About Cochrane Ireland

Sharing Health Evidence You Can Trust

Cochrane is a global independent network of health practitioners, researchers, patient advocates and others, responding to the challenge of making the vast amounts of evidence generated through research useful for informing decisions about health. We are a not-for-profit organisation with collaborators from more than 130 countries working together to produce credible, accessible health information that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest.

Cochrane Ireland
Cochrane Ireland aims to promote the use of Cochrane evidence across the island of Ireland and to support engagement with Cochrane at all levels. As of December 2018, Cochrane Ireland is hosted within a new initiative called Evidence Synthesis Ireland, based at the National University of Ireland Galway. This new initiative is funded for three years by the Health Research Board of Ireland and the Research & Development Division of the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland. 

Get in touch!
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Our aims:
• To build knowledge and awareness in evidence synthesis amongst the public, health care institutions and policymakers, clinicians and researchers
• To build our capacity to produce evidence syntheses across the Island of Ireland
• To increase the capability of individuals, organisations and institutions to undertake Cochrane reviews from question formulation to evidence synthesis to guideline development and implementation into evidence-based practice and policy
• To promote the conduct of high quality evidence synthesis methodology research.

Our team:
Director
Professor Declan Devane PhD,PGDip,MSc,BSc,DipHE,RGN,RM,RNT

Declan is the Director of Evidence Synthesis Ireland and Director of Cochrane Ireland. He holds the Chair in Midwifery and is Deputy Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at NUI Galway. He is also Scientific Director of the HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network, and Principal Investigator with the INFANT - Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research.

Declan trained as a nurse and a midwife, meandered (with the help of opportunity, interest and luck) his way into trial methodology and evidence synthesis and his work now focusses on a blend across midwifery (and broader maternity care), randomised trials and how they are done and synthesising evidence.

Declan's clinical areas of interest lie in maternity care with a particular focus on interest in the implementation and evaluation of models of maternity care and on methods of fetal monitoring. Declan's methodological areas of expertise are randomised trials, systematic reviews and meta-analyses and much of his career has focussed on building capacity in this area. He has published over 150 papers (h-index 33 Scopus, Jan 2019) including numerous Cochrane systematic reviews. He has led a number of clinical trials recruiting from 100 to over 3000 participants and serves on a number of Trial Steering Committees including those in pregnancy (e.g., EMERGE, HOLDS, PARROT) and Data Monitoring Boards (e.g., CORD, KEEP-WELL).  He is editor with the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group and has authored dozens of systematic reviews. Declan has been awarded over €7 million in research funding as PI or co-PI and more than €8.0 million as co-applicant.   

Associate Director
Dr Elaine Toomey PhD, MSc, BSc, MISCP

Dr Elaine Toomey is Associate Director of Cochrane Ireland and Research Fellow in the School of Nursing and Midwifery, National Unviersity of Ireland Galway. She is also a Health Research Board (HRB) Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement post-doctoral research fellow with the Health Behaviour Change Research Group in the School of Psychology, where she is currently also working on the development of a complex intervention to enhance infant feeding practices with a goal of improving childhood obesity outcomes, specifically focusing on process and implementation outcomes. 

Elaine's background is in physiotherapy, and she obtained her PhD from University College Dublin and her MSc and BSc from the University of Limerick. Her research primarily focuses on the development, evaluation and implementation of health behaviour change interventions, and implementation science, or the translation of evidence into practice, particularly in relation to chronic disease prevention. She has specific expertise in a variety of evidence synthesis methodologies, process evaluation and exploring the fidelity and adaptation of behaviour change interventions. In 2016 Elaine was awarded a Leamer-Rosenthal Prize for Open Social Science for Emerging Researchers from the University of California Berkeley for her work in fidelity and transparency of behaviour change interventions. Stemming from this, she is also a Catalyst for the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) and a keen advocate for open science.

Programme Manager of Evidence Synthesis Ireland
Dr Patricia Healy PhD, MSc, RM, RCN, RGN

As Programme Manager for Evidence Synthesis Ireland (ESI), Dr Healy is responsible for developing a world-class evidence synthesis centre at NUI Galway, including the re-establishment of Cochrane Ireland. Along with the Executive Committee, Patricia is responsible for establishing, co-ordinating, managing and delivering activities for ESI, as well as developing new strategies for its future. She is also responsible for delivering on primary evidence synthesis methodology research projects including; applying for funding, conducting studies with international research teams and reporting and disseminating project findings.

Patricia is a senior research fellow in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) and a registered nurse and midwife. Patricia’s professional interests focus on neonatal and maternity care, quality, safety and risk management in healthcare, research methodology, clinical trials, systematic reviews, meta-analyses and evidence synthesis.

Senior Administrator for Evidence Synthesis Ireland 
Sheena Connolly MSc, H.Dip, B. Comm

Sheena Connolly is the Senior Administrator for Evidence Synthesis Ireland (ESI). Her role includes providing administrative support for the Director and Programme Manager in delivering the activities of ESI. She will act as the main point of contact for stakeholders engaging with ESI. Sheena is a graduate of the Masters of Science (Marketing Practice) at NUI Galway and brings years of administrative and marketing experience to the team. Prior to taking up the role in Evidence Synthesis Ireland, Sheena worked within NUI Galway and in the digital marketing industry.

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