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Naheed Tahir

I have always been interested in well-being having spent most of my life with health professionals. From looking after my younger siblings while growing up, caring for my ailing mum who died of lung cancer, to being a carer for more than 27 years for my daughter who has special needs. Having had a difficult upbringing with challenges and hardships most children shouldn’t have to face, as well as experiencing socioeconomic issues along the way, has equipped me with a logical and passionate approach to tackling health inequalities for individuals and communities. I am very enthusiastic about keeping fit and care very deeply about people’s health. I also enjoy the responsibility I have as a health ambassador in my home town of Liverpool.

One of my first projects “A systematic review of barriers and enablers to South Asian women’s attendance for asymptomatic screening of breast and cervical cancers in emigrant countries was published in July 2018 by the BMJ Open with my name as co-author. I had learnt how to match research questions to appropriate designs and about the concept of how to critically appraise research reports. This in turn helped me with the hands on experience of screening papers for the systematic review with my team members.To be trusted to present to audiences of health professionals and academics at large meetings, functions and conferences has shown how far I have come in my personal development. I have been able to observe how people from all over the world come together to present their different research findings.

My role as a Public Adviser has been one were I have been able to talk openly and from the heart. My reflections, views and stories are from life experiences which, I believe, have and will, shape the future of research. To be given the opportunity to share my personal beliefs and diverse opinions on a platform within an organisation called CLAHRC, gave me a sense of purpose I did not know existed. To be a public adviser I needed to be open, give my honest opinions and views, be motivated, do a lot of listening and be able to work in a team that wanted to tackle health inequalities and translate research findings into service improvements. Research is as much an art as it is science. For me, being involved in this research opened the door to a whole world of paintings I had stored in my mind but had not yet drawn. It tapped into untouched knowledge I did not know I had.

Having the lived through experience of too many stories to mention, meant I could think outside the box. I represented a diverse community of ages, faiths, backgrounds and languages. I felt I could relate to so much of which I was being exposed to but identified details the academics and professionals didn’t . I was able to say those things which mattered, express opinions others thought and wanted to say, but never voiced. I was reading between the lines. Additionally, I found my mindset was different to those of my colleagues; but in a way that was informative yet challenging. I discussed issues with professionals and academics that mattered to the society I represented.

There have been many ups and downs throughout the many years since I began at CLAHRC. I have had opportunities I never thought I would have. I have had projects I enjoyed and done presentations I relished. Getting a project published and seeing my name as a co-author, such recognition has been one of many high points. On the other hand, bearing that weight of responsibility and the negative impact on ones self esteem is something I had not anticipated.
My latest role is being part of the adviser experience sub-group. I hope there will a future for me and I can continue to dispel the negative side public advisers have and still are experiencing. I want to be able to offer the support that has been lacking and had gone astray in CLAHRC NWC. I do believe it’s a learning curve for everyone. The confidence I have gained over the years has come from these highs and lows. This new knowledge has given me the power to be who I am today.

As an optimist I always want to see the positive in everything. I am also human though and get knocked down but, I keep learning and get stronger from these knock downs.

Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world, so Nelson Mandela thought. For me, being introduced to learning through research and to be able to disseminate that research to inform decision making, is a powerful gift and legacy from CLAHRC NWC.

Listen to a podcast by Naheed on her time as a CLAHRC NWC Adviser

Watch a Video Naheed (and her talented son!) made about Public Advisers of CLAHRC NWC visiting Moss Bay in Cumbria

PPI and the public: a view from experienced public advisors (Case Study / University of Liverpool)


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