Evidence-based health and social care reach "new heights" in Colorado

Stock xchng. The first Joint Colloquium of the Cochrane and Campbell Collaborations, held last week in Keystone, Colorado, gave members of these two scientific communities the opportunity to identify new ways of working together. The collaborations differ in their scientific focus – Cochrane concentrate on health while Campbell are interested in social care – but both set out to prepare, maintain and disseminate systematic reviews that allow people to make well-informed decisions.

This common ground was the topic of the first plenary session, in which speakers from the Cochrane and Campbell Collaborations outlined the similarities between the organizations and gave their views on what they could learn from one another. Later plenary sessions addressed the importance of making robust evidence available to those dealing with emergent global issues and natural disasters, and ensuring the global reach of evidence-based health and social care. Dr Prathap Tharyan, Director of the South Asian Cochrane Network and Associate Editor of Trials, gave a particularly topical presentation on the role of Evidence Aid established after the 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean in responding to recent international events including the earthquake in Haiti and floods in Pakistan. 

As might be expected for a meeting of two different organizations, presentation and workshop topics were diverse. Sessions covered a range of methodological topics including publication and outcome reporting bias, systematic review and trial methodology, statistical methods and modelling, and education and training. Many also touched on medical-specialty-specific

The conference took place in the
breath-taking and dizzying – literally, in the case of some delegates not
accustomed to the altitude – heights of the Colorado mountains. Those delegates not focused on increasing their oxygen intake took advantage of Thursday’s free afternoon to enjoy horse riding, hiking and 4×4 adventures. The farewell party that evening offered line dancing, lassoing and an old fashioned sing along by the fire.

In Friday’s closing session, speakers reflected on the technologies that have allowed these international communities to develop, and looked at ways to promote the future involvement of men and (particularly) women from all over the world. Next year’s Cochrane Colloquium will take place in Madrid, and will focus on the theme of "scientific evidence for health care and patient safety".

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