Background: the Cochrane UK and Ireland Trainees Advisory Group (CUKI-TAG) was founded in 2016 to improve trainee engagement with evidence-based medicine and systematic reviews in general, and involvement with Cochrane in particular. It is supported by Cochrane UK; membership is open to all UK and Ireland medical and dental trainees. By recruiting from a wide range of medical specialties and geographical regions, we foster a close-knit community of the next generation of clinical leaders. With four years’ experience we have developed a model which could be easily replicated in other countries to promote trainee engagement with Cochrane internationally.
Objectives: to describe this successful model for engaging trainees nationally that is in its fourth year of operation in the UK. To discuss how this can be transferred to other countries to support international colleagues.
Methods: initial recruitment to the CUKI-TAG was by advert and CV screening. The group meets regularly, often using online forums to discuss ongoing projects. The committee hosted events at the UK Cochrane Symposium and the 2018 Cochrane Colloquium. We organize an annual trainees’ conference to provide evidence-based medicine skills, aimed at supporting journal clubs in local hospitals. We have used a variety of online methods of engaging trainees including a detailed website of training resources linked to the Cochrane UK website. We have used online multimedia: training resources via our website, blogs, journal clubs, Twitter, Instagram, podcasts, and videos. Cochrane UK has provided travel expenses for meetings, Cochrane conference scholarships and regularly hosts training events.
Results: the trainees’ conference was well attended and received excellent feedback. There was some impact regarding dissemination of local journal clubs and a positive self-reported impact on the clinicians who attended the training. There was increased self-reported use of online resources and engagement with Cochrane. Membership to the committee has varied due to leadership vacancies; we have had between eight and 22 members over the three-year period. We have experienced the highest impact regarding dissemination of information to our target group via our website, face to face events, online blogs and video. We have experienced moderate impact with online journal clubs and podcasts.
Conclusions: we present our experience; our successful model involves recruiting a committee Chair, retaining a diverse national committee and hosting an annual workshop. The CUKI-TAG is supported by the Chair, meets regularly and promotes use of Cochrane online resources. It engages trainees via social media and face-to-face meetings. Future directions involve expanding both our committee and our use of social media, targeting our efforts towards the highest-yield activities. This successful model can be translated abroad, encouraging diversity within Cochrane on an international scale.