Session about improving the evidence for, and practice co-production, and a “Consumers 101” workshop for those researchers and patients who want to be involved in producing evidence.”

    Sarah, what are some of the benefits of involving consumers in conferences like the Cochrane Colloquium?“Having consumers involved promotes transparency, accountability, and trust in the way that research is produced. It also makes for a much richer conference experience for everyone, as we discovered at our first Patients Included event; more enjoyable, more inspiring and more relevant! “

    Finally, what are you most excited about for this year's Cochrane Colloquium?
    Sarah: “I can’t wait to welcome everyone to London – both familiar and new faces. It’s been five years since our last conference and we will be coming together in a changed world and challenging times, when producing trustworthy, relevant evidence seems more important than ever. While remote working is rightly here to stay, an in-person event provides a great opportunity to work creatively together, to be inspired and to gain some fresh perspectives. Bring it on!”

    Richard: “I’m really excited to be meeting in person. This hasn’t happened properly since the Edinburgh conference. It will be so lovely to gather together with at least some of our community of volunteers, face to face at last. The Patients Included element ensures that we can have many meaningful discussions about evidence, and working together, and make plans for the future. Roll on September!”

    Tuesday, May 2, 2023
    Muriah Umoquit

    Cochrane seeks Advocacy and Partnerships Officer - Flexible location, remote

    10 months ago

    Specifications: Permanent Role
    Salary:  £35,000 per annum
    Location: Flexible. Cochrane's Central Executive Team is able to offer employment contracts in the UK, Germany or Denmark, and consultancy contracts outside these countries
    Directorate:  Development
    Closing date: 28 May

    Cochrane is an international charity. For 30 years we have responded to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesising research findings and our work has been recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

    Cochrane's strength is in its collaborative, global community. We have 110,000+ members and supporters around the world. Though we are spread out across the globe, our shared passion for health evidence unites us. Our Central Executive Team supports this work and is divided into five directorates: Evidence Production and Methods, Publishing and Technology, Development, and Finance and Corporate Services.

    The Advocacy and Partnerships Officer will support the continued implementation of advocacy and external partnership activities at Cochrane. They will:

    • Support the maintenance and development of strategic partnerships
    • Contribute to and promote Cochrane’s advocacy initiatives

    Don’t have every single qualification? We know that some people are less likely to apply for a job unless they are a perfect match. At Cochrane, we’re not looking for “perfect matches.” We’re looking to welcome people to our diverse, inclusive, and passionate workplace. So, if you’re excited about this role but don’t have every single qualification, we encourage you to apply anyway. Whether it’s this role or another one, you may be just the right candidate.

    Our organization is built on four core values: Collaboration: Underpins everting we do, locally and globally. Relevant: The right evidence at the right time in the right format. Integrity: Independent and transparent. Quality: Reviewing and improving what we do, maintaining rigour and trust.  

    You can expect: 

    • An opportunity to truly impact health globally  
    • A flexible work environment  
    • A comprehensive onboarding experiences
    • An environment where people feel welcome, heard, and included, regardless of their differences

    Cochrane welcomes applications from a wide range of perspectives, experiences, locations and backgrounds; diversity, equity and inclusion are key to our values.

    How to apply

    • For further information on the role and how to apply, please click here.
    • The deadline to receive your application is 28 May 2023.
    • The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements, using specific examples. 
    • Read our Recruitment Privacy Statement
    Thursday, May 11, 2023 Category: Jobs
    Lydia Parsonson

    Cochrane seeks Managing Editor - UK, remote

    10 months ago

    Title: Managing Editor
    Specifications: 12-Months Fixed Term – Contract
    Salary: £42,000 per annum  
    Location: UK – Remote/Flexible
    Directorate: Evidence Production & Method
    Closing date: 11 May 2023
    Cochrane is an international charity. For 30 years we have responded to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesising research findings and our work has been recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

    Cochrane's strength is in its collaborative, global community. Cochrane's members and supporters come from more than 190 countries. Though we are spread out across the globe, our shared passion for health evidence unites us. Our Central Executive Team supports this work and is divided into five directorates: Evidence Production and Methods, Publishing and Technology, Development, and Finance and Corporate Services.

