My first thoughts of the 24th Cochrane Colloquium bring to mind great local delights and people as well as a pleasant venue for networking and problem solving. Upon first arriving to the city of Seoul, memories from my upbringing in Philadelphia, a big, bustling city, resurfaced. Nevertheless, among the non-stop swirl of activity, the steadfast patience and kindness of the locals was amazing to experience.
The same warmth and openness that I felt from the great business people and farmer’s market cashiers on the streets of Seoul, I also experienced at the Cochrane Colloquium. I not only saw the familiar faces of Cochrane, but also met new researchers and formed new collaborations during the 5-day colloquium. It was completely refreshing to be in the company of researchers who share common goals and propositions for solving problems concerning the reporting of patient-related data from clinical trials. Participating in workshops and being a part of discussions during oral sessions gave me an immediate sense of belonging. I thought, “this is my type of crowd”. In fact, those involved in working towards the goals of Cochrane are a part of the so-called “Cochrane crowd.”
Particularly, researchers such as Kay Dickersin from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in the U.S. and Paul Glasziou from Bond University in Australia provided insightful talks on the current state of the dissemination of patient data. They encouraged all of us in the Cochrane crowd to continue to investigate and solve serious the public health problem of underreporting of data which leads to waste of resources in research.
In sum, I will always remember my trip to Seoul, not only as a professional achievement, but also as a great time in which I experienced the sights, sounds, and (spicy) tastes of another culture and environment. If I ever return to any of the many districts of Seoul, I will always know that I will feel welcome with Seoul in my heart.