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HRB conference tackles truth and trust in health research

The conference is designed to enable participants explore the challenges and solutions associated with building trust in research evidence to support informed health decisions.

HRB Onlince conference 2020 event logo

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 (HRB),
‘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 conference will help to address this.’
This is the first HRB conference to take place completely online. The HRB is partnering with Evidence Synthesis Ireland, the HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network, Cochrane Ireland and representatives from the Public Advisory Panel, PPI Ignite @ NUI Galway to host the event which will happen on 24 and 25 November 2020 and registration is free.
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.’ 
‘The HRB is excited about moving to an online platform for the event.  Working with a diverse committee who bring different perspectives has helped to ensure the programme is relevant for researchers, practitioners, the public and policymakers. We also hope to build a strong interactive aspect to the event through an online competition which will 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.

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