    Reporting to the Senior Managing Editor and working with members of the Editorial Production and Methods Directorate, the role holder will need to have good awareness of Cochrane guidance for different types of standard and complex systematic reviews (intervention, qualitative, diagnostic test accuracy, prognosis, rapid and overview), plan how they will need to be handled in their team, and work to ensure that deadlines are met. The role holder will also be required to ensure that pilots aimed at innovating the editorial process can be supported as needed.

    Don’t have every single qualification? We know that some people are less likely to apply for a job unless they are a perfect match. At Cochrane, we’re not looking for “perfect matches.” We’re looking to welcome people to our diverse, inclusive, and passionate workplace. So, if you’re excited about this role but don’t have every single qualification, we encourage you to apply anyway. Whether it’s this role or another one, you may be just the right candidate.

    Our organization is built on four core values: Collaboration: Underpins everting we do, locally and globally. Relevant: The right evidence at the right time in the right format. Integrity: Independent and transparent. Quality: Reviewing and improving what we do, maintaining rigour and trust.  

    You can expect: 

    • An opportunity to truly impact health globally  
    • A flexible work environment  
    • A comprehensive onboarding experiences
    • An environment where people feel welcome, heard, and included, regardless of their differences

    Cochrane welcomes applications from a wide range of perspectives, experiences, locations and backgrounds; diversity, equity and inclusion are key to our values.

    How to apply

    • For further information on the role and how to apply, please click here.
    • The deadline to receive your application is 11th May, 2023.
    • The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements, using specific examples. 
    • Read our Recruitment Privacy Statement
    Friday, April 28, 2023 Category: Jobs
    Lydia Parsonson

    Cochrane Clinical Vignettes project aims to support evidence-based decision-making in clinical practice

    10 months ago

    Cochrane France is dedicated to promoting evidence-informed decision-making and practice. To support this mission, Cochrane France has launched a new project, Cochrane Clinical Vignettes. Cochrane France intends to produce several clinical vignettes per year covering various medical specialties in collaboration with Cochrane Skin, Cochrane Lung Cancer, and Cochrane Training.

    These clinical vignettes will present a clinical case scenario and a summary of the systematic review's findings and conclusions, with users being prompted to identify the most effective intervention based on the evidence presented in the vignette. The objective of these clinical vignettes is to enhance the users’ ability to apply evidence-based interventions in clinical practice, thereby improving patient outcomes. We encourage healthcare practitioners, researchers, and students to use these clinical vignettes to promote evidence-based therapies in clinical practice. Using these vignettes can improve your capacity to use the most recent evidence-based interventions in real-world settings.

    The clinical vignettes will be available in French and English, making them more accessible to a wider audience. They are designed to be user-friendly and should take no more than 5 to 10 minutes of the user's time to complete.

    List of vignettes:

    • Use of topical corticosteroids in eczema - available in English and French
      Created by Cochrane Skin and Cochrane France, this vignette presents a common clinical scenario and provides users with evidence-based recommendations regarding strategies for using topical corticosteroids in children and adults with eczema.

    • Infantile Haemangioma of the Skin - available in English and French
      Created by Cochrane Skin and Cochrane France, this vignette presents a common clinical scenario and provides users with evidence-based recommendations on the management of infantile haemangioma.
    Friday, September 15, 2023 Category: The difference we make
    Muriah Umoquit

    Stress-management interventions may help individual healthcare workers for at least a year

    10 months ago

    Interventions aimed at reducing work-related stress for individual healthcare workers may lead to improvements in how people cope with stress up to a year later. Findings from a Cochrane review of the latest available evidence build on the conclusions of a previous review in 2015 that found low-quality evidence that interventions, such as cognitive behavioural training (CBT), mental and physical relaxation, were better than none.

    The researchers included 117 studies of the effects of different interventions on stress alleviation in the current review, of which 89 studies were new. These 89 studies were published between 2013 and 2022. A total of 11,119 healthcare workers worldwide were randomised to different interventions, and stress was assessed by questionnaires measuring stress symptoms in the short term (up to three months after an intervention ended), in the medium term (between three and 12 months) and long-term (follow-up after more than a year).

