Category: Ireland

Cochrane conference in Ireland: Making an impact? (#cochraneevidence)

Another conference’s over. This one is among my favourites because it’s about Cochrane collaboration. It attracted around 70 delegates who came to Queens university in Belfast this year.

Lots of interesting discussions with colleagues, e.g. how do you define an expert? or What’s an ideal composition of an expert panel or a committee? It would seem that senior academics, professors or directors are the right experts, but truth may not be so straightforward. Some of these senior people may be simply too busy or think they know it all. Inclusion of junior staff, post-docs, nurses or systematic review authors on expert panels is better because they lack the weaknesses mentioned earlier. What more, they may be the most hard working group in the academia or research in general. Because of that, hey are likely to be dedicated members of expert panels.

A whole different discussion was going on between the conference delegates on Twitter:

Hearing and talking about my/ fellow reviewers’ experiences of doing SRs made me think about what was special different about my own experience or review:

  • it was my first review
  • I’ve applied a truly systematic approach, which received praise from my quality advisor (see previous blog post)
  • it was real quick
  • I had multiple presentations and non-peer reviewed articles about the review
  • I worked for 2 universities
  • I’ve used EPPI-reviewer software, unlike many of my fellow colleagues
  • I’ve used a lot of support from our health information specialists
  • it was done within a unique Health Research Board of Ireland (HRB) fellowships scheme
  • I couldn’t have done it without a strong support from my co-authors and the Cochrane Drugs and Alcohol review group (CDAG)

So, what impact had this year’s Cochrane in Ireland conference on me? It helped me to regain my research identity again.
…and the sky in Belfast was grey, yet again.
A copy of my cochrane review can be accessed here:

Why Empirically Supported Psychosocial Treatments Are Important for Drug Users? New research project

UL researchers have been awarded €300,000 by Ireland’s Health Research Board to develop and evaluate psychosocial interventions for drug and alcohol users in primary care. Psychosocial interventions are described as aimed at reducing consumption behaviour or alcohol-related problems by using psychological approaches

UL Researchers Undertake Study to Evaluate Impact of Psychology Based Treatments for Drugs Users

Principal Investigator and Professor of General Practice at UL, Walter Cullen, explains: “The focus of this study is to evaluate the impact of psychology based treatments as opposed to the approach of medicating patients dealing with drug and alcohol addiction. There is a significant knowledge gap in this area internationally and we hope this study will help practitioners in Ireland assist their patients to deal with this issue.”
 
Led by Dr Jan Klimas Post-doctoral Researcher at the Centre for Interventions in Inflammation, Infection & Immunity (4i) (http://www.4i.ie) hosted by University of Limerick’s Graduate Entry Medical School, the study involves collaborators from a wide range of disciplines and agencies as well as international experts from the UK, USA and Australia.
 
The study, entitled ‘‘Are Psychosocial Interventions Effective for Problem Alcohol Use among Problem Drug Users’ (the PINTA study) will involve over 20 practices in the Midwest and Eastern regions.
 
The Centre for Interventions in Infection, Inflammation & Immunity (4i), Graduate Entry Medical School, UL brings together a multidisciplinary team of researchers focused on developing studies that impact health outcomes.
 
Director of the Centre, Professor Colum Dunne, complimented the team that successfully competed for this funding, adding “this study builds on previous work, also funded by the HRB, that qualitatively explored patients’ and practitioners’ experiences of problem drug and alcohol use. In a recent Cochrane review we identified gaps in the currently available scientific evidence relating to effectiveness treatments for problem alcohol use. This new study will add considerably to that field of practice.”
Read more here …

Youth Mental Health Conference: Press release (#Acamh2012)

Youth mental health is a key health priority in Ireland; early intervention, engagement and innovation are central to its promotion.

The Third National Research Conference in Ireland on Youth Mental Health will focus on this key theme. Hosted by the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health (ACAMH) and Graduate Entry Medical School, University of Limerick (UL), it will present insights, perspectives, and valuable updates.

Ian Kelleher, Winner of the the 2011 Eadbhard O’Callaghan Youth Mental Health Research Award with Professor Mary Cannon, RCSI.

The day’s key aim of encouraging research by under- and postgraduate students and trainees will again provide the platform for presentation of projects and, importantly, recognise the most excellent piece of research work with the award of “Annual ACAMH Youth Mental Health Research Prize”, in memory of the late Professor Eadbhard O’Callaghan and in recognition of his outstanding contribution to mental health in young people. In an innovative development, young people will be highly involved with the organisation and delivery of the conference.

Conference organising committee chair, Walter Cullen (UL Professor of General Practice and GP) states: ‘UL, the Midwest region and ACAMH are delighted to come together to host this important meeting – mental health is a major challenge for our population’s national health, especially here in the Midwest, and this conference will showcase some of the excellent work being carried out by colleagues, associations and health agencies to address this issue. We are especially honoured that the prestigious Eadbhard O’Callaghan Memorial Prize will be awarded for work presented on the day’.
Speaking at the announcement of the programme for this year’s conference, Mary Cannon, RCSI Professor of Psychiatry and Secretary of ACAMH Special Interest Group on Youth Mental Health states “we hope to showcase research and innovation relevant to youth mental health. Our first two conferences promoted interaction between all stakeholders, especially researchers and young people, and dialogue between young people, researchers and policy makers will remain at the forefront of this year’s programme”.

The conference will be opened by Dan Neville T.D (Deputy Mental Health Spokesperson), and Don Barry, President, UL. Confirmed keynote speakers include Ella Arensman (Director of Research, National Suicide Research Foundation), Bob Illback (Deputy CEO, Headstrong), Eric Taylor (Emeritus Professor of Child Psychiatry, King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry), Mary Clarke (Clinical Lead, DETECT), and Ian Daly (HSE Mental Health Clinical Lead).

Interactive Workshops invite delegates to explore in greater depth, the key themes of ‘Disadvantage and its Impact on Youth Mental Health’ (UL-based Orla Muldoon, Professor of Psychology, Sarah Jay, Post-Grad Scholar and Jan Klimas, Postdoctoral Researcher and Cochrane Fellow) and ‘Technology and Youth Mental Health’ (Director of Programmes and Policy Derek Chambers and Research & Evaluation Officer Fenella Murphy, Inspire Ireland; Aleisha Clarke, Health Promotion Research Centre, NUI; and Gavin Doherty, TCD School of Computer Science and Statistics). In addition, Colman Noctor (Psychotherapist, St Patrick’s University Hospital) will launch ‘The Way Forward, Young People and their Parents’ Experiences of Youth Mental Health Services’.

Further information:
Walter Cullen, Professor of General Practice, UL. [email protected]
Ingrid King, Executive Director, ACAMH [email protected]; www.acamh.org.uk
Mary Cannon, Dept Psychiatry RCSI; Secretary, ACAMH Special Interest Group: [email protected]

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/392553024142420/
Twitter: #Acamh2012