Consumer stories: Mingming Zhang - Vision for Growth

I am Mingming from the Chinese Cochrane Centre. I have been involved in the Collaboration since 1998 and joined CCNet in1999. My roles in the Collaboration are varied including Cochrane author, consumer, centre coordinator and translator etc. My vision for the Cochrane Consumer Network is:

1) to promote wider participation in The Collaboration across the countries, particularly from non-English speaking countries;

2) to help more consumers get involved with different review groups;

3) to help promote Cochrane research substantially serve for patients.   

As a non-English speaking consumer, I think my involvement is important, however it also creates many difficulties because of the language barrier and different cultures and values within The Collaboration. I understand that activities of consumers from some countries are quite different from the activities in countries where consumer involvement is well established.

With my background, I have done much work for the dissemination of Cochrane products in my country such as the translation Cochrane abstracts, CCNet information and plain language summaries to raise awareness of the Cochrane Collaboration among healthcare professionals and consumers as well since my involvement. Providing consumers’ unique experiences makes the research more relevant.

In April 1999, I visited the Australasian Cochrane Centre where I met Hilda, the former convenor of CCNet who first introduced the term ‘consumer’ to me. She asked if I was interested in becoming involved. I did not know much about The Collaboration or consumers at that time.

As time passed, I did have a further understanding about the role of a Cochrane consumer is.  I realised I can do something for The Collaboration from the perspective of a non-healthcare professional with my knowledge and experience.  

I have experienced more than ten years of change within The Collaboration and CCNet,   including structure reform, the appointment of a funded consumer coordinator (which could not be expected ten years ago) and much more consumer contribution within the Collaboration. 

CCNet has enjoyed an increasing number of consumers coming from different countries. Their unique experiences and knowledge of different health topics have benefitted many consumers, especially through their contributions to the plain language summaries. 

As a non-health professional, Mingming Zhang has been actively involved raising awareness on behalf of non-English speakers and members of developing countries where The Cochrane Collaboration is less recognized. She is a WHO patient safety champion in China as well as a member of a working party for the development of “WHO Patient Safety Curriculum Guide for Medical Schools”. In her spare time, Mingming serves as a consumer representative on the Cochrane Collaboration Steering Group and on the Consumers’ Executive.

Posted as part of the Consumer Network’s focus on Wise Consumer Month.

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