Cochrane's 30 under 30: Andrea Cervera Alepuz

Cochrane's 30 under 30:  Andrea Cervera Alepuz

Cochrane is made up of 13,000 members and over 50,000 supporters who come from more than 130 countries, worldwide. Our volunteers and contributors are researchers, health professionals, patients, carers, people passionate about improving health outcomes for everyone, everywhere.

Cochrane is an incredible community of people who all play their part in improving health and healthcare globally. We believe that by putting trusted evidence at the heart of health decisions we can achieve a world of improved health for all.

Many of our contributors are young people working with Cochrane as researchers, citizen scientists, medical students, and volunteer language translators and we want to recognize the work of this generation of contributors as part of this series called, Cochrane’s “30 under 30."

In this series, we will interview 30 young people, 30 years old or younger who are contributing to Cochrane activities in a range of ways, all promoting evidence-informed health decision making across the world.

We will be hearing from them in a series of interviewees published over the coming months.

We're keen to hear from you. Would you like to take part in this series? Do you know someone you'd like to see interviewed? Contact  Or if you want to know more about Cochrane’s work contact where our community support team will be happy to answer your questions.

Name: Andrea Cervera Alepuz
Age: 30
Occupation: Interim Translations Co-ordinator and Translations and Communications Manager for Cochrane Iberoamerica

 How did you first hear about Cochrane?  Why did you chose to work/volunteer for Cochrane?
I first heard about Cochrane while studying my Master’s. I needed to train as medical translator at some company/charity to complete my studies, and my father —who is a pharmacist— suggested I should try at Cochrane. He explained me what their mission was and —although it took a while to understand systematic reviews and meta-analyses (still learning that)— I thought it was a great place to gain experience.

How did you become involved with Cochrane? What is your background?
I started working for the Iberoamerican Cochrane Centre with an internship agreement as part of my Master’s training. After I completed my training period I was offered a job as translator and communications manager. I have a BA in Translation and Interpreting from the University of the Basque Country, and I then moved to Barcelona to get my Master’s degree on Biomedical Translation.

What do you do in Cochrane?
As interim translations co-ordinator, I work together with the Cochrane IT Services , and the Cochrane support team to guarantee that all 17 Cochrane translation teams can conduct knowledge translation activities in their language. I also participate in the development of the enhanced Cochrane Library as internationalization subject matter expert.

As Translator and Communications Manager at Cochrane Iberoamerica I translated knowledge translation products such as podcasts, press releases, blog shots, infographics, etc., and disseminated them through our website, newsletters, mailing lists and social media. I also edited Spanish Cochrane reviews before their publication, and helped creating the new portal of the Biblioteca Cochrane (Spanish Cochrane Library).

What specifically do you enjoy about working for Cochrane and what have you learnt?
What’s most rewarding is being able to work for a ‘greater good’. Medical translation jobs are often linked to pharmaceutical companies, so working for Cochrane, which totally respect and subscribe to its principles, is exceptional. I particularly enjoy the network design, which allows you to work with colleagues all around the world almost as if they were sitting in the office next to you.

What are your future plans?
My aim is to continue working as a Medical translator/ Spanish editor, learning from Cochrane’s experience and colleagues and helping deliver healthcare evidence to all kind of audiences.

In your personal experience, what one thing could Cochrane do better to improve its global profile?
Resources are limited in Cochrane translation teams. I think they do a great job despite these challenges. However, raising the resources and making efforts in improving the conditions for translation teams — especially those of widely spoken languages (Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, French)—, would probably make an impact on spreading Cochrane evidence throughout the world.

What do you hope for Cochrane for the future?
I’ll illustrate it with an example, which I hope is understood. When I started working at Cochrane, I always had to explain what it was to my friends and family. I thought it was is perfectly normal for lay people not to have a clue about Cochrane. However I was very surprised whenever someone working in the healthcare/pharmaceutical field had no idea of Cochrane’s work; and I’ve met quite a few of them. If I were to answer this question back then, I would’ve said that I hoped Cochrane evidence would reach all healthcare/pharmaceutical professionals. And I still do, but my ambition has grown; so what I hope now is that every person —patient or clinician, journalist or researcher, lay or professional— understands what Cochrane is and uses Cochrane evidence.

How important is it that young people get involved in Cochrane?
I think the only possible way any organization can survive is by welcoming new young members. Not only because of aging, but because any entity needs to be constantly re-thinking and confronting its principles and processes to make sure it evolves and adapts to new scenarios and challenges. Experience is certainly very precious, but we can learn very much from young people too.

Why is this, do you think?
Young people are normally much more up-to-date with the latest ways of interaction, partly because they grew up with them. This obviously doesn’t mean that the newer the better, but you definitely need to try it before rejecting it; also, different ways of working and interacting can co-exist and complement each other within the same organization.

What would your message be to other young people who want to get involved with Cochrane’s work but not sure where to start….?
I think that depends hugely on what your background is and in what area you would like to get involved. If we are talking about young people who want to get involve in Knowledge Translation, I’d suggest they getting in touch with their country’s Cochrane centre to see if they need a hand with their translations and communications activities. If they have translation skills in one of the languages Cochrane translates to, I’d suggest a good starting point would be to join Cochrane as a volunteer translator by taking Cochrane’s translation test. If their language isn’t there, they can always try browsing Cochrane’s TaskExchange where there are plenty of translation tasks being posted every day.

Monday, January 28, 2019