    The review from Cochrane, a collaboration of independent, international experts, looked at interventions at the level of the individual healthcare worker that focused attention either on the experience of stress, or away from the experience of stress. Strategies for focusing attention on the stress included CBT, and training on assertiveness, coping and communication skills. Interventions that focus attention away from the stress included relaxation, mindfulness meditation, exercise such as yoga and tai chi, massage, acupuncture, and listening to music. The researchers wanted to see whether different types of interventions were better than no intervention in reducing stress.

    The healthcare workers in the studies were experiencing low to moderate levels of stress and burnout, which can lead to physical symptoms such as headaches, muscle tension or pain, but also mental symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, impaired concentration and emotional and relationship problems.

    Sietske Tamminga, assistant professor in public and occupational health at Amsterdam University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, who led the research said: “Healthcare workers often deal with stressful and emotional situations in patient care, human suffering, and pressure from relationships with patients, family members and employers, as well as high work demands and long working hours.

    “We found that healthcare workers might be able to reduce their stress by means of individual-level interventions such as cognitive behaviour training, exercising or listening to music. This may be beneficial for the healthcare workers themselves and it may spill over to the patients they care for, and the organisations they work for. The effect may last for up to a year and a combination of interventions may be beneficial as well, at least in the short term. Employers should not hesitate to facilitate a range of stress interventions for their employees. The long-term effects of stress management interventions remain unknown.”

    The researchers say that larger, better-quality studies are needed to look at both the short- and long-term effects of individual level interventions in order to increase the certainty of the evidence.

    “We need more studies on interventions addressing work-related risk factors both at the individual and organisational level,” said Dr Tamminga. “It might be even more beneficial to improve working conditions themselves, instead of only helping individuals to deal better with heavy psychosocial burdens. For example, employers could address problems of understaffing, over-work and anti-social shift patterns. If you’re dedicated to change, you need to change the underlying risk factors rather than focusing on the symptoms.”

    Limitations of the research include: the estimates of the effects of individual-level stress management interventions may be biased because of a lack of blinding of the participants in the included studies; many studies were small; and there were too few studies that focused on specific factors that can cause stress in the workplace.

    Studies have reported that between 30% to 70% of physicians and nurses and 56% of anaesthesiologists experience burnout symptoms as a result of their work. Previous research has tended to focus on a particular type of intervention in specific groups of healthcare workers. The authors of this Cochrane review write: “To the best of our knowledge there are no up-to-date reviews that examine the effectiveness of various types of individual-level interventions aimed at reducing stress in various healthcare workers to provide a more complete overview.”

    Dr Tamminga concluded: “There is already a shortage of healthcare workers due to high turnover rates, and effective prevention of stress and burnout may help to reduce this.”

    Tamminga SJ, Emal LM, Boschman JS, Levasseur A, Thota A, Ruotsalainen JH, Schelvis RMC, Nieuwenhuijsen K, van der Molen HF. IIndividual-level interventions for reducing occupational stress in healthcare workers. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews TBD, Issue TBD. Art. No.: CD002892. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD002892.pub6

    Friday, May 12, 2023
    Muriah Umoquit

    Cochrane study finds stool transplants more effective than antibiotics for treating recurring, life-threatening gut infections

    10 months 1 week ago

    A new Cochrane Review has found that, compared with standard antibiotic treatment, stool transplantation can increase the number of people recovering from Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) infection, a condition which causes potentially life-threatening diarrhea. 77 percent of people who received a stool transplant did not experience reinfection within eight weeks, compared to 40 percent of those who received antibiotics alone.

    C. diff is a bacterium that can cause life-threatening diarrheal illness in individuals with an unhealthy mixture of gut bacteria, known as dysbiosis. The most common cause of dysbiosis is treatment with antibiotics, and while antibiotics can be very effective against bacterial infections, they can also harm the beneficial bacteria colonizing the gut, known as the intestinal microbiome. Usually this ecosystem of “good” bacteria recovers quickly, but occasionally “bad” species like C. diff take over and cause serious diarrhea.

