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Aims and mission    Who we are    Methods group    Project groups    Management group

In the field of dermatology Jochen Schmitt and Hywel Williams initiated the international, multidisciplinary Cochrane Skin Group Core Outcome Set Initiative (CS-COUSIN) in 2014. With energy and enthusiasm the international community agreed to collaboratively work on the aim on development, quality assurance, implementation, and dissemination of core outcome sets in dermatology.

Aims and mission

  • to support the development and to strengthen the quality of core outcome sets (COS) in dermatology
  • to standardize the selection of domain and outcome measurement instruments in dermatology clinical trials to make trial evidence more useful and comparable
  • to strengthen the quality and interpretability of systematic reviews in dermatology through the implementation of COS in trials and reviews
  • to strengthen the quality of evidence-based decision making in clinical practice and eventually the quality of care for dermatology patients.

Who we are

Jochen Schmitt and Hywel Williams founded CS-COUSIN in 2014. Jochen is the current lead of the Initiative. CS-COUSIN consists of a Methods Group, several Project Groups and a Management Group.

Management group

Based in Dresden, Germany, it oversees and facilitate the progress of the groups through COS development. It holds key advisory documentation, publications and databases. It maintains contact with Cochrane Skin (UK) and supports Project Groups with literature searches.

Methods Group

This consists of 9 experienced post-doc or professorial experts in the development of Core Outcome Sets. Each Project Group is assigned one of these advisors who remains with them for the lifetime of the project.

Murad Alam
Northwestern University, USA
Murad Alam is Vice-Chair of the Department of Dermatology, and Professor of Dermatology, Otolaryngology, and Surgery, at Northwestern University in Chicago, USA, where his research interests include clinical trials design, outcomes research, qualitative analysis, survey development, and clinical practice guidelines.  ​He leads the steering committee of the Measurement of Priority Outcome Variables in Dermatologic Surgery (IMPROVED) group, which has a specific interest in developing core outcome sets that also accurately assess the results of procedural interventions.
Jamie Kirkham
United Kingdom
Jamie Kirkham is a medical statistician at the University of Liverpool, UK.  His main research interests include systematic reviews methodology, outcomes based research, journalology and research integrity.  Based in Liverpool, he is closely linked to the COMET Initiative and has been part of a team that has developed a trio of reporting/methodological guidelines for COS developers, as well as working towards developing efficient methods for assessing the uptake of COS.  He also oversees a number of COS development studies.  He is a member of the CS-COUSIN methods group and is a statistical editor for The BMJ.
Jan Kottner (lead)
The key research interests of Jan Kottner are skin and tissue integrity and preventive skin care with a special focus on skin physiology, skin barrier restoration and maintenance as well as efficacy of skin care interventions and pressure ulcer prevention. He has also special interests in evidence-based practice including systematic reviews, clinical trial design and conduct, and outcome development and validation. Since 2015, he works within CS-COUSIN and is member of the Core Outcome Set in the Incontinence Associated Dermatitis (CONSIDER) and Outcomes for Pressure Ulcer Trials (OUTPUTs) initiatives.
Jochen Schmitt
Jochen Schmitt is dermatologist and professor for social medicine and health services research at the Medical School, Technical University Dresden, Germany. Since 2012, he is director of the interdisciplinary Centre for Evidence-based Healthcare at the University of Dresden, Germany. His main research interests include evidence-based healthcare, systematic reviews, outcomes research, health services research, and epidemiology of chronic inflammatory and oncological diseases. Since 2009 Jochen is dedicated to develop Core Outcome Sets in dermatology. He is co-founder of the HOME initiative and CS-COUSIN.
Phyllis Spuls
Phyllis Spuls is dermatologist and professor for evidence based dermatology, specifically appointed to inflammatory diseases, of the University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, (research institutes Amsterdam Public Health, and Infection and Immunology) The Netherlands. Her main research interests include evidence-based healthcare, systematic reviews, guidelines, outcomes research, psoriasis and atopic dermatitis. Since 2010 Phyllis is involved in the development of  Core Outcome Sets in dermatology. She is member of the executive committee since 2010 of the HOME initiative and from the beginning involved in CS-COUSIN.
Kim Thomas
United Kingdom
Kim Thomas  took up her role as Professor of Applied Dermatology Research in August 2013, and is currently Co-Director of the Centre of Evidence Based Dermatology. Her main interests are in the design and conduct of large, independently-funded clinical trials to evaluate interventions for the treatment and prevention of skin disease. She is a founder member of the UK Dermatology Clinical Trials Network, is a member of the Executive Committee for the international Harmonizing Outcome Measures for Eczema (HOME) initiative, and is lead for the HOME Long-term Control Working Group. She also contributes to the Lichen Sclerosus and Vitiligo Core Outcomes Sets.

Project groups

Each Project Group is a diverse international collection of researchers, patients, clinicians and other stakeholders who work together to develop Core Outcome Sets for a specific dermatological condition.