Background: Cochrane Canada continues to work to create partnerships with health care professional groups to increase the awareness and use of Cochrane Reviews. Recently, Cochrane Canada and the Dietitians of Canada saw the opportunity to involve dietitians more actively in the systematic review process, and in particular, to include the unique perspective of dietitians in the peer review/referee process.
Objectives: Develop online peer review modules for dietitians to increase their confidence, expertise and comfort in knowledge synthesis; use the experience of practicing dietitians to ensure Cochrane Reviews are relevant to dietitians’ needs; involve dietitians in authoring nutrition-related Cochrane Reviews and integrating them into practice or guidelines.
Methods: Twenty-one stakeholders from 15 organizations across Canada—representing a variety of clinical, public health, educational, research and community backgrounds—joined the brainstorming, planning, development, revision and pilot testing of three online peer review training modules. Managing editors from 15 Cochrane Review Groups were invited to provide nutrition-related protocol and review examples for the modules. After pilot testing, a one-day stakeholder planning and dissemination meeting was held to review the pilot testing results, exchange ideas and plan module dissemination.
Results: Evaluations from dietitians completing the modules were positive and Cochrane managing editors welcomed the new peer reviewers. Six months following the launch of the modules on October 1, 2012, thirty dietitians have completed the modules with twelve deciding to become peer reviewers/referees. Dietitians’ peer review areas of interest cover 13 Cochrane Review Groups and one field.
Conclusions: Although collaborating with multiple stakeholders requires time, the iterative development of the online modules harnessed the collective strengths and unique perspectives of both researchers and clinicians. In the future, the basic online module structure could be used and examples adapted to other healthcare professions to solidify additional partnerships between Cochrane researchers and other clinicians.