The Global Evidence Summit 2017 was a unique event. It was the first time that Cochrane, the Campbell Collaboration, the Guidelines International Network, the International Society for Evidence-based Health Care, and the Joanna Briggs Institute joined together to create this premiere event in evidence-based policy.
The central message of the Summit was that evidence needs to be properly communicated to ensure that it is part of the decision making process and not ignored, as so often happens. Stefano Negrini commented: “It was really interesting to see how many people in the different fields are working together to develop evidence to be offered to politicians and the general public, in order to allow them to make proper decisions. There was a unanimous agreement that diffusing the evidence in whatever field is important for all the scientists. Consequently, the understanding of the means with which we have to bring messages to the different audiences becomes of paramount importance. Media and their way of communicating, but also politicians and their need for synthesis, and the public who are sensitive to stories and not to long talks and dry data, were all aspects discussed during the conference.”
The merging of the different organisations broadened the views and brought together an incredible panel of leaders and scientists with a global vision of bringing evidence to the post-truth world. The programme was full of plenaries, working meetings, hands-on workshops, and orals and posters presentations.
“It was interesting to see how Evidence Based Medicine is not isolated and there is a real global movement supporting the use of and struggling for Evidence in different fields: researchers are not alone. This is very relevant for Cochrane Rehabilitation where RCTs are not always the best way to produce evidence”, said Carlotte Kiekens.
Six members of Cochrane Rehabilitation attended the meeting: the Director Stefano Negrini, the Coordinator Carlotte Kiekens, the Reviews Committee Chair William Levack, the Methodology Committee Co-Chair Thorsten Meyer, the Rehabilitation Professional Representative Tracey Howe and a PhD Student that is part of the Headquarters Staff Chiara Arienti.
Our Director participated to the first face-to-face meeting of the Knowledge Translation (KT) Advisory Group. The aim of this group is to provide advices to the Cochrane Governors in the next two years during the development of the whole KT Strategy. Over the past 20 years Cochrane has contributed to healthcare mainly by producing the best possible syntheses of evidence, but without a strong focus on how to communicate this information to different audiences. Eight Working Packages have been recently put in place and will focus over the next year on identifying the priorities for the KT Strategy. Cochrane Rehabilitation will be very well represented in these working groups: this is obviously important to make the voice of our world heard in this process of change.
It was also inspiring to attend the Launch Event of Cochrane Africa: a network with the vision to increase the use of best evidence to inform healthcare decision making across the sub-Saharan African continent. We congratulate them on this launch and we look forward to joining forces to bring evidence in rehabilitation in the African continent, where many people with disabilities live.
We had many occasions to have contacts and exchange ideas with colleagues from other groups such as Cochrane Methods and Review groups, Cochrane Centres (Belgium, Italy, Germany, Sweden,…), CEBaP, EBMpracticenet, and Campbell Collaboration (particularly interesting was the Disability Group).
It is not clear if and when another Global Evidence Summit will take place; rumours suggest that there might be another one in 4 to 5 years. We are looking forward to joining it.