Embracing diversity in engagement and involvement – meeting the challenge of engaging and involving healthcare consumers in the production and dissemination of Cochrane evidence that meets the needs of its global audience

Background: Cochrane has over 63,000 supporters and members, spanning 130 countries, and an expanding geographic network of over 40 centres. There is a growing global movement aspiring to produce better and more relevant research by engaging with consumers. Cochrane has been involving consumers for over 20 years. Its Statement of Principles for Consumer Involvement commits the organisation to this endeavour, as it results in evidence that addresses consumers’ needs, reduces waste in research, improves the translation of research into policy and practice, and leads to improved benefits for health systems and outcomes for patients. Cochrane’s consumer volunteers are largely based in the UK (50%), English-speaking (75%), female (75%), and older. There is a need to include a more diverse range of stakeholders in this work. A 2018 survey of Cochrane’s geographic groups uncovered a real desire to engage more meaningfully, so there are considerable opportunities for collaboration and learning. The purpose of the meeting is to explore ways in which consumer engagement and involvement can be spread and operationalized throughout the geographic network of Cochrane centres. During the meeting, participants will share their experiences of present engagement with consumers in their geographic area, including examples of learning resources and recruitment materials. From this workshop, we will develop a case series on increasing diverse consumer engagement that will be published in a peer-reviewed journal and on the Cochrane community blog. We will also introduce a seed funding opportunity for innovative consumer engagement projects and work with groups to develop their projects to apply for this funding. Last, we will establish a collaborative 'Co-production Network' to continue to share and learn diverse engagement strategies and experiences, to strengthen the Cochrane network’s capacity for this moving forward.

Objectives: 1) explore the challenges and opportunities that face Cochrane in engaging and involving a more diverse range of consumers; 2) showcase examples of innovative engagement and involvement practice from across the Cochrane network; 3) introduce resources, techniques and partnerships that can help spread meaningful involvement, including Task Exchange, Cochrane training resources, and the new International Network for Patient and Public Involvement in Health and Social Research.

Description: this interactive workshop will include:
1) presentations from around the Cochrane network of innovative and scaleable engagement and involvement activities;
2) facilitated small group discussions, identifying challenges and opportunities for building more;
3) presentations about Task Exchange (Cochrane’s online collaboration platform), Cochrane training resources, and the new Global Patient and Public Network;
4) the launch of a GBP 10,000 challenge fund to promote innovative projects;
5) scoping of the feasibility of a new Co-production Network – a community of practice.


Morley R1, Marshall C2, Lytvyn L3, Head K4, Plachcinski R5, Bulbeck H6, Smith M7, Fitton N8, Oliver J9, Zakarija-Grkovic I10
1 Cochrane Central Executive Team, UK
2 , New Zealand
3 McMaster University, Canada
4 Cochrane, Switzerland
5 Consumer Executive, UK
6 brainstrust the brain cancer people, UK
7 Cochrane Consumer, Canada
8 Consumer Executive, USA
9 Cochrane South Africa, South Africa
10 Cochrane Croatia, University of Split School of Medicine, Split, Croatia

Target audience: 

Patients/consumers, members of Cochrane’s Geographic Centres and Fields, health and social care research and development individuals and organisations, funders of research and health and social intervention and others.


Wednesday 23 October 2019 - 14:00 to 15:30