We are delighted to publish Cochrane’s 2019 Annual Review, entitled: ‘Embracing Diversity’. As we celebrate 12 months of achievements and reflect on the global expansion and increasing impact of Cochrane’s work, and the growing diversity of our organization, we acknowledge that there is still more Cochrane can do to embrace and promote diversity in all its forms. We publish our Annual Review at a time when millions of citizens around the world are demonstrating against the continuing racism and discrimination that blights the lives and the life chances of many people within their communities because of their race or ethnicity. Cochrane stands shoulder to shoulder with those protesters: not only are racism and discrimination morally wrong and against the principles that we profess, but they result in deep inequities in health outcomes and shorter and poorer lives for those who suffer from them.
Cochrane has always been a diverse and international endeavour, from its first Colloquium in Oxford, UK, in 1993, where 77 people from many different countries came together with a passion for promoting evidence-informed health and health care. Today, we are an even more diverse global community with over 82,000 researchers, professionals, patients, carers and people from more than 130 countries working together to achieve our mission. Cochrane’s 2019 Annual Review highlights – for instance – that:
- 70% of our readers access our evidence with browsers in languages other than English;
- Cochrane publishes translated summaries of our evidence in up to 15 languages;
- Cochrane’s Governing Board Trustees originate from eight countries; the Cochrane Council’s members from 11; our Central Executive Team from 17; and our citizen scientist initiative, Cochrane Crowd, involves over 15,000 people from 146 countries;
- We launched or expanded official Cochrane Groups in another 10 countries in 2019, including the United States, China, Romania and the Dominican Republic;
- 70% of Cochrane’s Board of Trustees, 62% of Council members, 50% of the Senior Management Team, 79% of Cochrane Group staff, and 75% of the Central Executive Team are women.
- Cochrane launched new initiatives aimed at ‘Young Career Professionals’ and students to bring many more young people into Cochrane and continue to reinvigorate the organization with new ideas, passion and innovation.
But we can do more and we must do better. The Governing Board and Senior Management Team are committed to improving the ways Cochrane works so that we, as an organization, live the values we profess: promoting diversity and ensuring that no Cochrane member or supporter suffers any form of discrimination in their work or experience with us. We also recognize the part we can play in building the evidence base that highlights and analyses the health inequalities that exist around the world; and our responsibility to advocate for evidence-informed changes in policy and practice that will overcome these inequalities and deliver improved health outcomes for everyone.
So, as we celebrate the outstanding work undertaken in 2019 by thousands of collaborators from around the world, and thank them all for their individual contributions, we also recommit Cochrane to ‘Embracing diversity’, inclusion and non-discrimination in improved ways in the future. We will consult our global community and implement new initiatives to measure and promote greater diversity and ensure all Cochrane’s supporters and members experience an equality of opportunity to contribute and be recognised for their work. Together, we aim to help build a world where decisions about health and healthcare are informed by high-quality, relevant and up-to-date synthesized research evidence that leads to better health for all people.
With our best wishes,
Martin Burton, Co-Chair
Catherine Marshall, Co-Chair
Mark Wilson, CEO
Karla Soares-Weiser, Editor in Chief