Evidence Synthesis Ireland

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HRB national conference to tackle truth and trust in health research

The Health Research Board (HRB) is partnering with with Evidence Synthesis Ireland and the HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network to host an online conference. It is designed to enable participants explore the challenges and solutions associated with building trust in research evidence to support informed health decisions.

With so many claims made in relation to health it can be hard for people to discern what is fact and what is fiction. COVID-19 has magnified this challenge on a global level.

According to Mairead O Driscoll, Interim CEO at the Health Research Board,

It is essential when it comes to health that people can recognise reliable claims, think critically and make more informed decisions about health policy and practice, as well as personal health choices. We know this HRB conference will help to address this.’

This is the first HRB conference to take place completely online. It will happen on 24 and 25 November 2020 and registration is free.

We are excited about moving to an online platform for the event.  We hope to build a strong interactive dynamic to the event through an online competition which will also test people’s ability to discern myth versus fact in relation to health claims. It promises to be both educational and enjoyable,’ concludes Dr O Driscoll.

In a joint statement from the Public Advisory Panel members, Anne Daly and Deirdre Mac Loughlin say, ‘This is a topic of the utmost relevance to both public and patients.  On a daily basis we are bombarded with health news and information which we are meant to use to make decisions.  So, increasing our ability to determine the truth and discern what information and sources to trust, is key to enabling us to make informed choices about our care. Being part of this committee is an acknowledgement of the importance of public engagement and a real opportunity to have our voice heard and influence the programme

Speaking about the event, Prof Declan Devane, Professor of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, Scientific Director, HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network and Director, Evidence Synthesis Ireland & Cochrane Ireland says,

We know that unreliable claims about the effects of health interventions can lead to poorly informed choices, unnecessary waste and harm. The current pandemic has again highlighted the extent of, and harm associated with, unsubstituted health claims associated with screening, diagnosis, preventions and treatment. This is not unique nor limited to the current pandemic. We hope that this conference will open a conversation on the importance of critical thinking around health claims and the impact this has on informed health choices.’

Click here to see the conference programme