Cochrane is proud to recognize participants and collaborators from its global community who have been part of its first Knowledge Translation virtual mentoring programme.
Twelve pairs of mentors and mentees took part in the pilot, coordinated by Cochrane’s Knowledge Translation (KT) Department, between September 2019 and March 2020, with the aim of developing skills, as well as passing on expertise, in knowledge translation.
We were delighted to receive huge interest in the scheme with 38 members of the Cochrane community applying to be mentees and 25 people from within and outside of Cochrane volunteering to act as KT mentors.
Mentors and mentees were matched, received online training and guidance, and then met together over six months to work on their projects. You can read a full summary of the KT Mentoring programme here as well as finding out what happens next with this programme.
We wish to pass on a huge thank you to all our KT mentors and mentees for their hard work and commitment. Here are a few of their stories:
Eve Tomlinson, Network Support Fellow for the Cochrane Cancer Network, has been a mentee in the KT mentorship programme. She worked on a project to map stakeholders for Cochrane Review Groups and the Network overall, with the ultimate goal of facilitating stakeholder engagement in review production and knowledge translation activities in the Network. She says of her decision to undertake this project with the KT mentoring program, “I applied for mentoring in the hope that I would receive guidance from someone with relevant experience to help me deliver the project and ensure it was useful for Cancer CRGs. As someone who enjoys KT, I was also keen to have a fellow KT-enthusiast to speak to about KT within Cochrane!” From the successful completion of this project, Eve worked within the CRG to identify 180 stakeholders working toward common goals in cancer research, and she is working with some cancer CRGs on stakeholder engagement. She wrote a guest blog for Cochrane about this project; read it here.
Michael McEvoy applied for the mentorship program as a dissemination fellow for the Cochrane Anaesthesia Review Group (CARG). Working with his mentor, he undertook to increase engagement with reviews from CARG, combining “background” dissemination (such as writing summaries of reviews for newsletters, social media etc) with big projects (such as promoting reviews to authors of national guidelines). He is most proud of the Regional Anaesthesia Special Collection that he helped create as part of this mentoring program, which became highly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic and generated significant interest and was widely read. Of the mentoring experience, he says, “It was incredibly useful and the project would not have been as successful without it. The mentoring applies some pressure to make sure you progress with your project without it being challenging or critical. It helped me feel more integrated into Cochrane and meet someone from a different group and it encouraged me to think about how I could continue to work more with Cochrane in the future.”
In summary, participants spoke passionately about how they found virtual mentoring hugely valuable for their own learning and would like to see the programme repeated and more opportunities for developing KT skills in the future. Two-thirds of mentees reported feeling more confident about understanding and applying KT practices in their work, and mentors spoke about feeling valued and developing their own thinking and ideas as a result of having a new challenge.
Recognizing the success of this first programme, Cochrane will form a second cohort of mentoring pairs, and seek applications for participants from September 2020.