Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Katie's Team at the meeting of the East London Women's Health group at the Brady Arts Centre.
Secretly, I want to be part of Katie's Team. I hope, at least, I might be considered after my talk to be seen as a supporter and a friend.
The reason behind my wish is quite straightforward.
Katie's Team as a title is so much better than something like the Patient Partnership Group for Research.
Katie sounds as if I am going to meet people. Being in a Team implies that we will be working as one. Katie's Team sounds like a cool group (oops, think I just showed my age there!). Katie's Team sounds like there is a plan.
Katie actually stands for Katherine Twining and for KT: Knowledge Transfer. I am not sure which but hey, that seems okay. It makes me feel that we will be exchanging ideas, experiences and information with people who care. You can read here about Katie's Team
As their website states...
“Katie’s Team” is the KT Network patient and public advisory group. It consists of mums and local members of the public who have a connection to our research areas of childbirth, pregnancy and reproductive issues."
A number of staff in the KT Network staff have attended workshop run by Bec Hanley and I with the UCL Biomedical Research Centre.
Katie’s Team is another fine example of setting a good standard by describing purpose...
“...to ensure that women’s health research is done effectively and remains relevant to the needs of local mothers. That’s because women who have experienced pregnancy and childbirth issues have unique insight that is valuable to the researchers.
‘Katie’s Team’ members also act as champions for research within their own communities.”
These brief statements state precisely why the group exists, who it involves and equally important it explains this in a way which makes me interested, keen and willing to help.
They have a clear intent, the context is outlined, the requirements stated and they regularly review and post their achievements.
Our primary role, as patients and the public, in research is crystallised in these extracted phrases: “to make sure that the research is done effectively” and that it “remains relevant to to the needs of local mothers”. For 'local mothers' read local respiratory patient, mental heath service users, carers, etc.
Effective, relevant research should always be our cry.
I am reminded of a wonderful quote that “It is better to measure imprecisely that which is relevant, than to measure precisely that which is irrelevant” from Stephen Evans, medical statistician in an article written by the wonderful Iain Chalmers in the BMJ 310 May 1995.
An early example of women initiating the debate was recorded in a 1976 article on obstetric practice by Iain Chalmers (1). The Oxford Consumer Group had reported that the public made more adverse comments about maternity services than any other branch of the NHS. It is perhaps the first record of patient involvement in research.
Women's Health is one of the most important issues worldwide as defined in this World Health Organisation report. The fact that Women in health and medicine often goes unreported in history means we need to champion their work. Equally, we need to consider research into women's health priorities and interventions.
These are just some of the reasons I was keen to attend the day and meet members of Katie's Team. I want to learn more about what they do.
1. Chalmers I. British debate on obstetric practice. Pediatrics 1976; 58:308-312