Winner of the 2023 Kenneth Warren Prize: Dr Rashmi Ranjan

Rashmi Das

Every year Cochrane recognizes the outstanding work of Kenneth Warren, a scientist, extremely influential in drawing attention to the 'great neglected diseases' that plague people in developing countries. He prioritized the need for valid summaries of key research studies and to the way electronic media could be used to disseminate results of health research.

Kenneth was an enthusiastic supporter of the pilot work in pregnancy and childbirth that led to the creation of The Cochrane Collaboration, and, with Fred Mosteller, he co-organized the meeting at the New York Academy of Sciences at which the vision for Cochrane was first made public.

The Kenneth Warren Prize is awarded every year by Cochrane to a scientist who publishes a Cochrane Review about a health issue in developing countries. The winning entry judged to be both of high methodological quality and relevant to health problems in low income countries.

2023’s winner is Dr Rashmi Ranjan, for "Vitamin D as an adjunct to antibiotics for the treatment of acute childhood pneumonia"

2023 Kenneth Warren Prize Dr Rashmi Ranjan

How did it feel winning the prize?
Winning the Kenneth Warren Prize brought me immense joy and is a great honour. It's a recognition of hard work, dedication, and the quality of our research. It reflects not only on the individuals but also on our team, mentors, and the institution we represent, validating years of research, late nights, and efforts put into our work. This reaffirms that our work is making a meaningful contribution to the field of evidence-based medicine. The excitement of receiving such an award is palpable, a moment of celebration and shared enthusiasm with colleagues, co-authors, and mentors. I feel grateful to everyone who guided me along the way, especially my mentor and co-author, Prof Meenu Singh. Thanks are also due to the Cochrane ARI group - Liz Dooley and her team, for all their support.

How did you first find out about Cochrane, and indeed the Kenneth Warren Prize?
I was introduced to Cochrane Library (ARI Group) in the year 2009 by my mentor as a co-author of a review. Our team has conducted a couple of other good Cochrane systematic reviews. One of the students of my mentor received the Kenneth Warren Prize in the year 2020, after which I came to know about this prize, its importance, and the fame it carries. It was very inspiring and motivating to know about Kenneth Warren, whose motto was to disseminate the evidence-based health care decision making in the low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

What’s been the impact of winning the prize to you, and your work?
Being a Pediatric respiratory physician, I am always curious to find out simple solutions that would help children from LMICs fight serious diseases like pneumonia and other respiratory conditions. While doing such exercise, I came across some evidence that Vitamin D supplementation has a role in the prevention of childhood pneumonia. This prompted me to explore the therapeutic role of Vitamin D in acute childhood pneumonia. Unfortunately, the evidence was uncertain. However, it is gratifying that my work has been recognised, and it will continue to encourage me to find new solutions for childhood respiratory diseases in future.

Finally, how important is this prize, its heritage, and prestige in promoting Cochrane and evidence-based health care?
The Kenneth Warren Prize holds significant importance in promoting Cochrane and evidence-based healthcare in LMIC’s for several reasons:

  • Recognition of Excellence: Winning such a prestigious award signifies that our systematic review has been recognized as outstanding within the field of evidence-based healthcare. This recognition not only boosts the morale of the recipients but also highlights the quality of Cochrane reviews and their commitment to rigorous research standards.
  • Heritage and Legacy: The Kenneth Warren Prize carries with it the legacy of Dr. Kenneth Warren, who was a pioneer in the field of evidence-based medicine. This legacy helps to underscore the importance of evidence-based healthcare practices and continues to inspire current and future generations of researchers to strive for excellence in their work.
  • Increased Visibility: Winning the prize can bring increased visibility to the Cochrane organization and its mission. It showcases the organization's commitment to producing high-quality systematic reviews and contributes to its reputation as a reliable source of evidence-based healthcare information.
  • Inspiration and Motivation: The prize serves as an inspiration and motivation for researchers like me and organisations involved in evidence-based healthcare. It encourages us to maintain and even raise the standards of our research, which ultimately benefits patients and healthcare decision-makers.
  • Advocacy for Evidence-Based Healthcare: Awards like the Kenneth Warren Prize help raise awareness about the importance of evidence-based healthcare among the broader public, healthcare professionals, policymakers, and funding agencies. This can lead to increased support and resources for evidence-based research and practices.

In summary, the Kenneth Warren Prize plays a vital role in promoting Cochrane and evidence-based healthcare by recognizing excellence, upholding a legacy of rigorous research, increasing visibility, inspiring researchers, and advocating for the use of evidence-based practices in healthcare decision-making. It serves as a valuable tool in advancing the mission of Cochrane Collaboration and similar organizations dedicated to improving healthcare outcomes through high-quality research and evidence in LMIC’s.

26 September 2023