My name is Carmel McGrath, and I am in the final year of my PhD at the University of Southampton. My research is exploring the impacts of Public Involvement. In July 2020, I started a virtual placement at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Imperial Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) following a successful application for the NIHR Short Placement Award for Research Collaboration (SPARC) scheme. These awards aim to promote collaborations across Biomedical Research Centres so early career researchers can network, train in a specific skill or collaborate with other researchers/specialist outside of their own centres.
I have now completed my placement and would like to share my experiences in three separate blog posts.
Dr Toby Athersuch, Lecturer, Phenome Centre
‘Frontiers in Cystinuria Research’ was an event held last October at Imperial College London. It involved people affected by cystinuria in discussions with expert medical professionals and academic researchers active in this area. The aim of the event was to capture some of these rich patient experiences to inform future precision medicine research, while simultaneously providing a forum for patients to share their insight. We feel that these types of event are important enablers of patient-directed research development, particularly relevant in the context of rare metabolic diseases, where patient input and advocacy is often underrepresented.
Lillie Pakzad-Shahabi, Clinical Trial Coordinator, Neuro-oncology, Department of Medicine, Imperial College London
Why did you decide to do Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) in your clinical trial?
After receiving a NIHR Imperial BRC PPI award (Round 3) to run a project with a secondary school, I stumbled across the PERC-ICTU PPI training series at Imperial. These workshops helped me to understand the importance of PPI early in clinical trial design. I decided it would be useful to involve patients from our clinic and their family members to review upcoming clinical trial protocols.
We hoped to gather the perspectives of patients and their family members on our plans for the design of two clinical trials.
By Philippa Russell
I am a recent mature graduate from London South Bank University, where I studied a degree in ‘Health and Social Care: Administration & Management’. Over the years I’ve managed to accumulate vast lived experience from being a service user in healthcare, both as a patient and family member. I have written about what having a brain injury has taught me here.
As part of my course I had a placement with the Patient Experience Research Centre (PERC) at Imperial College London, who promote participatory approaches to healthcare and biomedical research. They advise and support researchers at Imperial to do PPI (that is Patient and Public Involvement, not payment protection insurance!)
By Professor Helen Ward
Director, Imperial Patient Experience Research Centre
Imperial Patient Experience Research Centre, aka PERC, started blogging about 18 months ago with this Welcome to our Blog post. The blog was set up to “share the latest learnings and news from the PPI community, points of views from the team on the advances and issues of public involvement, case studies of good involvement practice to inspire new ideas, and a whole host of other top tips and personal pointers”.
Since then we’ve published 25 blogs, ranging from case studies of good practice and opinion pieces, through to notices about events, training, and top tips for applicants for our grants scheme.
On Tuesday afternoon we welcomed Dr Mel Hughes to join a discussion at the biannual Imperial and Partners PPI in Research Forum on involving “seldom heard voices”. Mel is a principal academic in social work; academic lead for the Bournemouth University (BU) PIER (Public Involvement in Education and Research) partnership and Deputy Lead for the newly formed research Centre for Seldom Heard Voices at BU . Mel’s perspective was interesting for two main reasons: (1) her commitment to working with “seldom heard voices”, and (2) her experience of doing public involvement both in education and social work, whereas PERC tend to focus on research.
To celebrate National Co-production Week, we sat down with Rosina Malagrida (Head of the Living Lab for Health at IrsiCaixa, Barcelona) to discuss ‘Responsible Research and Innovation’ and what the U.K. can learn from the European example.
Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis are the two main forms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and affect more than 300,000 people in the UK. To mark world IBD day, Kapil Sahnan (surgical trainee) and Mark Samaan (gastroenterology trainee) organised and ran a National Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Research Day for patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
They worked with a team of PPI experts including: Ailsa Hart (UK PPI lead for Gastroenterology), Christine Norton (Professor of Nursing), Nicola Fearnhead (President in waiting of the ACPGBI), Phil Tozer (an academic colorectal surgeon) and two fantastic expert patients (Azmina Verjee and Sue Blackwell).
At the 2018 Imperial Festival we opened the Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Café for the first time. A new PPI methodology – a hybrid between a science café and a more typical PPI workshop – it was designed by five Imperial research centres in partnership with Patient and Public members.
Our aim was simple: to give the public a flavour of PPI by contributing to real-life research projects. As well as getting fresh public input into some projects, we wanted to try something novel in PPI and to have some fun.
Why a café?
Despite their modern association with tax-dodging and precarious labour, coffee houses have for centuries been associated with free discussion and the exchange of ideas.
Biomedical Engineer Shruti Turner reflects on the recent CRISH (Co-creating Innovative Solutions in Health) course and explains that engineers could learn a lot from PPI.