Engaging the public in health research

What is public engagement with health research?

Biomedical science is embedded in the cultural landscape. By its very nature medical research offers great promise, yet it can challenge cultural norms and personal beliefs and choices. Without engaging with the social, political and cultural fabric in which research is conducted and its results are to be implemented, health research can easily be seen as an endeavour of outsiders, unaccountable to society, misunderstood and mistrusted. Siân Aggett shares the Wellcome Trust’s work in this area. [Read more →]

Health research in Suriname: where science and indigenous knowledge meet

Collecting hair samples to perform mercury analyses and determine risk from exposure to mercury from gold mining

Increasingly, indigenous communities are suffering from study fatigue. They are calling for an end to the traditional scientific approach to health research and management. So how can science and indigenous knowledge meet to improve health and the environment? Daniel Peplow, Sarah Augustine, and Leon Eric Wijngaarde share a new approach in Suriname which aims to resolve these differences. [Read more →]

Bilharzia: why the drama?

Children on the AAW drama workshop in Busia, Uganda

Bilharzia, or schistosomiasis, is a waterborne disease that causes ill-health and can kill, if left untreated. Lakeside communities, especially children, are most at risk, as they fish and play in the waters. But many community members do not take treatment. What is the best way to raise awareness? Becky McCall sheds some light on ‘Acting Against Worms’ in Uganda. [Read more →]

Casting a finer net: involving fishing communities in HIV research

Using boat races to engage fishing communities

Fishing communities in Uganda are taking part in HIV research activities that help strengthen communication about HIV prevention and treatment, and provide important lessons to researchers. William Kidega, of UVRI-IAVI HIV Vaccine Program, tells the story. [Read more →]

Power in communities: why does analysis matter for health research?

Stroke patient with extended family

When researchers work in a community, one of the most important things they can do is to communicate with community members. Health research is most effective when community members understand and benefit from the research process. It also reduces confusion, unrealistic expectations and even resistance. Gerry Mshana and Richard Walker explain more about their approach. [Read more →]

Promoting science in schools: research institutes play their part

Salim Mwarumba (microbiologist) shows students bacterial cultures

Research institutes, with their community of health and research professionals, hold a largely untapped potential to enrich school-science, demystify health research in the communities in which they work, and encourage future generations of scientists and health workers. Alun Davies, Bibi Mbete, Dickson Ole Keis, and Samson Kinyanjui report on a new project in Kenya to bring health research to pupils.[Read more→]

Civil society engagement in health research: from international recognition to local action

A young woman affected by endosulfan poisoning in Padre village, Kerala

In the past the general public was seen as a subject of research. Researchers would ask people to provide information needed for their study. This attitude is changing. Increasingly, the public is seen as an active partner in the study of societal issues. They are seen to have more to contribute to research than data alone. Here’s more from Sylvia de Haan (COHRED), Samuel Anya (CIAM), Paul Bloch (DBL) and Ayo Palmer (CIAM).[Read more →]

Autism: global challenges and community based solutions

Baby Violetta and her family are participating in the British Autism Study of Infant Siblings. Their family believes that research discoveries can in the future help others affected by the condition around the world

Autism is a life-long condition interfering with a person’s ability to communicate and relate to others. From data collected in several countries, a form of autism affects up to one in 100 individuals. Mayada Elsabbagh, Andy Shih, and Eric Fombonne discuss what steps are appropriate at community level. [Read more →]

Equity Café: health workers in conversations that matter

Health workers in conversation at the Equity Cafe

Citizen participation in health is one of the fundamental parts of the Brazilian health system. When Brazilian health workers came together in the Equity Café to talk about ‘What is the role of public health workers in fostering equity in health?’ the conversation required an analysis of the Brazilian health system and its strengths, the difficulties of fostering equity, and why citizen participation matters. Maria Elizabeth Gastal Fassa, and Anaclaudia Gastal Fassa, from the Federal University of Pelotas report on some recent events. [Read more →]

Indigenous citizens and public health: how empowerment can make a difference

The Monitoring group signing the report

Rural indigenous citizens in Guatemala are not able to access health care services on an equal footing with wealthier urban populations. Despite a national constitution which allows for public participation in health care decisions, indigenous people face barriers to doing so. Walter Flores, Ismael Gomez, and David Zakus explain how, through an action research project, citizens have become empowered to monitor public health policy and resource allocation effectively. [Read more →]

Unlocking scientific inquiry: how the public can experience science differently

Public engagement with health research is about unlocking scientific inquiry rather than disseminating information. Alison Dunn explains how this was the key message to come out of a lunchtime event on 23 June at the Wellcome Trust, in London, to discuss the theme of the latest issue of Health Exchange: Engaging the Public in Health Research. [Read more]


Download the Summer 2010 issue of Health Exchange: Engaging the public in health research (1.1MB)

4 Responses

  1. So much impressed and learnt so many lessons.

  2. Hi,
    Am impressed on what i saw on the screen today. It was compelling and excited to see veterans on the field of learning and teaching impacting knowledge, wisdom to their students.As seen by the microbiologist.
    Am elated. please, Luv what you people are doing there.Keep it on and rolling.

  3. I am impressed to see the information on different issues what is hampering the people health and mind. We are working for the disabilities and development. One of our major agenda is prevention and early identification of the child impairment, I think health exchange is a right instrument to disseminate this information.

  4. Nice and informative site. Gives all the information about the health research we can take that will guarantee not only a healthy future but ensure that our premiums are less too.

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