UNC Sheps, RTI researchers join Cochrane US Network to promote evidence-based health care and public health

The Cochrane US Network will support and train systematic review authors and users of Cochrane Reviews, and encourage the dissemination and use of Cochrane evidence for better health outcomes. Dan Jonas, MD, MPH will lead the UNC-Chapel Hill team.

UNC Sheps, RTI researchers join Cochrane US Network to promote evidence-based health care and public health  click to enlarge Dan Jonas, MD, MPH

June 4, 2019

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The RTI-UNC Evidence-based Practice Center at the UNC Sheps Center has been selected to join the Cochrane US Network – a group of leading institutions in the research and practice of evidence-based medicine. These leaders now join Cochrane’s 70 existing geographic groups around the world to promote evidence-informed decision making in health care by supporting and training users of Cochrane Reviews and researchers who are synthesizing medical and public health literature.

These experts will work with clinicians, professional associations, policymakers, patients, healthcare provider organizations and the media to encourage the dissemination and use of Cochrane evidence for best practices across medicine and public health.

The lead investigator from UNC-Chapel Hill is Dan Jonas, MD, MPH, associate professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine and director of the RTI-UNC Evidence-based Practice Center at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. He leads a team that includes the center’s associate director Cindy Feltner, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine, as well as researchers from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and the Sheps Center.

“We are very excited to join the network and to bring our expertise to Cochrane’s national and international efforts to promote evidence-based healthcare,” Jonas said. “We look forward to working with leaders in synthesis and dissemination of evidence from across the country and the larger international Cochrane network.”

The Cochrane US Network is initially made up of the existing Cochrane US West Associate Center based at Oregon Health & Science University; two Cochrane Review Groups producing systematic reviews in neonatal health and urological conditions; three US satellites of Cochrane Review Groups focusing on eyes and vision, pregnancy and childbirth and musculoskeletal disease; one Field specializing in complementary medicine; and 11 new Affiliate institutions, including:

  • AcademyHealth
  • American College of Physicians
  • Central Michigan University
  • Cornell University
  • Mayo Clinic Evidence-based Practice Center
  • Penn Medicine Center for Evidence-based Practice
  • RTI International – University of North Carolina Evidence-based Practice Center
  • Texas Christian University
  • University of Chicago Medicine
  • University of Colorado; and
  • University of Maryland School of Medicine

“I am delighted to see such a prestigious and committed group of US institutions and leaders in evidence-informed health care join Cochrane’s global family of collaborators,” said Mark Wilson, Cochrane CEO. “Many of these researchers and clinicians are leaders in the field, and I am excited by the expertise, innovation and knowledge they will bring to our mission of delivering trusted evidence into health policy and clinical decision-making. The US health system is the largest and most sophisticated in the world, yet suffers from huge inequalities in health outcomes and tremendous wastefulness. We believe a vibrant Cochrane Network promoting greater use of evidence showing which health interventions work and which ones don’t can make a real difference. I hope that this new – already extensive – network will grow further and welcome many more partners in the years to come.”

These new Cochrane Affiliates each have their own specific areas of expertise and focus. The RTI-UNC center has specific expertise in prevention, mental health, unhealthy alcohol use, and primary care. Collectively, the Network will focus on producing high quality evidence on priority topics for the US; providing training to systematic review authors and health care practitioners, policymakers and others in the interpretation of Cochrane Reviews; as well as raising general awareness of the Cochrane evidence available to make well-informed health decisions. The new Network will build on the work of the former US Cochrane Center based at Johns Hopkins University.

Marguerite Koster, co-chair of the Cochrane Governing Board said, “The establishment of the US Network is an important development for Cochrane as well as the health care community in the US. Coordination and collaboration are core values of the Network because we strongly believe we can add value by working together as a consortium. I very much look forward to the start of the Network and to seeing it develop and grow as a platform for anyone interested in evidence-informed health and health care in the US.”

The formal launch of the new ‘Cochrane US Network’ is today immediately following the AcademyHealth’s 2019 Annual Research Meeting in Washington, DC.

The Cochrane US Network is part of Cochrane, a global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers and people interested in health. Cochrane produces reviews which study all of the best available evidence generated through research and make it easier to inform decisions about health. Cochrane is a not-for profit organization with over 65,000 members and supporters from more than 130 countries working together to produce credible, accessible health information that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest. Cochrane’s work is recognized as representing an international gold standard for high quality, trusted information.

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