On 28-20th November, a fieldwork training workshop was held in Barcelona for the fieldworkers of the six cohorts: BiB (UK), EDEN (France), INMA (Spain), KANC (Lithuania), MoBa (Norway) and Rhea (Greece). The objective of the workshop was to harmonise and practice procedures for the fieldwork, which is commencing in January 2014 throughout Europe. The clinical fieldworkers practiced the proceedings for obtaining and processing of biological samples, while those responsible for personal exposure measurement learnt how to use equipment measuring air pollution, UV radiation and location. The meeting coincided with the first pilot studies run in Spain and Greece.
Not only did the workshop focus on practice, but also on planning and adjustment to procedures based on the pilot experience. As Marianna Karachaliou, Pediatrician with the Rhea cohort comments: "The meeting was mostly useful due to the fast decisions made on the protocols and the opportunity of practice."
Maribel Casas, responsible for coordination of the HELIX children panel with INMA reflects: "The great thing about the training days is that those with the practical responsibilities were able to come together, connect and exchange skills. In science, we are much used to having meetings with scientists who make decisions and ‘take home’ instructions for technical staff to work with. With this workshop, we had a great mixture of fieldworkers (nurses and technicians) who brought a wide range of expertise in the use of equipment, blood extractions, etc. Our efficiency in carrying out the work in HELIX definitely benefits from this!"