Sandy Walsh: My Experiences at the Colloquium

I found that there were four ways that the Madrid Colloquium was helpful. The first was the programs to benefit consumers.  The workshops specifically to help consumers understand the scientific information and the workshop to know how to read and write plain language summaries fill a necessary need in having new consumer reviewers be well prepared to provide the consumer point of view to authors and to translate the information in a way that patients can understand.

The second practical type of workshops presented information that provided an understanding of the editorial issues in providing the most accurate reviews possible.  I was impressed with the efforts to improve the methods used and the workshops that allowed the input of the authors in considering new or approaches or improvements in the existing procedures.

The third type of presentations was the plenary sessions that presented overviews of information on particular topics.  These were interesting and informative presentations. I especially appreciated the final plenary on economics and healthcare and the presentation by Kay Dickersin on comparative effectiveness.

Finally, meeting and getting to spend time with other consumers was great.  The dinner the first night and the CCNet meetings provided times to get to know some of the other consumers and hear what they are doing.

Overall, the Colloquium was an outstanding experience for me from all of these points of view.