The James Lind Alliance (JLA) was established in 2004 by Sir Iain Chalmers (co-founder of the Cochrane Collaboration), Dr John Scadding (then Dean of the Royal Society of Medicine) and Sir Nick Partridge (former Chair of INVOLVE).

Research on the effects of treatments often overlooks the shared interests of patients, carers and clinicians. As a result, questions that they all consider important are not addressed and many areas of potentially important research are therefore neglected. The JLA exists to help address this imbalance.

Even when researchers address questions of importance to patients and clinicians, they often fail to provide answers that are useful in practice. Another purpose of the JLA therefore, is to address the mismatch between what researchers want to research, and the practical information that is needed day-to-day by patients and health professionals.

Who was James Lind?

The James Lind Alliance (JLA) is named after a pioneer of clinical trials, James Lind. In the 1700s, there were many conflicting ideas and unanswered questions about how to treat the deadly disease scurvy. James Lind – a Scottish naval surgeon – decided to confront this uncertainty by treating his patients within a clinical trial comparing the proposed remedies. He allocated two sailors to each of six different treatments for a period of 14 days. His trial showed that oranges and lemons were dramatically better than the other supposed treatments.

James Lind

'James Lind-conqueror of scurvy'  painted by Robert A. Thom