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Taking research beyond the hospital walls

UCLH services one of the most vibrant and diverse communities in London. But while people from all kinds of backgrounds and cultures pass through the hospital’s doors, we don’t always see this diversity reflected in the research we carry out: neither as study participants nor as patient advisors representing the public voice. This is a national issue. A study looking at clinical trials in the North East of England, for example, found that on average, 0% and 1.7% of participants were South Asian or of South Asian descent, despite the South Asian population of those areas being in some cases over 6%.

This means there are many people missing out on the benefits of being a study participant, and who are being marginalised in discussions about their local hospital. It also means that our research will struggle to be relevant to the needs of all those the hospital serves, because their voice is missing in its development.

The Biomedical Research Centre is working to change this. We are reaching out to local community groups and centres to ask what we can do better to make our research more accessible. We want to understand the perceptions of research among our local community, how we can work together to improve the way the BRC communicates about the amazing research we support, and how members of the public can influence that work.

You can help. If you are a member of the local community, or already have links with a local community group or centre through your work, we’d love to hear from you. We are also looking for researchers who would like to actively engage with the local community and who might be able to speak about their research to some of the groups we are in touch with, or create other interesting and new engagement activities. To find out more about how you can help, please email ppihelpdesk@ucl.ac.uk.