Cochrane UK is delighted to have been awarded a Bronze Employer Award by Science Oxford, a charitable organization that aims to encourage the pursuit of careers within the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. The award comes after Lynda Ware, a former GP and one of Cochrane UK’s Senior Fellows in General Practice, was invited to run a workshop during a STEM Experience Week organized by Science Oxford in May 2019, teaching students about evidence-based medicine.
During the week, fifteen Year 10 students from ten different secondary schools in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire visited a range of biomedical research businesses and organisations, to inspire and enthuse them about various STEM disciplines.
One of the students’ visits was to the Cochrane UK office where, in a two-hour session, Lynda Ware gave an overview of what evidence-based medicine is, why it is important, and how evidence is brought together in a systematic review. The students were also encouraged to consider the evidence (or lack thereof) behind widely used remedies for the common cold and to think critically about how medical evidence can be misrepresented in the media.
We have been teaching secondary school students about evidence-based medicine and encouraging critical thinking about health claims and advice since 2016. However, until relatively recently, the majority of the schools we have visited have been in Oxfordshire and the south. As such we were particularly pleased that, as a result of contributing to the STEM Experience Week, we made contact with, and have recently begun working with, STEM Learning (www.stem.org.uk).
STEM Learning is the largest UK provider of STEM education and careers support, which has contact with every secondary school in the UK. Lynda Ware and Selena Ryan-Vig, Cochrane UK’s Communication and Engagement Officer, are now registered as ‘STEM Ambassadors’. This allows us to respond to advertisements that schools throughout the UK post. For example, a school may request an Ambassador with a particular type of expertise or interest (e.g. medical) to run a workshop or talk in their school. Similarly, we will soon be able to post our own adverts on the STEM Learning website, where we can offer to visit schools to deliver our workshops. This provides an efficient way in which we can make contact with schools beyond Oxfordshire, to bring evidence-based medicine to classrooms throughout the UK.
Lynda Ware’s biography can be found here.
Selena Ryan-Vig’s biography can be found here.
If you’d like to find out more about the workshops we run, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about STEM Learning: www.stem.org.uk
Find out more about Science Oxford: www.scienceoxford.com