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New Cochrane site a home for students interested in evidence-based medicine

Medical students who have developed an interest in evidence-based medicine now have their own online network for exchanging ideas.

Students 4 Best Evidence (S4BE), a new website launched by the United Kingdom Cochrane Centre, has already seen contributions from students in nine countries, and hopes to add Canada to the list.

“This topic has a very strong Canadian connection, of course, because it was a Canadian university — McMaster — that played such a key role in developing the concepts behind evidence-based medicine,” says Dr. Sam Shortt, the CMA’s director of quality initiatives and its representative to the Canadian Cochrane Centre.

The new website is aimed at students in different health care fields. “Whether you are training to be a doctor, nurse or other health professional, or you’re a school student thinking about studying medicine, S4BE contributors pull together all the resources on evidence-based health into one interactive space,” the site’s home page states.

The Canadian Cochrane Centre, which is now a formal partner in the S4BE project, says it will be of interest to any student with an interest in evidence. “It is meant for all students, of any age, in any health care discipline,” it says.

In a posting on the site, Sir Iain Chalmers of England, one of the founders of the Cochrane Collaboration, says he wished S4BE had existed when he was a student. “It wasn’t until six years after I had been let loose on the British public that I happened upon the notion of a controlled trial to find out which opinions about treatment were most likely to be correct,” he wrote.

“I am sure that things have changed a lot since my days as a medical student, but that’s no reason to imagine that all is well. Eminence-based health care still often trumps evidence-based care, and that is why S4BE is such a welcome resource.”

Forward any comments about this article to: cmanews@cma.ca.