Outreach Programme for Schools

We work with schools to help young people build their knowledge and understanding of evidence-based medicine and how it informs everyday health choices

Every day we are bombarded with news about health and healthcare – in newspapers, on the TV and radio, across the internet and in conversations with friends and family.  The headlines we read, watch and listen to can be biased, unsubstantiated, or just plain wrong.   Often, the stories behind them are based on the thousands of new healthcare studies published yearly.  Making sense of them might seem overwhelming, if not impossible, but is important - because at best a health decision taken using inaccurate information is a waste of time and money, at worst it can be harmful. 

Cochrane UK offers free and fun interactive workshops to encourage students to think critically about healthcare claims and equip them with valuable skills when preparing for interview, study at university and in making everyday healthcare decisions. 

We are able to do this because our background is in producing systematic reviews of healthcare research.  In plain English, this means that we start with a question, such as ‘is paracetamol effective and safe at alleviating back pain?’  We search for all the individual studies which have tested this, summarise them, evaluate and finish by asking, what does this tell us about the treatment?  

Today’s students are tomorrow’s doctors, nurses and policy-makers and we’re keen to introduce pupils in years 9-13 to the importance of evidence in making healthcare decisions.  We want to encourage a healthy dose of scepticism and give pointers to reliable places to source evidence.  

We offer sessions from years 9 upwards, giving pupils valuable skills to think critically about health claims.  Sessions can also be tailored to the needs of your school and students. For example, we run workshops targeted at AS and A-Level students aspiring to be doctors, nurses or work in other health-related disciplines.  Learning about evidence-based medicine is particularly useful in medical school interviews, where students frequently report on being quizzed on EBM.  

Find out more and get in touch

If you are interested in Cochrane UK running a session in your school or at our office in Oxford, or if you would like to find out more, please get in touch with Dr Lynda Ware via: general@cochrane.nhs.uk