On 21 June, around 30 Oxford researchers and 12 public contributors came together at Oxford’s Old Fire Station to discuss ways of involving people from diverse communities in health research.
Health researchers want to engage with people from these communities so that their research is more relevant to all of society.
People who are not traditionally involved in research include people from Black African, Asian and Caribbean communities, LGBT+ communities, people living with long-term ill health or disabilities and people who care for family members who are unwell.
People from these communities face many barriers to involvement such as language and a general lack of accessibility to involvement. However, they often bear the highest burden of ill health – so their involvement is vital.
The event was organised by the Oxford and Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centres and hosted by Alexandra Almeida, Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) lead at Oxford Health BRC, and public contributor Tamanna Miah. It was a follow-up to a previous event in March 2022, when public contributors gave presentations on how to include people from their communities in research.
Researchers said they had found the March event valuable and requested a follow-up session with more opportunity for networking.
A film of public contributors’ tips and ideas for reaching people from diverse communities from the March event can be viewed here.
At the June event, members of the BRCs’ Diversity in Research Group and Patient and Public Involvement Advisory Group had in-depth conversations with researchers on how to reach people from under-served communities on a range of research projects, including:
- Black African, Asian and Caribbean women’s experience of post-natal pain
- Supporting GP practices in recruiting people from South Asian origin to research
- Recruitment to research in the post-pandemic context of remote clinical consultations and less in person interactions
- Increasing participation in research among the South Asian community
- The Diabetes Adaptive Weight management Network “NewDAWN”
- The management of mouth care during patient’s stay in a hospital ward
- Managing Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) in women
- Building a patient group for the Emergency Department
- Technical development projects in T1 mapping (a magnetic resonance imaging technique)
The use of Artificial Intelligence-based imaging technology for faster, cheaper and less invasive heart scans
- Helping people with cystic fibrosis to get support
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Research Nurse, Clare Arnison-Newgass, found the event very useful: “Really good structure, great to hear from the all the public contributors as they moved around to the different tables. Great to focus on one question at a time in depth. I got really good tips for involving people in research from different communities, especially different South Asian communities.”
Diversity in Research Group member Corina Cheeks said: “I found the Diversity PPI workshop really informative. It was great to have the opportunity to hear about the interesting and potentially life-changing research being undertaken directly from the researchers and understanding the ways in which we can add value.”
Reflecting on the event, Alexandra Almeida said: “Researchers are really motivated to find ways to engage with more diverse communities and our public contributors have so many useful ideas they can share. We will endeavour to continue organising these hands-on workshops, where researchers can take away ideas and solutions to design and deliver research that is truly inclusive.”
Rachel Taylor, Oxford BRC PPI lead, added: “This was a very exciting event – there was great energy in the room. I am so grateful for the huge commitment shown by our public contributors and Oxford researchers in bringing this together.”