    The standard treatment of C. diff infection includes antibiotics, which may further exacerbate dysbiosis. This can lead to a vicious cycle of brief treatment effect followed by a recurrent infection. This happens in nearly a third of infected individuals. According to the CDC, every year there are around a quarter of a million C. diff infections in the US alone, causing approximately 12,000 fatalities.

    Transplanting healthy donor stool into a gut with dysbiosis is intended to balance the gut microbes and reestablish a healthy microbiome, thus significantly reducing the risk of C. diff recurring. Stool donation operates much the same way as blood donation. Donors are screened for diseases and infections before they can donate their stool. The stool can be transplanted via colonoscopy, nasogastric or nasoduodenal tube, enema or via a capsule. The US Food and Drug Administration has recently approved a stool transplant product for prevention of recurrence of C. diff that can be administered as enema.

    The new Cochrane Review, led by pediatric gastroenterologist Aamer Imdad MBBS, examined data from six clinical trials with a total of 320 adults that assessed the efficacy and safety of stool transplantation for the treatment of repeated C. diff infection. Two studies were conducted in Denmark, and one each in the Netherlands, Italy, Canada, and the United States. Most of the included studies compared stool transplantation with a standard antibiotic treatment using vancomycin, which is commonly used for this kind of infection.

    The review found that stool transplantation leads to a larger increase in resolution of repeated infections of C. diff than other treatments studied, as well as a decrease in side effects when compared with standard treatment using antibiotics.

    “After a person with a C. diff infection gets treated with antibiotics, there is about a 25 percent chance that they will have another episode of C. diff infection in the next 8 weeks”, Imdad said. “The risk of recurrence increases to about 40 percent with the second episode and to nearly 60 percent with the third episode. So, once you are in this cycle, it gets more and more difficult to break out of it. Stool transplants can reverse the dysbiosis and thus decrease the risk of recurrence of the disease.”  

    A second Cochrane Review, also led by Dr. Imdad, looks at the use of stool transplants for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a term mainly used to describe two conditions: ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease. The review shows promising results for ulcerative colitis; however, the data is not conclusive yet. Results for Crohn’s disease are even less conclusive. More research will be required before stool transplants can be considered for the treatment of IBD.

    Imdad collaborated with doctors around the country on both studies, including Nathan Zev Minkoff, a graduate from the Norton College of Medicine, Upstate students Natasha Pandit and Muiz Zaman, Class of 2023 in the Norton College of Medicine and Melissa Medina, Class of 2026 in the Department of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, on the C-diff study. The other collaborators included Dr. Maribeth Nicholson and Dr. Sari Acra from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Dr. Scheherzade Asalam from University of Nebraska, Dr. Emily E Tanner Smith from University of Oregon, Dr. Oscar Gomez from University of Buffalo and Dr. Joseph Zackular from University of Pennsylvania.  

    Tuesday, April 25, 2023
    Muriah Umoquit

    Cochrane Denmark and CEBMO seek Research Assistant

    10 months 1 week ago

    Cochrane Denmark and Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine Odense (CEBMO), the Department of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark, invite applications for a one year position as a research assistant.

    The position is temporary and is available from 1st September 2023 (starting date negotiable) and for one year, e.g. to 31. August 2024 with the possibility of extension to a subsequent 3-year PhD position.

    Cochrane Denmark and Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine, SDU

    Cochrane Denmark (formerly the Nordic Cochrane Centre) and CEBMO function as a joint research unit at the Department of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark (SDU), Denmark. Cochrane Denmark conducts research relevant for systematic reviews, promotes Cochrane, and supports authors of Cochrane Reviews in Denmark. CEBMO conducts research, teaches, and provides a methodological consultancy service.

    Cochrane Denmark and CEBMO is located at Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark. The centre houses the secretariat of the Cochrane Bias Methods Group, which advises the Cochrane collaboration on bias in randomized trials and systematic reviews.

    The centre’s main research topics are analysis of risk of bias in trials, reporting guidelines, conflicts of interest, and de-implementation. The centre is responsible for a pre-graduate course in evidence-based medicine for medical students, and postgraduate courses (e.g., PhD courses). Furthermore, the centre runs a methodological consultancy service for clinical researchers, e.g., when conducting systematic reviews.

    The position

    The position involves research (50%), pre-graduate and postgraduate guidance and teaching (40%) and administration (10%).

