Embracing diversity

Group of Cochrane Chile members stand on stage at Edinburgh Colloquium with screen behind them showing a picture of Santiago and reading "Embracing Diversity"


“The challenge of diversity in Cochrane: diverse reviews for diverse health decisions by diverse audiences”

Cochrane is an inclusive organization, and all are welcome to participate and contribute. But true inclusion means the participation of diverse audiences with diverse evidence needs for diverse health decisions. Although Cochrane aims to produce high quality reviews relevant to people making different types of health decisions, the main output is relatively standard and focused on the effectiveness of health interventions.

There is growing evidence that embracing diversity—in all its forms—is key to doing good science. Diversity means taking an inclusive approach to the science itself and to the make-up of groups of people who carry out and use research. Cochrane has recognised this from the very beginning as an organisation promoting an inclusive approach to the production and use of systematic reviews. However, there is still work to be done to ensure that inclusivity is at the core of the Cochrane Collaboration. From an internal perspective, wider geographical participation has been promoted and the exploration of diverse synthesis methods is at the core of the Cochrane methodological agenda. However, many non-English speakers still face barriers in accessing mostly English Cochrane evidence focused on the effects of interventions using quantitative synthesis methods. From an external perspective, promoting the use of Cochrane evidence by a wider range of stakeholders—including patients and policymakers—is a challenge at the core of Cochrane mission. Nevertheless, Cochrane reviews are not always relevant to decision makers or are difficult to understand in their current format, and in many cases, our evidence is not serving disadvantaged groups in the population.

Therefore, this year’s Colloquium explores ways in which Cochrane could address the challenge of diversity in many areas: how to inform complex health decisions with diverse types of evidence; how to engage people with low health literacy; how to reach non-English-speaking audiences; how to explore new ways of delivering evidence from reviews (e.g., podcasts, videos); and how to incorporate diverse types of evidence in reviews (qualitative evidence, mixed methods evidence, etc.).

The aims of the 2019 Colloquium are:
• To make Cochrane more relevant to different audiences making health decisions in varied settings
• To build new partnerships and relationships, especially with difficult-to-reach audiences
• To grow the global Cochrane community
• To advance relevant methodological discussions to make Cochrane reviews more relevant

The 2019 Cochrane Colloquium seeks to look at diversity as an advantage rather than a disadvantage by examining linguistic, ethnic, stakeholder, and gender diversity, among other perspectives. Keynote/Plenary Sessions will address the Embracing Diversity theme.