Iain Chalmers

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Sir Iain Chalmers
Iain Chalmers.jpg
Iain Geoffrey Chalmers

(1943-06-03) 3 June 1943 (age 77)[1]
Liverpool, Lancashire
Alma materMiddlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London (MBBS)[1]
Known forCochrane

Sir Iain Geoffrey Chalmers FRCOG FRCPE FMedSci (born 3 June 1943) is a British health services researcher, one of the founders of the Cochrane Collaboration,[3] and coordinator of the James Lind Initiative, which includes the James Lind Library and James Lind Alliance.[2][4][5][6]

Education and career[edit]

Iain Chalmers in his office at home in Oxford (2015).

Chalmers qualified in medicine in the mid-1960s, and then practised as a clinician in the United Kingdom and two years (1969-1970) in the Gaza Strip.[7] In the mid-1970s, he became a full-time health services researcher with a particular interest in assessing the effects of care.

Between 1978 and 1992, he was the first director of the National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit in Oxford.[8] There, Chalmers led the development of the electronic Oxford Database of Perinatal Trials (ODPT)[9] and a collection of systematic reviews of randomized trials of care in pregnancy and children published in the two-volume Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth,[10] co-authoring its summary, Guide to Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth.[11]

The National Health Service Research and Development Programme supported extending the approach to other areas of health care.[9][11] In 1992, Chalmers was appointed director of the UK Cochrane Centre,[3] leading to the development of the international Cochrane Collaboration.[9][11]

Subsequently, he became founding editor of the James Lind Library, which documents the history and evolution of fair trials of treatments, and helped to establish the James Lind Alliance, a non-profit organization that "aims to identify the most important gaps in knowledge about the effects of treatments". The Library has established strategic agreements with international and non-profit organizations to disseminate its publications to a broad international and multilingual audience.[12] Chalmers inspired champions all over the world leading to the development of the Cochrane Collaboration and by 2011 this collaboration had nearly 30,000 volunteers contributing towards summarising research evidence to improve health. His contributions have been instrumental in advancing international policies on research for health -such as PAHO's Policy on Research for Health, and to promote a better understanding of the importance of building bridges between users and producers of research for health policy and health care delivery.

Chalmers continues to promote better research for better health care by increasing public appreciation of good research through Testing Treatments interactive and the James Lind Library, and by working with others to reduce waste in research.[13]


Iain Chalmers in his office, Middletown Pavilion, Middle Way, Oxford, on the arrival of the Spanish translation of the book, Testing Treatments (2015).


  1. ^ a b "CHALMERS, Sir Iain (Geoffrey)". Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press.(subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Hawkes, N (2014). "Lifetime Achievement Award 2014: Sir Iain Chalmers". BMJ. 348: g2921. doi:10.1136/bmj.g2921. PMID 24817068.
  3. ^ a b The Cochrane Collaboration Archived 30 November 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ James Lind Library Archived 7 December 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ James Lind Alliance Archived 10 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Iain Chalmers: Guilty, obsessional, and frustrated". BMJ. 347: f6152. 2013. doi:10.1136/bmj.f6152.
  7. ^ Sanai, Leyla (2005). "Sir Iain Chalmers". BMJ. 331 (7525): s214. doi:10.1136/bmj.331.7525.s214.
  8. ^ Watts, Geoff (2006). "Iain Chalmers: Maverick master of medical evidence". The Lancet. 368 (9554): 2203. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(06)69879-6. PMID 17189019.
  9. ^ a b c Starr, Mark; Chalmers, Iain; Clarke, Mike; Oxman, Andrew D (2009). "The origins, evolution, and future of the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews". International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care. 25: 182–195. doi:10.1017/s026646230909062x. PMID 19534840.
  10. ^ a b Chalmers, Iain; Murray Enkin; Marc J.N.C. Keirse (1989). Effective Care in Pregnancy and Childbirth. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780192615589. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  11. ^ a b c Fox, Daniel M (2011). "Systematic Reviews and Health Policy: The Influence of a Project on Perinatal Care since 1988". Milbank Quarterly. 89 (3): 425–449. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0009.2011.00635.x. PMC 3214717. PMID 21933275.
  12. ^ Agreements Archived 17 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Who is behind this website?". www.testingtreatments.org/?nabm=0. NHS (National Institute for Health Research. 2016. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  14. ^ Oxford, prepared by National Perinatal Epidemiology Unit, University of (1985). A Classified bibliography of controlled trials in perinatal medicine, 1940-84. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0192615664.
  15. ^ Enkin, Murray; Chalmers, Iain (1982). Effectiveness and Satisfaction in Antenatal Care. Cambridge University Press.
  16. ^ Smith, R; Chalmers, I (2001). "Britain's gift: A "Medline" of synthesised evidence". BMJ. 323 (7327): 1437–1438. doi:10.1136/bmj.323.7327.1437. PMC 1121895. PMID 11751342.
  17. ^ Schulz, Kenneth F; Chalmers, I; Hayes, R. J; Altman, D. G (1995). "Empirical Evidence of Bias". JAMA. 273 (5): 408–12. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520290060030. PMID 7823387.
  18. ^ Starr, M; Chalmers, I; Clarke, M; Oxman, AD (July 2009). "The origins, evolution, and future of The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews". International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care. 25 Suppl 1: 182–95. doi:10.1017/s026646230909062x. PMID 19534840.
  19. ^ Chalmers, Iain (2005). "Access controls on bmj.com: Restore true open access to bmj.com". BMJ. 330 (7496): 904.1. doi:10.1136/bmj.330.7496.904. PMC 556171.
  20. ^ Chalmers, I; Haynes, B (1994). "Systematic Reviews: Reporting, updating, and correcting systematic reviews of the effects of health care". BMJ. 309 (6958): 862–865. doi:10.1136/bmj.309.6958.862. PMC 2541052.
  21. ^ Chalmers, I; Milne, I; Tröhler, U; Vandenbroucke, J; Morabia, A; Tait, G; Dukan, E; James Lind Library Editorial Team (2008). "The James Lind Library: Explaining and illustrating the evolution of fair tests of medical treatments" (PDF). The Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. 38 (3): 259–64. PMID 19227602. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 May 2011.
  22. ^ Senior, K (2009). "Unique, multilingual resource on testing health-care treatments". Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 87 (6): 412–413. doi:10.2471/BLT.09.030609. PMC 2686217. PMID 19565116.
  23. ^ Evans, Imogen; Thornton, Hazel; Chalmers, Iain (2011). Testing Treatments: Better Research for Better Healthcare. Pinter & Martin Publishers. ISBN 978-1905177493. Retrieved 4 March 2017.

External links[edit]