    We expect potential applicants to have a relevant master’s degree and a research interest in evidence-based medicine and clinical research methodology.

    A position involves primarily working on a research project exploring: Reporting bias and protocols in epidemiological studies.

    Further information

    For further information about the position, please contact Head of Centre Asbjørn Hróbjartsson or Head of Department of Clinical Research, SDU, Kirsten Ohm Kyvik , phone: +45 60113046.

    Salary and terms of employment

    The successful applicant will be employed in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and AC (the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations).


    Applications – including the required attachments – must be sent via the below-mentioned link “Apply online". Only online applications will be accepted. Attached files must be Adobe PDF or Word format. Each field in the application form can contain up to max. 10 Mb.

    Only applications written in English will be accepted for evaluation.

    The application must include (as PDF- or docx-files):

    • A motivation letter
    • A CV
    • Academic Certificates inclusive of Master's degree diploma
    • An explanation of other qualifications relevant to the position.
    • Up to 3 publications (if any)
    • List of publications (if any)

    Incomplete applications will not be assessed.

    Applications may be shortlisted.

    Living and Working in Denmark

    Foreign applicants will be offered Danish language training as part of the employment. The International Staff Office (ISO) at SDU provides a variety of services for new employees, guests and people who consider applying for a job at the University of Southern Denmark. Among other things, the staff answers questions concerning salary, taxation, housing and accompanying family.  Additional information about working in Denmark can be found at Work in Denmark.

    The University wishes our staff to reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.

    Wednesday, April 19, 2023 Category: Jobs
    Lydia Parsonson

    Cochrane seeks Governance and Administrative Officer

    10 months 2 weeks ago

    Specifications: Permanent – Full Time
    Salary: £26,000 per annum
    Location: Ideally based in the UK, candidate from the rest of the world will be considered; however, Cochrane’s Central Executive Team is only able to offer consultancy contracts outside these countries (1-year fixed-term contracts).
    Directorate: Chief Executive Officer’s Office
    Closing date: 11 May 2023
    Cochrane is an international charity. For 30 years we have responded to the challenge of making vast amounts of research evidence useful for informing decisions about health. We do this by synthesising research findings and our work has been recognised as the international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

    Cochrane's strength is in its collaborative, global community. We have 110,000+ members and supporters from more than 220 countries. Though we are spread out across the globe, our shared passion for health evidence unites us. Our Central Executive Team supports this work and is divided into five directorates: Evidence Production and Methods, Publishing and Technology, Development, and Finance and Corporate Services.

    This varied role works closely with the Head of Governance in providing effective and efficient administrative support to Governance. It will also interface with the broader Cochrane Community.

    Don’t have every single qualification? We know that some people are less likely to apply for a job unless they are a perfect match. At Cochrane, we’re not looking for “perfect matches.” We’re looking to welcome people to our diverse, inclusive, and passionate workplace. So, if you’re excited about this role but don’t have every single qualification, we encourage you to apply anyway. Whether it’s this role or another one, you may be just the right candidate.

    Our organization is built on four core values: Collaboration: Underpins everting we do, locally and globally. Relevant: The right evidence at the right time in the right format. Integrity: Independent and transparent. Quality: Reviewing and improving what we do, maintaining rigour and trust.  

    You can expect: 

    • An opportunity to truly impact health globally  
    • A flexible work environment  
    • A comprehensive onboarding experiences
    • An environment where people feel welcome, heard, and included, regardless of their differences

    Cochrane welcomes applications from a wide range of perspectives, experiences, locations and backgrounds; diversity, equity and inclusion are key to our values.

    How to apply

    • For further information on the role and how to apply, please click here.  
    • The deadline to receive your application is  11 May 2023
    • The supporting statement should indicate why you are applying for the post, and how far you meet the requirements, using specific examples. 
    • Read our Recruitment Privacy Statement
    Tuesday, April 18, 2023 Category: Jobs
    Lydia Parsonson

    #MyCochraneStory Colloquium Edition!

