Background: To encourage and support new incomers is one of Cochrane's priorities according to its strategic plan. Cochrane Training website provides several learning opportunities, with emphasis (but not exclusively) in reading, preparing, conducting, and publishing systematic reviews. There are tools and online training guidance that might build capacity amongst healthcare professionals, but it is also an excellent source of learning for undergraduate students. Scientific Initiation (SI) is a program directed to undergraduate students, in order to connect them to study groups and lines of research. It intends to stimulate students, tutored by an experienced professor, to learn techniques and scientific methods, as well as to encourage scientific thinking and creativity. Petropolis' medical school (FMP/FASE), a private institution in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, doesn't have a formal discipline in Evidence-Based Healthcare. In spite of that, there are some initiatives being conducted successfully to approximate students and high-quality research, such as the launch of Cochrane Brasil Rio de Janeiro (CBRJ) Affiliate Center, part of Brazillian Cochrane Network, hosted by FMP/FASE, and a partnership with the Centre For Evidence-Based Medicine from the University of Oxford.
Objectives: To describe the experience of a Cochrane-driven scientific initiation to undergraduates at FMP/FASE.
Methods: Descriptive study.
Results: CBRJ conducts a 1-year program, with face-to-face and virtual learning activities. The undergraduates are encouraged to apply for 4 positions available. The selection process involves curriculum analysis and a face-to-face interview. The SI engages the students to become Cochrane members and to get into action in different fields such as knowledge translation, research, organizational skills, and education. Some activities carried out during the program are (a) training sessions in evidence-based principles using free materials from Cochrane Training website, (b) attendance in training workshops and webinars to build capacity as potential new review authors, (c) translation of Cochrane materials into Portuguese, contributing to the spreading of relevant evidence and educational materials, (d) active participation in CBRJ organizational tasks, promoting a sense of community and involving them to the Cochrane structure, (e) promotion of Cochrane evidence within other students and healthcare professionals locally. Some of the Cochrane resources used are Cochrane Evidence Essentials, Cochrane Journal Club, and Students for Best Evidence blogs.
Conclusions: A scientific initiation underpinned in free Cochrane materials is feasible and effective in delivering high-quality training to undergraduates, encompassing different fields such as knowledge translation, education, and organizational skills.
Patient or healthcare consumer involvement: We believe that offering a proper introduction to health evidence, and how to use it to make informed health choices, would improve patient outcomes in the future.