Introducing Cochrane Global Ageing

New Cochrane Field launches

Sue Marcus joined Cochrane in 2010 as Managing Editor of Cochrane’s Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group, after being a Researcher at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing in the UK. She has a passion for demography and health.

Now, in conjunction with being a Cochrane Managing Editor, she is embracing an exciting new opportunity as Co-Director of the new Cochrane Field, Global Ageing, which launches on 1 October 2016.

How did Cochrane Ageing come about?

A group of us began discussions back in 2013 as part of a natural evolution of the Cochrane Healthcare of Older People Field (HCOP). My background is in demography and health, and I had felt for a while that there was a need - or maybe ‘opportunity’ is a better word - to expand on what had been achieved by the HCOP. The result is the launch of Cochrane Global Ageing. Broadly, its aims are to promote the quality, dissemination, accessibility, applicability, and impact of Cochrane Reviews, and hopefully this will contribute towards better health and wellbeing of older people everywhere.  We want to connect people globally, within and outside Cochrane, and facilitate the sharing of knowledge and experiences related to global ageing and health so that Cochrane can produce age-appropriate reviews. Ageing is multidisciplinary by nature and we need reviews that reflect this so they are relevant and accessible to a wide audience - consumers, review editors, authors, specialists, policymakers, educators, commissioners, and funders.

What do you plan to do?

We want to support and work with the Cochrane Review Groups who will produce these reviews. We also want to find ways to better disseminate them. We want to make this evidence more accessible by drawing on and extending our international network of users of Cochrane Reviews, and by extension support the collection and dissemination of global evidence about ageing and health. Knowledge exchange and translation will be key here.

Has the work of Global Ageing already started?

Yes, it has. We’re working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO).  When we looked at the WHO’s action plan on ageing and health, we found it resonated well with the aims and objectives of Cochrane’s Strategy to 2020. WHO have invited us to be part of their steering group for a priority setting exercise, which is to be developed this year. We have also been invited to speak from the floor at the WHO meeting in Geneva on 30 September to celebrate the UN International Day of Older Persons. This coincides with the launch of Global Ageing. We’re also holding a special session at the Seoul Colloquium, and we’re currently defining our scope by conducting a broad stakeholder engagement and prioritization process with the advice and advocacy of our international Advisory Board. This will help us achieve our mission and objectives.

What impact would you like Global Ageing to have?

Ageing and health is not just about disease-focussed evidence, although this is very important.
We want to make sure that Global Ageing builds and develops effective relationships and ensure communication flows between researchers and decision-makers and reaches knowledge users, funders, older people, families and caregivers, and professional organizations. Ideally, these endeavours will contribute to reliable, high-quality primary research that is prioritized to answer pertinent, ‘real world’ health questions that are age appropriate and that improve the evidence base on which our work is built.
In addition to building international capacity to synthesize research, we’d like to see more involvement from older people themselves. We know for example that they are under-represented in clinical trials, so this could be a way to give them a ‘voice’. This could mean greater participation in research and helping identify research questions and the need for innovation - including the development of study designs, services, technologies etc. Older people are a very valuable and under used resource!

How do you feel about the launch of Global Ageing?

I think it’s a very exciting development - and it carries a good deal of responsibility too! I’m very fortunate to be working with two highly-respected colleagues, Tracey Howe and Vivian Welch, who are Co-Directors.  They bring a range of expertise and experience that’s crucial to our success. There’s a wealth of talent, expertise, and passion throughout Cochrane, and we’d like to see this harnessed and expressed through a variety of contributions to Cochrane Global Ageing. The new and innovative ways to get involved, such as Task Exchange and Cochrane Crowd will be the perfect vehicles for such contributions. We hope to work in partnership with complementary initiatives both within and external to Cochrane. We dare to think that the activities of Cochrane Global Ageing will provide a new gateway to optimizing the health and wellbeing of ageing populations everywhere.

We’d love to hear from anyone who wishes to be involved with us! Visit the Cochrane Global Ageing website or send us an email.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016