Winner of the 2023 Chris Silagy Prize: Muriah Umoquit

Anna Noel Storr and Muriah Umoquit

Dr. Chris Silagy was the founding Director of the Australasian Cochrane Centre and instrumental in Cochrane's development and success. Chris was energetic, positive and inspiring. Before his death in December 2001, Chris expressed a wish for a Fund to be established, to be held by the Monash Foundation. Chris initiated this fund with his own contribution, and requested donations be made to it instead of flowers or other tributes after his death.

Chris requested that this Fund be used to recognise contributions to Cochrane in ways that are often insufficiently recognised; for example, providing administration, management, Colloquium organisation, communication and motivation - in short, the 'glue' that helps to keep Cochrane together. 

The Chris Silagy Prize is given to an individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to Cochrane, made a contribution that exceeds the expectations of their employment, made a contribution to Cochrane that would not be recognised outside the scope of this Prize, and has been identified by their peers as consistently contributing to a spirit of collaboration.

The 2023 Chris Silagy Prize winner is Muriah Umoquit, Senior Communications Officer at Cochrane. 

2023 Chris Silagy Prize Winner - Muriah Umoquit

This prize was presented by past winner, Anna Noel Storr. Anna said, "This prize is awarded at each Colloquium to a person who has made an extraordinary contribution to Cochrane's work and also someone who may not otherwise be recognized - the 'glue that helps keep Cochrane together'. This year's winner fits the definition perfectly. Muriah has worked well beyond the confines of her job description. She doesn't just stick to what we have done before but has looked for ways to be more creative in communication; to innovate and support other people's innovation. She achieves an enormous amount for one person and however busy she is, she makes time to not only keep up with the volume and quality of her own output but also supports others in their own communications work. It's a great pleasure to congratulate this year's winner, Muriah Umoquit'. 

2023 Chris Silagy Prize

Muriah shared her thoughts on winning the award: "Thank you. And a special thank you to Chris’s family and supporters. What an extraordinary honour and I am certainly among good company given the past winners of this Prize. 

At the #CochraneLondon Colloquium, I had a nice chat with Jini Hetherington, the very first recipient of the Chris Silagy Prize. She asked me how I came to Cochrane and I told her that I came as a 'fan girl'. However, it was not as scandalous as Jini initially thought and this was a very important reminder to always use plain language! I came to Cochrane as a researcher in love with the methodology and high standards. And as a consumer grateful for the summaries of evidence to help guide health decisions. Over the past 8 years, I got to see the inner workings of Cochrane and the many projects and activities. The collaborative nature, dedication, and passion of the Community has always been something that has inspired me. 

As a communication professional, it's been a delight working with my past team members to help upscale the knowledge translation capacity within Cochrane. I've enjoyed helping the Community share their journey through #MyCochraneStory and have been excited with them as we disseminated countless achievements and milestones in news stories, press releases, and social media posts. I've also had the opportunity to work on many side projects -  infographics for COVID evidence, the Cochrane Book Club, the creation of several external science communication courses, and seeing the #BetterPoster templates rolled out at this year's Colloquium. 

Chris had always said Cochrane’s success was largely due to the Community’s selflessness and collaborative outlook, often by those working in under-recognized roles. I’d like to use this platform to personally say stop. Continue that good stuff of course but stop being unrecognized. Stop being modest. Share your successes, your passion, and your stories. It’s your stories of how you got involved and what you’re doing now that are going to inspire others. And I’m here eager to help you tell these stories and celebrate with you. Together, let's continue to write the unfolding chapters of Cochrane."

12 September 2023