An event at Birmingham’s Central Library last month marked the first such NIHR (National Institute for Health Research) PPIE (Patient and Public Involvement/Engagement) event in the city.
Organiser, Laura Chapman, NIHR PPIE Manager, explained what a success the event had been, what lessons had been learnt and the wonderful collaboration there was amongst research professionals to get it off the ground.
Entitled ‘Research Changes Lives’, the educational and informative event gave members of the public a rare chance to meet people at the cutting edge of current medical research. With funding from the NIHR, the afternoon provided an opportunity for researchers too, to showcase the important work they do and demonstrate how it can affect and change lives for the better.
Despite terrible weather on the day, at least 200 people visited the event, which also featured performances from the ‘Voices of Hope’ choir, the City Hospital based singing group made up of cancer survivors and carers. A camera crew from BBC Midlands Today were also in attendance, giving the event an enormous and positive regional advert, reaching tens of thousands of viewers.
Laura said: “The displays our researchers put together were brilliantly inventive and were very much appreciated by those who attended. We have an ongoing challenge to reach out to the wider public, get them involved with research from the beginning and to recruit to trials. So that we can build on this first event as a great learning experience, we would like to hear from anyone interested in taking part in another.
“Showing how research works ‘from the bench to the bedside’ is essential and next time we would like to take an engagement event out of the city centre and into local communities.”
Laura is keen to hear from researchers with any ideas on how to build on the success of ‘Research Changes Lives’ or from anyone who is keen to get involved in future opportunities. Contact her on Laura.Chapman2@uhb.nhs.uk