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Integrated Care Systems Research Engagement Network Development: Community Research Champions

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Analysis of racism in UK health research brought together, for the first time, considerable evidence of systemic barriers to ethnic equality across UK health research. The Ethnicity and Health Unit wanted to address these inequalities and sought funding from NHS England's Integrated Care Systems Research Engagement Network Development grant. 

Having gained the £100k grant, the Ethnicity and Health Unit partnered with local communities including: Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises such as CVS Brent and Ealing and Hounslow CVS, Integrated Care Board North West London, Primary Care Networks, Academic institutions and Charities, Imperial College's Patient Experience Research Centre, to engage Northwest London's most diverse communities in conversations around their health interests and research with a goal to develop a research network reflective of local communities’ challenges and needs.

What have we done so far?

Within 3 months, alongside our partners, we ran 10 Health Roadshows, split equally between Brent and Hounslow. Residents from these communities who attended could engage in a variety of activities, such as:

Image of a diverse group of people from many cultural backgrounds with a title above them saying Community Research Champions

Leadership in the Community

We recruited and trained six Community Research Champions who are passionate about their communities, understand their communities' culture and needs, enabling them to support the facilitation of the health roadshows.

We established a Partnership Forum, led by independent chairs, Sarbjit Ganger, director of Asian Women’s Resource Centre in Brent and Professor Patrick Vernon OBE, an independent adviser on equality, diversity and inclusion for the Crown Prosecution Service and Islington Council, giving a focus for the project and a mechanism to push the agenda forward.  

 How did it go?

1212 Brent and Hounslow residents attended health roadshows

597 residents had health checks 

33 stakeholders attended our Partnership Forum

“When you form that relationship with someone,  they just talk about anything and everything.  I had people talk about the housing issues,  the care pack here, so once they get friendly with you  and trust you, they talk about everything and that gives you a chance to talk about the research and get some  feedback and see what their thoughts are.” - Community Research Champion
“The lady is from my country, that is India and  she wasn't able to understand the English.  And she was very confused.  Like, what is the survey and how can I fill the  feedback form. So in my language I help her  understand all the things. So she understood  very well and she was happy that we are doing this.” - Community Research Champion

Working with our local partners, including the 62 different organisations that delivered 121 stalls across the 10 roadshows, we changed mindsets and supported the engagement of communities that are less involved in research and created an environment and foundation where they feel valued, understood and informed.

Our Health in Our Hands: Communities, Champions, Connections

 Securing  £280k within the last 12 months, we have empowered Community Research Champions, established a Partnership Forum and delivered 10 Health Roadshows, split equally between Brent and Hounslow boroughs, where 597 residents received health checks. In the next phase, this initiative will expand from Brent and Hounslow to residents in Hillingdon and Ealing. We are excited for our next phase of work and welcome new connections, more champions and more opportunities of research reflective of representation from our communities.