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Forging a Partnership between SBM and the Cochrane Collaboration

Aisha Langford, PhD, MPH, Evidence-Based Behavioral Medicine SIG Outlook liaison

This article is based on an interview with Sherri Sheinfeld Gorin, PhD, Society of Behavioral Medicine (SBM) fellow, former Evidence-Based Behavioral Medicine (EBBM) SIG co-chair, and current chair of SBM's Scientific and Professional Liaison Council (SPLC). Dr. Sheinfeld Gorin has been developing a partnership between SBM and the Cochrane Collaboration (Cochrane).

Cochrane is a global, independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, and others interested in health. Cochrane trials gather and summarize the best evidence to help individuals make informed choices about treatment.

When SBM Met Cochrane

"The relationship with Cochrane came about in a few different ways. I had expertise and a personal interest in conducting meta-analyses and systematic reviews. As SPLC chair, I wanted to enrich our liaison with an important external scientific group. And, I already served as the feedback editor for the Cochrane Library's reviews, which is similar to an editor for a "Letters to the Editor" section in an academic journal. As feedback editor, I also contributed to Cochrane's collaborative management.

"About three years ago, I decided to explore a partnership with Cochrane alongside Sara Knight, PhD (former SPLC chair). Luckily, there was interest from the new CEO of the Cochrane Collaboration (Mark Wilson) and from Kay Dickersin, who had co-founded Cochrane. There was also support from the SBM Board and the EBBM and Cancer SIGs."

Cochrane Provides Reviews of Reviews

"Cochrane has an informative website, which I encourage everyone to explore. As you may see, the Cochrane Library is one of the best places to search for systematic reviews, particularly of randomized clinical trials, in health and medicine.

"Volunteers from all over the world conduct most of the systematic reviews, although some Cochrane authors, review groups, thematic networks, and regional centers receive some financial support from their governments or institutions for working on reviews. The process of conducting a Cochrane review follows a strict protocol, with rigorous peer review and oversight by the varied subject- or method-specific review groups. The details are found on the website."

What Cochrane Offers to SBM

"Each year, we have co-sponsored great presentations by Cochrane at our SBM annual meetings. The Cochrane also offers several on-site training workshops throughout the year, including at their annual colloquium. The US Cochrane Center now offers a free Coursera.

"To facilitate our growing partnership, the EBBM and Cancer SIGs now offer scholarships for members to attend on-site Cochrane training workshops (typically four to five days). At these workshops, you can learn a special software system, RevMan, alongside state-of-the art methods for conducting reviews, and network with reviewers from around the world."

Vision for the Partnership and How You Can Help

"Our goal is to bring more behavioral medicine to Cochrane and to bring the Cochrane approach to SBM. Ultimately, we hope that more SBM members will be trained on how to conduct meta-analyses and systematic reviews to advance behavioral medicine. We also hope that more SBM'ers will use the Cochrane Library for background sections of grants and in publications, will attend the Cochrane presentations at the SBM Annual Meetings, and the Cochrane colloquia.

"We would also like SBM members to serve as resources for Cochrane. The influence of Cochrane on policymakers, clinicians, and patient advocacy groups worldwide is growing. At present, there is no formal Cochrane behavioral medicine review group, so you could work with the SBM SPLC to help to fill that space with our expertise. We hope that our members will take advantage of our growing relationship with Cochrane."

For more information, contact Dr. Sheinfeld Gorin at sherri.gorin@gmail.com or contact current EBBM Co-Chairs Amy Janke (e.janke@usciences.edu) and Joanna Buscemi (jbuscemi@uic.edu).