In this instalment of the CIDG 'Meet the Editor' series, we talk with Dr Anke Rohwer, who became a CIDG Editor in August 2020.
Could you describe where you currently work and what you do there?
I work at the Centre for Evidence-based Health Care, which is housed within the Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa. I conduct a range of systematic reviews including reviews of interventions, qualitative reviews and scoping reviews, and also do some methods work. I develop and conduct workshops on evidence-based health care, systematic reviews and research integrity, supervise students and mentor authors of reviews.
What is a typical day for you?
I start the day with coffee and then typically work on one of the reviews that I am currently busy with. As face-to-face meetings and workshop are currently not taking place, I also spend time on Zoom/Teams/Go-to-meeting to teach or connect with colleagues.
What prompted you to work in this area?
I was working as a midwife and started questioning decisions that were being made "because we have done it like this for 20 years". This made me really angry if I could see that these caused more harm than benefit for patients. It prompted me to pursue a Master's in Clinical Epidemiology and I conducted my first Cochrane review during this time.
What are the major challenges that still remain in your field?
There are many, but I think what has stood out for me lately is how to convey evidence to the public in a way that is easily understood. Also, teaching lay people to think critically about evidence, sources of information and knowing whether one can trust these.
How did you first hear about Cochrane?
During my bachelor's degree in 2006, my midwifery lecturer was adamant that we read and reference Cochrane reviews when writing assignments. She subtracted marks when we referenced a textbook.
What is the most rewarding aspect about being involved with Cochrane?
Being part of a community, where everyone works towards the same goal - generating robust evidence that can have an impact on people's lives. Being able to reach out and talk to other people when you get stuck or need help with a review and helping others.
Who (or what) has been the biggest influence on your career to date?
If I need to choose one, I would say my mentors.
Please list three words you would associate with Cochrane
Collaboration, quality, impact
What do you do in your spare time?
I try to spend as much time as possible with family and friends. I also love spending time in nature - the beach, mountains or even just a walk in the park.
The editorial base of the Cochrane Infectious Diseases Group is funded by UK aid from the UK government for the benefit of low- and middle-income countries (project number 300342-104). The views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK government’s official policies.