Snoop in the backstage of public health affairs and issues

At the crossroads between Evidence-based medicine and investigative journalism

Re-Check is an independent organization specialized in investigating and mapping health affairs.

Founded in 2015 by Catherine Riva and Serena Tinari, Re-Check is registered as a non-profit association.

Re-Check adheres to the Evidence-based medicine (EBM) principles and contributes to projects that are at the intersection between academic research and investigative journalism. It relies on an international network of specialists.

Our statutes (PDF)

Who are we?

Catherine Riva
Catherine Riva Copresident
Serena Tinari
Serena TinariCopresident

We are two experienced investigative journalists that specialize in investigating health and medicine. Authors of the GIJN Guide “Investigating Health & Medicine”, we have trained many journalists and are regularly invited as guest speakers by universities and journalism organizations. Our investigations have been disseminated in a variety of mainstream media outlets (press, television, books) and published in peer-reviewed medical journals (The BMJ, BMJ-EBM, The Lancet, JoSPI). Our work has been the recipient of several awards. Catherine won the Suva Media Prize and the Media Prize of the Swiss Academies of Sciences (medicine). She also received the Nicolas Bouvier Prize (Special Jury Prize) with Sept.info. Serena won the jury prize at the Daniel Pearl Awards and was a finalist for the IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors) Gold Medal. She also received from CICAP (Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims of the Pseudosciences) the In difesa della Ragione award.

Alessandra Di Pietro
Alessandra Di Pietro Member of the Board of Directors
Alessandra was born in Sicily, studied political science in Catania and journalism in Milan (Italy). In the Nineties, she moved to Rome and reported for “I Siciliani”, “Avvenimenti” and “L’Unità” on civil rights, organized crime and corruption and later on biopolitics for the feminist magazine “noidonne”. 1998-2005 she was a communication specialist for equal opportunities’ political institutions. Since then, she’s back to journalism. The author of four books, she has since been writing features on politics and society for high circulation periodicals. She’s currently an editor with a Rai 1 popular TV program.
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Eva Pedrelli
Eva PedrelliMember of the Board of Directors
Eva is based in Bologna (Italy) and has been working for over 20 years as radio and video journalist, and as producer and stringer. For 7 years she has covered the area of Southeast Asia and beyond for many international networks (among others: CBS RadioNetwork, Swiss public broadcaster, Rai Tv and Radio, SBS Australia, “La Repubblica”). She is also experienced as interpreter, organizer and is strong in problem solving and finding innovative models. A native Italian speaker, Eva Pedrelli is proficient in English and French, can handle a conversation in Spanish, Thai, German and is currently learning Indonesian.
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Aleksandra Roth-Belkova
Aleksandra Roth-Belkova Member of the Board of Directors
Aleksandra was born in St. Petersburg (Russia), where she studied at the State Academy of Arts and Design (specialization in glass). After moving to Berlin (Germany), she studied visual communication and design at the UdK. From 2000 to 2006 she was senior art director at the agency Scholz & Friends in Berlin. Today she works as a freelancer in the field of art direction, graphic design and concept. Her work has been awarded with several prizes. Since 2016, she is the president of The Glass Project, where she curates several art projects.
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Financial auditor: Urs Wyss Buchhaltungsbüro More

Principles and Activities

Basics and Methods

Information on health care bears major deficits: undisclosed conflicts of interest, unverified claims and copy paste journalism. This stems from the fact that health systems are affected by dependencies, colossal financial stakes, and flawed by a lack of scientific rigor.

Our experience shows that health interventions (drugs, vaccines, diagnostic tests and preventive measures) are not stand alone, but are part of a constellation of players, interests and regulations. They are therefore “health affairs”. We consider them as such and map them out through in-depth research.

Re-Check investigates and publishes only information that is, to the best of our knowledge, evidence-based. We evaluate the evidence, expose conflicts of interest, and analyze risks and benefits sticking to the principles of Evidence-based medicine and to the highest standards of investigative journalism. To put our findings in perspective, we map health affairs as they take place and connect the dots between players, interests and regulations. Our maps allow for power dynamics and networks of influence to be grasped at a glance.

Re-Check contributes to projects that are at the intersection between academic research and investigative journalism. We publish our investigations in open access on our info-stream, and in peer-reviewed medical journals.

The work we put into researching and writing Re-Check open access publications is pro bono. We receive honoraria when we give lectures and courses, or for ad hoc mandates. You can support us via this platform

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Re-Check is an association within the scope of Articles 60 and following of the Swiss Civil Code. Its mission is to practice and promote investigative journalism in the field of health and medicine. We contribute to projects that are at the intersection between academic research and the dissemination of evidence-based information to a wider public. We believe in transparency and understand investigative journalism as a work in the public interest. Our ethical charter details our core values and principles.

Re-Check relies on the advice of an International Advisory Board. Its members are professional investigative journalists, academics, patient’s safety advocates. These individuals have no conflicts of interest in the field of health and medicine, and advise Re-Check pro bono.

More on the statutes of our association, our Board of Directors (see above) and our financial auditor.

Evidence-based medicine (EBM)

“Evidence based medicine is the conscientious, explicit, and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of individual patients. The practice of evidence-based medicine means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research. By individual clinical expertise we mean the proficiency and judgment that individual clinicians acquire through clinical experience and clinical practice.”

Sackett DL, Rosenberg WM, Gray JA, Haynes RB, Richardson WS. Evidence based medicine: what it is and what it isn’t. BMJ. 1996 Jan 13;312(7023):71-2. doi: 10.1136/bmj.312.7023.71. (online | PDF)

EBM is therefore about basing clinical decisions on theoretical knowledge and scientific evidence, while considering patient preferences. But in no case can this evidence replace the judgment and experience of the physician. EBM therefore complements and challenges traditional medical practice, but does not replace it. This very important role given to the evidence makes it necessary to acquire methodological training in order to be able to evaluate and criticize the validity of evidence.

EBM originated at McMaster University (Canada) in the early 1980s. It was initially a new method of teaching and reasoning in the framework of medical students’ training. In the 1990s, EBM became a methodology for practitioners and was adopted by the Cochrane Collaboration. Today, EBM is not only relevant to medical education, but also to practice, nursing and public health.

Source: Guillemette Utard, «Evidence-Based Medicine. La médecine fondée sur les preuves. Tutoriel». Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de Santé – Paris – juin 2014, licence (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 FR)

In our experience, EBM and investigative journalism are similar in many ways: both have a well-defined methodological and ethical framework, and both are based on a hypothetical-deductive approach that involves explicitly formulating a hypothesis and assessing veracity of all facts. We are convinced that bringing them together is fruitful and in the public interest.

We share our methods through conferences, workshops and training. Our modules are for journalists, consumer protection organizations’ representatives and interested public. The teaching style is multilingual and tailored to the needs of each student. If you are interested in a bespoke module, wish to invite us for a conference or to offer us to join a project, do not hesitate and contact us.

You can follow our activities here

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Creative Commons

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