Plenary Sessions

Please note: This page will be updated on an ongoing basis. 

Plenary 1: Tuesday 23 September 2014| 9:00 -10:30 hrs

Opening Plenary

East meets West: Evidence-Informed Public Health; Concepts, Context, Opportunities, Challenges

This opening plenary will ground the scientific discourse of Cochrane’s 21st Anniversary Colloquium in the context of the challenges and opportunities for Cochrane in providing credible and relevant evidence to inform health decisions that will affect the lives of millions of people around the world; given the context-specific challenges faced by health systems and organizations involved in developing public health policies and delivering public health in resource-constrained settings. 

The plenary will open with Cochrane’s perspective on the opportunities and challenges for Cochrane as it builds on the success of its global endeavour over the past two decades and plans for the future.  Speakers representing international organizations, technical support units of national governments, and non-governmental institutions in the arena of public health will offer their perspectives and strategic initiatives. They will explore the global and regional challenges posed by differing concepts of what constitutes relevant evidence for health decisions; the relationship between research and policy; the tensions between global versus local evidence; the need to build capacity in both research and decision maker communities; and the complex processes associated with framing health policies.

The plenary will conclude with a round-table discussion, anchored by the co-chairs, that will include the perspectives of invited discussants and of Colloquium participants.


Sally Green: Professor, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University; Co-Director, Australasian Cochrane Centre, Melbourne, Australia

Vishwa Mohan Katoch: Secretary, Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare; Director General, Indian Council of Medical Research, New Delhi, India

Prathap Tharyan: Professor of Psychiatry; Director, South Asian Cochrane Network and Centre, Prof BV Moses Centre for Evidence-Informed Health Care and Health Policy, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India


Lisa Bero: Professor, Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Institute for Health Policy Studies, University of California, San Francisco; Co-chair, Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group

Evidence for All: Progress and Challenges in The Cochrane Collaboration

K Srinath Reddy: President, Public Health Foundation of India, New Delhi

Challenges of Knowledge Translation in Public Health

Nata Menabde: WHO Representative to India, WHO-India Country Office, New Delhi

The role of evidence in shaping policies

Sanjiv Kumar: Executive Director, National Health Systems Resource Centre, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, New Delhi

Looking for evidence ‘as we go’ – the NHSRC experience in providing technical support to the National Health Mission


Jackie Ho: Deputy Dean Academic Affairs and Head, Department of Paediatrics, Penang Medical College; Coordinator, Malaysian Cochrane Network of the Australasian Cochrane Centre, Malaysia


Plenary 2:  Tuesday 23 September 2014| 17:30 - 18:30 hrs


Kameshwar Prasad: Professor of Neurology; Member Steering Group, South Asian Cochrane Network; All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Kay Dickersin: Professor of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Director for the Center for Clinical Trials; Director of the U.S. Cochrane Center;Director of the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group US Satellite; Baltimore, Maryland, USA

The 2nd Annual Cochrane Lecture: Evidence-Based Medicine and the Cochrane Collaboration: a McMaster Perspective

Gordon Guyatt: Distinguished University Professor: Departments of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics; Joint Member, Department of Medicine, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Plenary 3: Wednesday 24 September 2014| 9:00 - 10:30 hrs

Public Health: the context, the vision, the opportunities

This public health plenary will provide an inspiring and global vision of the issues for population health and insights into the contribution of knowledge and what strategies will practically have an impact on making a difference at the population level. Speakers will provide examples of the ways in which Cochrane through the public health community and the groups within Cochrane are moving to provide contributors with support, engagement, advancement of methods, innovative and exciting developments in health improvement science with a particular focus on a strong engagement and translation approach. 


N Sreekumaran Nair: Dr.TMA Pai Chair in Systematic Reviews and Evidence-Based Public Health; Professor of Biostatistics & Head, Department of Statistics; Director, Public Health Evidence South Asia, Manipal University, Manipal, Karnataka, India 

Taryn Young: Director, Centre for Evidence-Based Health Care, Stellenbosch University, South Africa; Consultant to the South African Cochrane Centre, Cape Town, South Africa


Elizabeth Waters: Jack Brockhoff Chair of Child Public Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia & Coordinating Editor, Cochrane Public Health Group 

Global context for public health and evidence

A Pathmeswaran: Professor in Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Ragama, Sri Lanka

Making a difference to health inequalities in South Asia

Subhadra Menon:  Professor, Health Communication; Public Health Foundation of India

What’s the Story? Exploring new paradigms in making the news with evidence 

Hilary Thomson: Senior Investigator Scientist, MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow, UK

Developing and inspiring capacity for public health evidence; strategic needs and directions

