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Roberta James

Member of the GIN Board of Trustees 2020-2023




Roberta James, PhD

Roberta James is the Programme Lead at the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN) and has responsibility for the currency, quality, validity and timely development and dissemination of SIGN guidelines. She has 17 years of experience producing evidence based guidelines at SIGN and is interested in presenting recommendations in ways that fit the needs of professional and public audiences.

Roberta is member of the of the GIN Updating Guidelines working group and has an interest developing methods of keeping guidelines current whilst making best use of scare resources. She is also a member of the Implementation working group, which aims to progress the science of guideline implementation by generating knowledge and associated outputs/products on how to plan, undertake, enable and evaluate guideline implementation.

Along with colleagues at Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Roberta is part of the Erasmus funded Cost Conscious Care Consortium. The consortium aims to develop a state-of-the-art educational program to be used for residents across Europe. The objective of the project is two-fold: to teach residents the basics of developing and implementing high quality, evidence-based guidelines and; to equip residents with the competences to work in a cost-conscious manner.

Roberta started her career as a research scientist after undergraduate and post graduate study at Edinburgh University and prior to joining SIGN spent 10 years as a research scientist at the Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit in Edinburgh, the Roslin Institute and the Cancer Research UK labs at the University of Edinburgh.

Vision for GIN

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into sharp focus a perennial problem for healthcare professionals. The so-called infodemic – the endless circulation of information and misinformation from many different sources and experts causing confusion on an almost daily basis. In fact, the World Health Organization has said that the infodemic around COVID-19 is almost as dangerous as the pandemic itself. The role for GIN, as it has always been, to reduce duplication of effort and filter the information overload by highlighting the most reliable sources of guidance.

The pandemic has shown us that great things can be achieved, and at pace, when we work collectively. We all recognise that GIN provides a tremendous opportunity for organisations and individuals from all countries of the world, and my vision for GIN would be to take this beyond personal contacts and networks to technological solutions that everyone can use to share resources, learning and information. The pandemic has also shown us that in a crisis healthcare professionals need guidelines rapidly. In these situations, there is no time, appetite or evidence to conduct a high-quality systematic review and develop robust guidelines according to established methodology. In the middle of the crisis the real challenge is to determine what is ‘good enough’ in terms of evidence and guidance. GIN is at the forefront of this thinking with Aid Knowledge and by expanding our collective thinking on using all types of evidence we will be able to develop guidelines that are tailored to the situation.

I hope to be part of this exciting new chapter for GIN and can see us making great strides into providing more patient-centred, context specific guidelines in collaboration and partnership

Page last updated: Nov 17, 2020
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