    10 months 2 weeks ago

    Cochrane's flagship event, the Cochrane Colloquium,  brings together anyone with an interest in the use of evidence in healthcare decision-making to learn, collaborate, and network. The impact of the Cochrane Colloquium goes beyond the scientific program. For many attendees, it is a life-changing experience that inspires them, connects them with like-minded individuals, and broadens their perspectives.

    We already collect stories from the Cochrane Community about how they got involved with Cochrane. This edition of  #MyCochraneStory invites anyone who attended a past Cochrane Colloquium to share their personal stories and reflections on the event. Whether you have a favourite Colloquium moment, a connection you made,  or something you're proud of presenting  - we want to hear from you! 

    To share your #MyCochraneStory please contact Lydia Parsonson - - with the following:

    • 1-4 photos from past Colloquiums. Please provide a caption for each photo you share. We'll be sharing them as a collage in the news item but may like to share them individually with some context on social media. 
    • Your country of residence: Our community is diverse and we want to celebrate this!
    • Your Cochrane Story: We want to hear about what your favourite Colloquium memories are and what you think makes the event memorable. 
    • Social media handles: We will give your Twitter or Instagram account a tag; just let us know your handles!

    Top-left: Cochrane Rehabilitation in Cape Town. Middle: Cochrane Rehabilitation dinner in Edinburgh. Top-right: Cochrane Rehabilitation spaghetti dinner in our Cape Town apartment. Bottom-left: Cochrane Rehabilitation approved by the Governing Board in Seoul. Bottom-right: On the hotel roof terrace during the curfew in Santiago de Chile.

    Prof. Stefano Negrini –Cochrane Rehabilitation was approved at the colloquium in Seoul where Carlotte Kiekens and I participated. Since the start we have been a global collaboration and many representatives from Cochrane Rehabilitation can meet almost exclusively at Colloquia. It’s a great time for us to meet, learn, talk business and have some fun. The days of the Colloquium are filled with meetings, interesting sessions, lots of learning, and networking with new people. And in the evenings we find time to connect with the colleagues of our group and old friends! Beyond the many other moments with Fields representatives and other Cochrane friends, the highlights of Cochrane Rehabilitation included having a Spaghetti dinner in our apartment in Cape Town and going out for dinner together in Edinburgh. Our team is counting down the days to London and looking forward to see you there!”

    Richard Morley -
    "Patients, caregivers and the public (what Cochrane calls consumers) are an integral part of the well at the Colloquium! I remember the first Patients Included certified event in Edinburgh, and it was an incredibly meaningful and special experience for everyone involved. Patients, advocates, and caregivers felt truly included, and attendees were able to see the direct impact of their work. It's with great pride that I share that this year's Colloquium will be a Patients Included certified event for the second time. This means that patients and caregivers will be actively involved in shaping the program, and that their perspectives and needs will be fully considered throughout the event. It's a true testament to Cochrane's commitment to putting patients at the centre of everything we do, and I can't wait to see the positive impact it will have on all attendees!"

    Sabrina Khamissa - "As Cochrane's Event Support Officer, what strikes me most about the Colloquium is the personal touches the host organizing team adds to make it special. From traditional dances to local cuisine, the team highlights the host country's culture, making the event more than just a typical academic conference. This year, I'm excited to see the small details the team has added to decrease the conference's environmental impact, such as venue choice and offering vegetarian food options. The Cochrane Colloquium is a unique opportunity to connect with the evidence synthesis community, learn from experts, and be part of an event that values diversity and sustainability."

    Roses Parker - "My first and only Cochrane Colloquium was Santiago in 2019, and I’m still benefiting from the relationships I built there. The program is impressive and deciding what not to go to will be the most difficult thing. As Cochrane's new Commissioning Editor, I am attracted to anything with an equity focus as well as having an interest in priority setting, and stakeholder engagement sessions.  I’m excited to meet my team face-to-face as we’ve not had that opportunity so far. There have been many people I’ve already collaborated with but never met in person. And of course, I’m looking forward to meeting new people too and forging relationships that will support my role in the future.”

