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NIHR Applied Research Collaborations (ARCs) support ‘applied’ health and care research that responds to, and meets, the needs of local populations/communities and local health and care systems (like our hospitals and GP’s).
Applied health research aims to solve a specific, practical issue affecting an individual or group shown by evidence of a subsequent change in practice or service provision and translation into population health gain (for example improving tooth brushing in local school children after seeing high numbers of fillings). Applied health research tends to use a variety of different research methods (like interviews and focus groups for example), unlike clinical research which often uses randomised controlled trials.
So we at ARC NWC need your help to design and conduct research that is relevant to and meets the needs of our communities across the north west coast.
We are committed to involving members of the public in everything we do, from research projects (coproduction from ideas stage through to sharing research findings and implementing change) to leading our research themes (each theme has two public advisers co leading with our academic leads) and governing our organisations communication and management.
Strong and effective Public and Community Involvement, Engagement and Participation (P&CIEP) is central to ensuring that our ARC NWC programme is relevant to the needs of patients and the public in our diverse local communities within the North West Coast region. We will ensure that our findings inform decision-making and changes to practice that increase the sustainability of our health and care systems and deliver improvements in outcomes locally and nationally.
Many of the North West health and social care providers, NHS commissioners and local authorities are ARC NWC. The list of our members can be found here
Who are ARC Public Advisers?
A range of people from all parts of the Northwest with wide experience, skills and knowledge. They are very diverse group (ages, ethnicities, backgrounds, postcodes etc), working together as a Team to coproduce research alongside academics and practitioners/clinicians from member organisations.
We have many opportunities for members of the public from all walks of life, service users, carers, patients, families and local communities to get involved in our research activities.
We will offer regular training and support, payment for your time (agreed in advance) and cover reasonable expenses.
You can learn new skills, make friends and make a difference supporting research that improves the health, care and wellbeing of people across our region.
To get involved you don’t need any specific background or education or previous knowledge or experience. All people’s stories and life experience are important and valued, You just need an interest in health research, some time to spare and a willingness to share your thoughts and ideas with us.
Sometimes we need service users, carers or other members of the public with certain types of experience for a research study. This might include people with a particular health problem, who have had particular treatments or used specific services, or are from a particular social group or particular geographical area.
Hear some of our advisers talk about their experiences with ARC NWC
What is public involvement and coproduction?
Public involvement is about researchers working in active partnerships with members of the public. Coproduction means working together to reach a collective outcome. The approach is value-driven and built on the principle that those who are affected by a service/health condition are best placed to help design research about it. In the ARC we aim to coproduce everything that we do. Our advisers are valued members of our research teams, they are included in all the steps in designing and carrying out research projects and many become co-authors on our academic papers. Some of our advisers have gone on to internships or to study health related courses after working with us.
It is about research being carried out with or by members of the public, rather than to, about or for them.
The term public includes service users, carers, families, patients, potential patients, and people who use health and social care services, as well as people from organisations, such as community groups, that represent people who use services. We are committed to hearing from ‘seldom heard’ voices from our communities and run a regular forum to invite community groups to present to researchers.
Find out more about co-production of research and how we can work together in this guide for public co-researchers here.
Some of the research the ARC NWC (or CLARCH NWC) has published on Public involvement
Involvement/Coproduction is different to engagement (sharing information and knowledge) or participation (where people take part in a study as subjects)
As the name suggests, it means being more involved in the research itself, for example by:
• Identifying research topics and questions of importance to members of the public,
patients and service users
• Acting as applicants alongside researchers on funding grants
• Offering advice and feedback as a member of a project’s steering group/research team
• Helping to develop materials such as information sheets, interview guides or
• Carrying out interviews with research participants
• Analysing data
• Writing up research findings
• Helping to share research findings and get research evidence into practice.
What do you need to be an adviser?
At the moment all our meetings are held virtually via online platforms (usually) zoom. You will need ideally a laptop, computer or tablet, although some of our advisers use a smart phone and we can talk you through how to get set up and contribute to meetings.
As the Covid lockdown eases some of our meetings may start to be face to face. We provide travel expenses and are committed to ensuring those that need to engage virtually are still able to do so.
We support all our advisers by offering a buddying scheme and have a team including our public involvement manager (Selina Wallis) administrative wizard (Ruth Ball) and Involvement research lead (Shaima Hassan) to support you.
Please do get in touch if you are interested but would like a chat about being an adviser
How do we support our Public Advisers?
All of our advisers have a one to one with our administrator (Ruth Ball) and Public Involvement manager (Selina Wallis) and are offered an experience Pblic Advisor mentor as a ‘buddy’. We run a regular Public Advisor forum to keep in touch, socialise, give training, hear updates from our PA co leads, sub groups etc and comment collecively on early research ideas. See a example of part of one of our forums below.
Free course: Personalised Care: Peer Leadership Foundation – Step One
Learn what personalised care is and how the whole population can benefit. As the NHS moves towards a more personalised health and care system, it’s important for people to have a clear idea of what this new, more targeted approach to health and care means for them. On this course you’ll learn what personalised care is, and how it can benefit the whole population in England. You’ll also hear how it works in practice. An ARC NWC public adviser who took part said “The course links strongly to some of the NIHR ARC NWC Themes like Person Centred Complex Care Theme and Equitable Place Based Health and Care Theme in the way the course outlines the benefits of using social prescribing techniques”.
ARC NWC Public Adviser Facebook Page. (access details provided once registered)
This group is for registered Public Advisers from the North West Coast. It is aimed at allowing you to share learning experiences, ideas, projects advice and research. We hope you find it useful and please contribute to get the best out of the group
Virtual Patient and Public Involvement: A guide to video calling
It can be hard to know where to start when it comes to virtual meetings. This helpful guide takes you through the most commonly used virtual meeting tools with tips on getting started.
Through short video lectures, practitioner interviews and a wide range of interactive activities, learners will be immersed in the world of public health practice. Designed for those new to the discipline, over four modules (intended for four weeks of learning), learners will become familiar with the scope, origins, ethics, principles and paradigms of public health practice. Access the Coursera Course here.
Educational Resources Useful for Those Serving on an Advisory Panel:
Free online courses, case studies, printable handouts with helpful hints, self-tests, and instructional videos from experienced patients and healthcare professionals. This comprehensive resource bank is for consumers interested in participating on advisory panels and healthcare professionals interested in involving consumers in advisory panels.These videos are valuable introductory viewing for patients, consumers, and/or caretakers who wish to be engaged in research. Access the Resources here.
Group Rules for Members
1. Be kind and courteous
We’re all in this together, to create a welcoming environment. Let’s treat everyone with respect and take a common-sense approach to all we do in the Group. Healthy debates are natural, but kindness is required.
2. No hate speech or bullying or Intimidation
Make sure everyone feels safe. Bullying of any kind isn’t allowed, and degrading comments about things such as race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender or identity will not be tolerated.
3. No promotions or spam
Self-promotion, promotion of commercial enterprises, jokes & funnies, spam and irrelevant messages/links in posts and comments aren’t allowed.
4. Respect everyone’s privacy
Being part of this group requires mutual trust. Authentic, expressive discussions make groups great, but may also be sensitive and private. What’s shared in the group should stay in the group.
5. We are a Professionally Orientated Group.
Membership is a closed group only for ARC-NWC Public Advisors