Three successful PPIE Small Grants Scheme applications in region

23 August 2019

This year NIHR Clinical Research Network North East and North Cumbria had three successful PPIE Small grants Scheme applications. Applicants worked closely with Helen Atkinson, Involvement and Engagement Manager and Justine Smith, Senior Strategic Manager to submit applications.

Helen said: "I am thrilled to have three successful funding applications. I am passionate about as many people as possible having the opportunity to be involved in research, from initial study design to participating in studies across the region.

"I would like to congratulate all the successful applications and look forward to seeing the work develop over the coming months."

Below is more information on the successful applications.

Increasing diversity and inclusivity around the engagement and involvement of maternity service users in research across the NENC

This project comes from Dr Allison Farnworth, Senior Research Midwife and Dr Nicola Heslehurst, Senior Lecturer in Maternal Nutrition, both from Newcastle University and Janine Smith from the Birth, Baby & Family Practice. The project aims to increase diversity and inclusivity around the engagement and involvement of maternity service users across the North East and North Cumbria region. Pregnant women and new parents are under represented in the PPIE community and Allison and Nicola have been working with Janine to develop a more inclusive model of PPIE.

This model involves holding a regular two hour research themed mother and baby group, in a community based venue in North Tyneside. The venue is comfortable and relaxed, has toys and space for women to bring their older children, and has facilities for women to feed and change babies and to provide refreshments.

Researchers engaged in maternity or child health focused research attend the group to talk about their work. The topic of the research is advertised in advance, so women can choose sessions of interest to them.

The funding will help us to widen the reach of the maternity group across the North East and North Cumbria and explore alternative models of delivery (e.g. online PPIE opportunities) with the aim of making it accessible to traditionally underrepresented groups such as teenage pregnancy and migrant populations. We will also publicise the group, using existing formal and informal networks to reach out to more pregnant and postnatal women, and to clinicians and academics involved in maternity related research in the region.

Allison said: "Receiving this funding is key to the continuation of this important work. We fully appreciate the benefits of involving maternity service users in research and are passionate about increasing opportunities for this to happen across the region.

"Thanks to this funding we will be able to hold six research themed mother and baby group sessions over the next year. We will also train more researchers and midwives to facilitate sessions and explore opportunities to extend the model across the North East and North Cumbria. This will make it easier for researchers and for maternity service users to engage in PPIE activities to ensure the maternity focused research we develop and deliver in the region is focused on the needs and priorities of the women and families accessing those services"

Access to research for gay, bisexual, transgender or other men who have sex with men (MSM)

Dr Sarah Duncan, Consultant in Sexual Health and HIV at New Croft Sexual Health Clinic was awarded funding for her work establishing effective health improvement interventions for gay, bisexual, transgender or other men who have sex with men (MSM).

Dr Duncan intends to work in partnership with local stakeholders and patient organisations in an exploratory project to find out how MSM and transgender/non-binary individuals in the North East would like to be involved in research and how research can be made more accessible.

Currently little is known about which research topics are of interest to this population; if the research setting is important; or if research led by peer representatives would encourage people to participate.

The team plan to design a questionnaire, with an online and paper version, to develop a clear understanding of how best to increase access to research, learn about research priorities and understand the barriers and enablers to research locally in this population. They would like to hold some telephone interviews to ask more detailed questions.

Sarah said: "This funding is key to developing our understanding of how we can increase participation in research amongst gay, bisexual, transgender or other men who have sex with men. We want to involve potential research participants in the design of future studies, by directly asking for their ideas on topics of interest”.

"This funding will allow us to provide compensation to participants who complete our survey, as well as cover participant expenses for telephone interviews. We would not have been able to do this research without the funding."

Discover the barriers for BAME people engaging in cardiovascular research and propose solutions working with these communities to increase engagement and uptake in our research and PCPI events

Samantha Jones, Senior Research Nurse and Lead for Patient , Carer and Public Involvement, Cardiovascular Research and NECTAR PCPI Newcastle Cardiovascular Trials And Research Group and Hannah Stevenson, Cardiovascular and Transplant Research Clinical Trials Coordinator have been awarded funding to discover the barriers for BAME people engaging in cardiovascular research and propose solutions working with these communities to increase engagement and uptake in our research and PCPI events.

The two-stage project firstly involves comparing anonymised demographic and geographical data of patients being treated in the Freeman cardiology department against the demographic and geographical data of our patients currently taking part in cardiology research or participating in our NECTAR PCPI group to show us areas for improvement in engaging with BAME communities.

In the second stage we will engage with BAME communities in Newcastle via focus groups or other community engagement events with the support and advice of BAME community leaders, we aim to discover the barriers for BAME people engaging in cardiovascular research and propose solutions working with these communities to increase engagement and uptake in our research and PCPI events. In doing this we are looking to form links with the communities with the potential of developing a BAME PCPI Champion role within our NECTAR PCPI group. We will also aim to measure knowledge and perception of cardiology research during these focus groups or engagement events through the use of a Perception and Experience Questionnaire.

Samantha said: "Funding from the PPIE Small Grants Scheme enables us to increase the number of BAME respesentatives in our NECTAR PCPI group and to cardiovascular research studies.

"By increasing BAME representation in this group we hope that information resources will be designed in collaboration with BAME community that addresses barriers and answers questions to increase uptake from this community in our research and that future research proposals in cardiovascular research will include review from a more diverse and representative group."