Sunday 12 May 2019

Reaching OUT to involve Communities with Health Research

I love #WhyWeDoResearch 

It is, quite simply, an excellent example of REACHING OUT TO INVOLVE COMMUNITIES WITH HEALTH RESEARCH -

           For more on this very topic, follow the Tweetchat 13th May 2019 1200-1300hrs

@ClaireW_UK looked beyond her day job, asked how the health research community might be brought together using social media then just went ahead and did it. Gathered a few friends, began a few Tweetchats, then a number on a single day to a veritable smorgasbord of dialogue. Read more about the campaign in the BMJ here.

The great, the exceptional and the unique #WhyWeDoResearch TweetFEST 2019 took place from Mon 13th May for two weeks. Check out the # for all the tweets.

Reaching out to colleagues, linking it to International Clinical Trials Day and encouraging others to host the conversations. It is led by the community and guided by Claire. It is whole community from research nurses, researchers and patients to research organisations, industry and leaders. It is WORLDWIDE. It is vibrant, exciting and fun.

The breadth is amazing - two full weeks this year - make sure you bathe your hands, do regular exercise and add some hand cream to keep your fingers agile and supple for full-on tweeting.

It is therefore a privilege and an honour to be kick starting #WhyWeDoResearch TweetFEST 2019

How do we do more to REACH OUT to involve communities in health research?

This question lies at the heart of work I am doing with communities and colleagues in Nottingham. Nottingham University Hospitals Trust is a research active hospital and keen to see health research as a driver to improve health, wellbeing and social care. Our Nottingham is Research Strategy sets out our ambition.

Our enquiry led approach helps us to constantly ask….

  • How can we do more to help improve peoples lives through health research?
  • How to we go beyond waiting for the person to arrive at clinic and work with communities to use health research?
  • How might patient and public involvement to reach out rather than selecting a few people to attend health research meetings?
  • How do we ensure that research evidence reaches out to change practice?

These will form the basis of the Tweetchat but let me offer a few examples…


I was recently in Galway, Ireland for their Annual Patient & Public Involvement in Research event. It seems right to highlight a few examples of how they are Reaching Out. It is part of the Ireland Health Research Board - Ignite PPI.

First of all the event was help in a venue with easy access by public transport (next to the park and ride) at the Institute for Lifecourse and Societyat National Universities of Ireland - Galway (NUIG). The Institute supports applied research that informs policy development and practice to make a positive difference to people’s lives. A café on the ground floor invites you in.

Read more about the @PPI_NUIG conference

Reaching out with Schools

They have a brilliant way for schools learning more about Clinical Trials through the START Competition - Read more at  and watch an Introductory video here START Q & A Session (05-02-19)

A further initiative is through Evidence Synthesis Ireland @EvidSynIRL where they are keen to make Medical Research findings need to be more accessible. They have engaged the journalist @muirishouston as their Writer in Residence - you can read the article in The Irish Times.

Finally from Galway, they have been working with the Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) Community Engaged Scholars (CES) Program

Dr Carolyn Jenkins spoke at the 

It will be really interesting to watch how this develops as it firmly about partnership working,

And if you thought it might be difficult to Involve people in science the you should read Dr Emma Dorris and colleagues here


There is the amazing Cloudy with a Chance of Pain which uses our smart phones to access meteorological data to help understand arthritis. 

There is the equally amazing, Genes and Health - East London and Bradford  with over 37,000 people giving consent but with so much more going on to transform people's lives.

And, yet another amazing example, Harvey's Gang showing how even complicated science can be communicated

You can watch the presentation - here

You can read more about some of the ways patients, carers and the public get actively involved in pre and non clinical research in a previous yet on-going post - here

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