    Muriah Umoquit - "In 2015, I attended my first Cochrane Colloquium in Vienna with the expectation of a typical academic conference. But I was pleasantly surprised by the unique and inspiring experience that awaited me! From the large plenary sessions to smaller research presentations and poster halls, each Colloquium has something for everyone. More than that, it provides opportunities to connect with experts in evidence synthesis, feel part of the Cochrane Community, and engage in social activities that showcase the host country's culture. As a remote worker, I found it meaningful to connect with people whom I normally only exchange emails with or tag on social media. Everyone is enthusiastic, friendly, and proud to contribute to Cochrane's important work. The Anne Anderson Walk is a beloved tradition that I look forward to at each Colloquium. It's an event where we tour the host city, have some social time, and raise money for the special Anne Anderson Prize. If you're looking for a conference that's more than just another ordinary event, the Cochrane Colloquium in London this year is not to be missed!"

     To share your #MyCochraneStory, please contact Lydia Parsonson - - with the following:

    • 1-4 photos from past Colloquiums. Please provide a caption for each photo you share. We'll be sharing them as a collage in the news item but may like to share them individually with some context on social media. 
    • Your country of residence: Our community is diverse and we want to celebrate this!
    • Your Cochrane Story: We want to hear about what your favourite Colloquium memories are and what you think makes the event memorable.
      Social media handles: We will give your Twitter or Instagram account a tag; just let us know your handles!
    Tuesday, August 22, 2023
    Muriah Umoquit

    Funding available for LMIC participants at Cochrane Colloquium

    10 months 2 weeks ago

    Registration is open for the Cochrane Colloquium, which will take place in London from 4th to 6th September 2023, with satellite events on 3rd September. Cochrane is offering stipends and bursaries to help cover travel and accommodation costs for those who might otherwise be unable to attend, including participants from low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

    The Colloquium will provide an opportunity for individuals to network with other like-minded professionals, share knowledge and expertise, and engage in discussions around evidence-based healthcare. Cochrane believes that by offering these stipends and bursaries, it will be able to attract a diverse group of participants, who will bring with them a range of perspectives and experiences that will enrich the event. 

    We spoke to Sabrina Khamissa, Cochrane’s Event Support Officer, about Colloquium stipends and bursaries.

    What inspired Cochrane to offer stipends and bursaries for individuals from low- and middle-income countries to attend the Colloquium?

    “Cochrane is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion within its network and recognizes the importance of making its events accessible to individuals from all backgrounds. The organization understands that individuals from low and middle-income countries may face financial barriers that prevent them from attending the Colloquium and wants to help alleviate those barriers by offering stipends and bursaries. This is a long tradition at Cochrane and we have been offering this for many years.

    We are also delighted to have TDR sponsor a limited number of bursaries. TDR is the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, and is a global programme of scientific collaboration that helps facilitate, support and influence efforts to combat diseases of poverty. It is co-sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO).”

    How will Cochrane ensure that the stipends and bursaries are distributed fairly and equitably?

    “Cochrane has set out clear criteria for eligibility for the stipends and bursaries, and the LMIC Stipend Committee will assess applications based on those criteria. The committee is made up of members who reside in low- or middle-income countries or who are familiar with the practical issues and challenges faced by applicants. They will be mindful of ensuring that the stipends and bursaries are distributed fairly and equitably and will prioritize applicants who demonstrate a clear interest in evidence-based healthcare and who are members of the Cochrane network.”

    What kind of activities can attendees expect at the Colloquium?

    “Attendees can expect to engage in a range of activities, including interactive sessions, presentations, and workshops. The Colloquium will provide an opportunity for individuals to network with other like-minded professionals, share knowledge and expertise, and engage in discussions around evidence-based healthcare. It’s an excellent opportunity to tap into the global network of Cochrane colleagues! I am personally excited for the social evening event we are planning and the ‘take a break’ floor – there are lots of small touches that are going to make this a unique event for everyone to enjoy!

    Check out this video from May Loong Tan. She received a stipend to attend the 2018 Colloquium and shares her experience.”

     How does Cochrane hope that attendees from low- and middle-income countries will contribute to the Colloquium?

    “Cochrane’s global network is made up of 50+ countries. Cochrane believes that by promoting the attendance of individuals from low- and middle-income countries, it will bring a range of perspectives and experiences that will enrich the event and will help to foster a more diverse and inclusive community of individuals committed to evidence-based healthcare.” 

