Last week I had the privilege of attending the Consumers United for Evidence-based Healthcare Advocacy Summit, followed by the joint colloquium of the Cochrane and Campbell Collaborations. Each of these organizations is focused on promoting evidence-based healthcare, through consumer advocacy organizations (CUE), systematic reviews and meta-analyses on healthcare (Cochrane) and social, education, and justice work (Campbell).
Over the course of the conference, I attended a lot of great sessions, met plenty of interesting people, and learned about many resources of interest. Here are a few from that last category:
- The Campbell Library: freely available systematic reviews on crime and justice, education, and other social welfare topics
- The Cochrane Library: systematic reviews on a variety of medical/healthcare topics, including many beyond the pregnancy and childbirth topics for which they are well known. Requires a subscription unless you are in certain countries or Wyoming; podcasts and some abstracts/plain language summaries are freely available.
- “Sex, Lies, and Pharmaceuticals: How Drug Companies Plan to Profit from Female Sexual Dysfunction,” a new book from health journalist Ray Moynihan. I haven’t read it yet, so I don’t know how/whether it balances the tendency of pharmaceutical companies to classify almost every woman as wanting sex too much or not enough against the needs of women with serious pain or other issues, but I’m adding it to my to-read list.
- Searchable databases of clinical trials: ClinicalTrials.gov (U.S. focus); WHO search portal (international); metaRegister (searches across multiple databases).
- Justice Health Libraries: from the Lloyd Society, searchable database of health-related research in criminal justice settings, with geographical mapping
- Evidence Aid: Cochrane resources for disaster settings, including the Pakistan floods and Haiti earthquake
- Emergency Access Initiative from the National Library of Medicine: provides temporary free access to full text materials for disaster response, currently for Pakistan floods and cholera outbreak in Haiti
- HealthNewsReviews: expert critiques of health journalism
- Dollars for Docs database from ProPublica: searchable database of payments made by pharmaceutical companies to doctors for promoting their drugs
- Army of Women, and the Army of Women Health of Women Study: Susan Love gave a plenary talk on mobilizing consumers to engage with research, including the HoW study, an online cohort study looking at the health of women over time
- Open mHealth: a bit of a techy thing, this website describes some ongoing research/projects to embed mobile technology in personal health care. Ida Sim of the project gave one of the plenary speeches.
- Partners in Health: This organization is currently responding to cholera in Haiti; Joia Mukherjee of PiH gave one of the plenary addresses, on their approach to providing care after the earthquake in that country, especially with an HIV focus.
- Additional plenary videos are online here (I haven’t found transcripts), and include former House member Pat Schroeder talking about the upcoming elections and encouraging people to make a difference.
Beyond these resources, I met or saw speak lots of interesting folks working in various forms of healthcare and consumer advocacy, from groups such as the National Women’s Health Network, Black Women’s Health Alliance, National Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, and Transgender Health, National Partnership for Women and Families, National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition, Childbirth Connection, the Children with Diabetes Foundation, and more. If you were there, say hi to us in the comments!
I would like to express my thanks to the personnel of the U.S. Cochrane Center who arranged a scholarship and provided support for the meeting. It was a great, useful experience.