Since 2016, Cochrane UK has been visiting secondary schools in and around Oxford to talk about Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) and its relevance in our everyday lives. We started with visiting an after-school Science Club and now boast a growing portfolio of schools who welcome us into our classrooms.
We have taught pupils from Years 9 -13 in formal lessons and in extracurricular science and medical clubs. Our talks and workshops aim to bring an awareness of why it is important to question the evidence behind medical claims. We use topical newspaper headlines to illustrate how medical evidence can be misrepresented in the media - how it can sometimes be inaccurate and sometimes just plain wrong. We also illustrate the relevance of EBM on a personal, everyday level by looking at how we choose cold remedies, to how we consider medical interventions at national and global levels, using the HPV vaccination programme as an example. We also cover what constitutes a randomised controlled trial and how a systematic review is produced.
Recently we organised our second half day workshop on EBM. Twenty-five Year 12 students from local schools took part. Students were introduced to our Citizen Scientist platform Cochrane Crowd, a collaborative volunteer effort to help categorise and summarise healthcare evidence. With the students logged into Cochrane Crowd, they were challenged to screen as many abstracts as they could within 10 minutes, and they managed an impressive 300+! You can read more about the first workshop we ran, in October 2018.
The schools outreach project now has a momentum and we are getting known in and around Oxfordshire. We are very keen to extend the programme across the UK and would love to hear from others who might be interested in getting involved. We would be happy to give support and training, and would also share our various slide-sets and resources. Equally, we would be delighted to hear from anyone who has undertaken similar teaching to learn about your experiences.
Below, you can view a recording version of a talk we deliver in schools.
- What is Evidence-Based Medicine and why is it important when making decisions about our health?
- How can we find out if a treatment is effective and safe?
- Why is it important to look behind the headlines?
We explore these questions, and more, in the video below. The content is aimed at sixth form students hoping to study medicine at university. It will also be of interest more generally to those interested in learning about evidence and how to critically question health information and advice.
References and further reading
- Useful evidence-based links and further reading
- Answers to questions about the common cold (featured in the video at 10 minutes 59 seconds)
Links to videos mentioned in the video:
The PICO framework is explained in this three minute video by Cochrane UK competition winner, Sarah Tanveer
Find out more and get in touch
- Information about the talks Cochrane UK run in schools, including feedback from students and teachers
- Please get in touch with Lynda Ware or Selena Ryan-Vig with any questions or feedback via: firstname.lastname@example.org