Are you interested in taking a leadership role in the Cochrane consumer community? Cochrane’s Consumer Engagement Officer; Richard Morley, and Consumer Executive member; Nancy Fitton explain what’s involved and how to apply.
"Cochrane is an amazing movement to change the way that evidence is produced and used. It is a global community of over 63,000 supporters and members who use and create new knowledge so that healthcare decisions can be made using reliable evidence.
A feature of its work since 1994 has been to support a global network of healthcare consumers (patients, care-givers, and family members) of over 1550 people who help produce Cochrane evidence by setting priorities for future research, defining outcomes in reviews, working alongside researchers, peer reviewing abstracts and reviews, and helping to disseminate evidence. They work with Cochrane’s network of Review Groups, Centres and Fields. And they are part of the governance of the organisation.
One of the ways in which consumers do this latter role is by being part of the Consumer Network Executive. This group of consumers has an important role to play in representing the voice of consumers, they help to take forward work that improves the way that Cochrane works with consumers, and make its evidence accessible to its non-scientist users.
Over recent years the Consumers Executive has helped produce the Consumer Structure and Function Review (2015) and Consumer Delivery Plan (2016), setting out the ways in which consumer involvement will be improved. It formed a group that developed the Statement of Principles for Consumer Involvement in Cochrane (2017). The Executive has supported many consumers at Colloquia, Cochrane’s annual meeting. It has commented on a range of policy documents like the recent Peer Review policy that now makes it mandatory to seek consumer peer review on protocols and reviews. Presently it is working with the network of Cochrane Centres to spread consumer involvement and engagement across our global organisation.
Nancy Fitton, member of the present Consumers Executive, shares her experience of being a member of the group.
It has been a privilege to serve on the Consumer Executive for the last five years. Each member of the CE has their unique skill set, point of view, and experience with Cochrane. We are all from different countries. These differences provide a rich mix of input for the tasks that we undertake.
The work of Cochrane is very important to us. Of course, the participation of consumers in that work is of utmost importance. We work, through various channels, to improve the experience of consumers involved in Cochrane, and to help Cochrane groups embrace consumers as members of the team. This has been a very rewarding endeavour for me. Additionally, the other members of the CE are excellent co-workers in this task. We have an outstanding champion in our Consumer Engagement Officer, Richard Morley.
If you have wished that you had more input into “how things are done,” and would like to build on your involvement with Cochrane by contributing to the consumer experience, you might consider running for a spot on the Consumer Executive."
Members of the Consumers Executive are elected by the whole membership of the consumer community, for a period of three years, with an option to stand for a further period. Elected members are asked to attend monthly online or telephone meetings, to undertake some work in between meetings, and to come to the Mid-year business gathering that takes place in April each year, and the Colloquium (where funding allows). This is not a paid post, but all expenses are met by Cochrane. The Consumers Executive also appoints two people to serve on the Cochrane Council. Members of the Executive are supported by Cochrane’s Consumer Engagement Officer.
This year there are two vacancies to be filled and one of those positions is kept for someone from a Low and Middle-income country. We are particularly keen to encourage people to come forward who can provide leadership to the network, can represent the consumer voice to the wider Cochrane community, support the wider network in its ambition to involve consumers, and actively contribute to the debate about the best ways to involve consumers in the organisation. It’s important to know that the function of all Cochrane’s Executive groups is being reviewed.
If you are still interested, you can download the document that explains how to apply.
Nominations close Friday 29th March 2019