The NIHR Oxford and Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs) have held a networking and learning event focused on the importance of diversity in research.
The event took place at the Blavatnik School of Government in Oxford on 22nd March 2022 and was attended by around 60 research-focused professionals from across the city.
The purpose of the event was to offer support and practical advice to those working in research on how to involve people from diverse communities in their work.
Rachel Taylor, Public and Community Involvement, Engagement and Participation Lead at the Oxford BRC said, “The objective of the day is to support researchers to network with and involve people from diverse communities and to demonstrate the value that diverse people bring to research.”
The event was led by the Oxford and Oxford Health BRCs' Diversity in Research Group , supported by other public contributors including a live video link to the Engajademente Brazilian Young People's Advisory Group who work alongside Dr Gabriela Pavarini on a storytelling chatbot project. The group gave a presentation and took part in discussions.
Members of the Diversity in Research Group and researchers from the NIHR and the Nuffield department of Primary Health Care Sciences also gave presentations on the value of involvement and best practice on how to better reach out to under-represented communities and encourage their involvement in research.
Hameed Khan, a patient and public involvement (PPI) contributor from the Diversity in Research Group said, “It was such a pleasure to meet all the delegates today, the situation has been a win-win, as the delegates not only got to learn about the Diversity in Research Group, but the Diversity in Research Group got to learn about future opportunities for involvement. The event feels like the start of more collaboration both ways, for the group to get involved in more research projects and for researchers to know where we are if they need us.”
Sophia Wilkinson, Public and Patient Involvement Lead from Oxford Population Health, said, “The most brilliant thing about this event is the range of lived experiences detailed in the presentations, plus the practical things that researchers and PPI leads can put into practice to improve involvement from diverse communities in their work.”
Amy McCall, a University of Oxford researcher in psychiatry, said, “The intersectionality element of the day has been really interesting and has provided much information for consideration when planning PPI in my future research projects.”
Della Ogunleye one of the PPI contributors in attendance said, “The day was very meaningful and insightful, we felt listened to and it provided a great opportunity to connect with researchers who, by their own recognition, need people like us. The networking opportunity enabled researchers to reach out to us and for us as PPI contributors to reach out to them.”
Alexandra Almeida, PPI Manager at Oxford Health BRC, said “The event was a great success and proved extremely useful for the delegates. There will be more networking and learning events scheduled on a regular basis to encourage and facilitate future collaboration and involvement in research from our diverse communities across Oxford.”