Plenary 4: Thursday 25 September 2014| 9:00 - 10:30 hrs

Capacity Development: Challenges and Innovations

Capacity building in research is about ensuring individuals, groups, and institutions are globally competitive and able to conduct research that addresses local needs. The Cochrane Collaboration provides a brilliant vehicle for capacity development in conducting systematic reviews, promoting the use of research evidence, and enhancing research capacity through sustainable networks. This plenary considers some aspects of capacity development, with a particular bias towards the experiences of the Effective Health Care Consortium, supported by the UKAid through DFID for over 20 years to promote evidence informed decisions to benefit the poor, particularly in low and middle income countries


Paul Garner: Co-ordinator, Evidence Synthesis for Global Health, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine; Co-ordinating Editor of the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group; Director of the Effective Health Care Research Consortium, Liverpool, UK

Jimmy Volmink: Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg; Director, South African Cochrane Centre, Cape Town, South Africa


Mary Ann Lansang: Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases) and Clinical Epidemiology, Department of Medicine, University of the Philippines,  Manila, Philippines

Cochrane and capacity development

David Sinclair: Joint Coordinating Editor, Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group, Department of Clinical Sciences, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK

Ensuring authors' efforts influence global and national policy

Taryn Young: Director, Centre for Evidence-Based Health Care, Stellenbosch University, South Africa; Consultant to the South African Cochrane Centre, Cape Town, South Africa

Sustainable development for research: taking the agenda forward

Joseph Mathew:  Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Advanced Pediatric Centre, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, India; Member, Steering Group, South Asian Cochrane Network & Centre

Capacity building: From producers to users

Gabriel Rada: Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine; Director of Evidence-Based Healthcare Program, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile; President and Executive Director of Epistemonikos Foundation

Models for developing capacity: inside or out? 

Plenary 5: Friday 26 September 2014| 9:00 - 10:30 hrs

Cochrane Reviews: Assuring Quality and Relevance

This plenary aims to address some of the key pillars of the Cochrane Editorial Unit’s (CEU) editorial strategy: quality, relevance and user focus.

Speakers at this plenary will discuss the findings from the Cochrane Editorial Unit's review screening project: what they have learned and how this can be applied in the future, to ensure that Cochrane Reviews continue to represent the best current evidence in a rapidly developing and competitive field. They will describe the research priority setting work undertaken in renal medicine to help ensure that future research meets the needs of health professionals and consumers of health care, and discuss how this work will inform the Cochrane Renal Group in prioritising review topics. They will also explore how Cochrane Reviews can be made more accessible and useful to patients, for whom social media applications dominate as their primary source of information

The Co-chairs will provide a brief introduction and will chair a round table discussion of the issues raised in the session with the speakers and conference participants.


David Tovey: Editor in Chief, Cochrane Editorial Unit

Harriet MacLehose: Senior Editor, Cochrane Editorial Unit


Toby Lasserson: Senior Editor, Cochrane Editorial Unit, London, UK

The review screening project: what have we learned? CEU perspective

Jan Clarkson: Professor of Clinical Effectiveness, University of Dundee Scotland; Professor of Dental Research and Joint Coordinating Editor, Cochrane Oral Health Group University of Manchester, England.

The review screening project: what have we learned? Review group perspective

Allison Tong: Associate Professor, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

Prioritising reviews in renal medicine

Shaun Treweek: Professor, Health Services Research Unit, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK

Looking for answers: Cochrane versus the TV, magazines, the internet and twitter.  Can we make our reviews more useful to the public?  

Plenary 6: Friday 26 September 2014| 15:30 - 17:30 hrs

Closing Plenary: Advocating for Evidence: Improving Health Decision-Making through Advocacy, Partnerships and Better Communication

Cochrane’s new Strategy to 2020 contains an ambitious new Goal: ‘To make Cochrane the “home of evidence” to inform health decision making, build greater recognition of our work, and become the leading advocate for evidence-informed health care.’ How will we achieve this in the next six years?

This session plans to begin finding some answers to this challenge, drawing from the experience of Cochrane partners in successful campaigning in the field of healthcare evidence; in engaging with policy-makers in their use of evidence; and highlighting the new plans for Cochrane’s rebranding in 2015 and expanded advocacy, communication and partnership activities.


Mark Wilson: Chief Executive Officer, The Cochrane Collaboration



Tracey Brown: Director, Sense About Science, UK

The +AllTrials Initiative: Achieving change through advocacy campaigning

Maureen Dobbins: Professor, School of Nursing, McMaster University, Canada

Supporting evidence-informed health care decision making: Challenging? Yes, but definitely worth the effort

Julie Wood: Head of Communications and External Affairs, Cochrane Central Executive, UK

Cochrane’s Strategy to 2020: How will we impact health decision-making through advocacy, partnerships and better communication?