    If you are interested in attending the Cochrane Colloquium and would like to apply for a stipend or bursary, please visit the Colloquium website for more information and to submit your applications soon! We look forward to welcoming you to London in September 2023!

    Friday, April 14, 2023
    Muriah Umoquit

    Cochrane is improving the way we manage and share the data associated with our reviews

    10 months 2 weeks ago

     At Cochrane, we aim to collaborate and create reliable synthesized evidence, making it accessible to all. We are dedicated to promoting access and the widest possible dissemination of our valuable evidence.

    We're now making some big improvements to help continue that mission, by changing the way we share the data that is associated with Cochrane Reviews. Making data available to everyone is at the heart of our core principles. It opens opportunities for collaboration, reduces research waste, makes systematic reviewing more efficient, and ensures transparency and quality.

    We are confident that these changes will improve the systematic review process by enabling easier re-use of data across Cochrane Reviews, meaning less time and effort being duplicated. It will also make it easier for users and decision-makers to access and examine the relevant data they need and use it to impact policy.

    "I am confident that improving how we share data will appeal to our community of rigorous, passionate researchers. By embracing these new changes, we can to maximise the benefits from the investment in developing Cochrane Reviews, for both authors and users of our evidence .”

    - Ella Flemyng, Cochrane Editorial Product Lead


    “This is a really exciting milestone for Cochrane. This new data format facilitates data re-use, not only in RevMan but other tools too, such as Excel and different statistical packages. It also opens up opportunities for how we can use the data to innovate to best meet our stakeholder needs."

    Gert van Valkenhoef, Head of IT Development and Infrastructure


    • Cochrane is changing the way we share data in a bid to promote collaboration, reduce research waste and ensure quality by making Cochrane Review data more accessible. 
    • From 25 April, data associated with Cochrane Reviews can be downloaded from RevMan Web in standard formats, such as CSV and RIS.
    • This new data package will include not only analysis data but also all other data associated with the Review related to the included studies, risk of bias assessments, and references.
    • As Reviews with this data package are published, it will increase the impact of Cochrane’s Reviews and allow researchers, policymakers, practitioners and others to access and use Cochrane evidence more easily.
    • We plan to continue making changes and improvements to pave the way for further innovation, with the potential to improve evidence and patient care.

     What is changing?

    From 25 April, changes to RevMan Web mean that authors will be able to download all available data files associated with a Cochrane Review in user-friendly formats like CSV and RIS. These downloadable files will include the Review's analyses data, along with other data associated with the Review - such as study characteristics, study data, risk of bias data and references. But that’s not all – once published, readers of the Cochrane Library will also be able to explore the data associated with the Review. All you have to do is select the 'Download statistical data' option on published Reviews and you'll have all the information you need at your fingertips.

    Going forward, this data package will be available with new publications on the Cochrane Library under the same license as the associated Review (‘green’ or ‘gold’). This will of course be reassessed as part of Cochrane’s commitment to move to full open access by 2025.

    For Cochrane Reviews published before this change, a conversion service will be available to convert the current downloadable RevMan 5 analyses files into the standard, easily reusable format.

    What does it mean for you? 

    Authors: We believe these changes are good news for Cochrane authors because they mean that your published Reviews are going to have an even bigger impact. According to extensive research, sharing data leads to increased visibility, usage and impact of your research. This will help your hard work be seen and heard by everyone out there. We also know from our funders that better data sharing is increasingly becoming a key requirement in this area. And this way, RevMan automatically structures and organizes the data so you don’t have to.

    Readers and end users: Unlocking data and information has now been made even easier for our users by our new shareable data. With our more streamlined and accessible Reviews, researchers, policymakers, practitioners and other user groups are now able to find the information they need to make impactful decisions.

    What’s next?

    With this new approach, we aim to make reusing Cochrane Reviews more efficient and effective. Our mission is to increase the visibility and discovery of research data, promote transparency and ensure our information and data can be reproduced. It is the start of Cochrane’s journey towards FAIR principles - Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability and Reuse - of data, which will open up new opportunities for how we can innovate with Cochrane evidence.

    Further information:

    Thursday, May 4, 2023
    Muriah Umoquit
    3 hours 33 minutes ago
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