The VI Session of the Scientific Committee (SC) of BIREME was held virtually on December 4, with an agenda made of two specific objectives: (i) to position members on the current stage of implementation of the main recommendations made by members of previous sessions ; and (ii) generate an effective exchange with the members of the SC to obtain recommendations to improve the visibility and quality of BIREME’s products and services for the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and, therefore, to strengthen the sustainability and quality of the services that characterize the technical cooperation of BIREME in information management and scientific communication in health.
Sebastián García Saiso, Director of the Department of Evidence and Intelligence for Action in Health (EIH) of the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) inaugurated the session, highlighting the importance of the Center as a strategic instance for the Organization. Then, the Director of BIREME, Diego Gonzalez, made a presentation on the main results achieved by the Center in 2020, highlighting the development of products and services of technical cooperation in information management and scientific communication in health.
The institutional framework of the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information (BIREME) defines its governance structure in the Statute, which establishes the Advisory (AC) and Scientific (SC) Committees to perform consultative functions before the Director of PAHO/WHO, on the Centre’s programmatic, managerial and technical cooperation functions. SC members are appointed by the AC for three-year terms.
The current SC in force for the 2020-2022 term is formed by seven international experts, appointed for their recognized competence:
- Alexandre Pozza Urnau Silva, Development, Operation and Financing for BIREME Projects, Products and Services, Brazil
- Amanda Wilson, Information Management, United States
- Antonio Sánchez Pereyra, Scholarly Communication, Mexico
- Barend Mons, Information Technology, Netherlands
- Cezar Augusto Cabezas, Scientific Research, Peru
- Fabio Tarascow, Education, Argentina
- Jorge Barreto, Health Informed by Evidence, Brazil
In 2020, they were received at an ad hoc Session held on August 28, when they were informed about the mission and the results achieved by the Center in the first half of 2020 and, on this occasion, during the VI Session of the SC, on December 4, they were informed of the Centre’s progress, even in teleworking conditions due to the health emergency.
In both meetings, they were able to contribute with important comments and recommendations to give greater visibility to BIREME’s products and services and support their financial sustainability, considering the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The members of the SC were unanimous in recognizing the diversity and scope of the products and services developed by the Center in scientific and technical health information for the region of Latin America and the Caribbean. The Committee made a series of recommendations related to innovative strategies for disseminating BIREME’s products and services; explore the use of Artificial Intelligence; enable other formats of courses and training; emphasize the open science theme; and consider the use of qualitative evidence, among others. All of this will contribute to the continuous strengthening of BIREME’s technical cooperation in favor of democratizing access to quality information and scientific evidence in health.
A report of the session will be sent for the members’ final knowledge and considerations, which, after approval, will be sent to the Director of the Pan American Health Organization.