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Spotlight: Assistant Clinical Studies Officer Cynthia Nebo

Assistant Clinical Studies Officer Cynthia Nebo, who works for CRN South London, has spoken about why she is involved in research. Cynthia highlights her passion for mental health research, and she also appeals for more members of the Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities to take part in National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) COVID-19 clinical trials.

The aim of this monthly spotlight blog series is to celebrate, highlight, educate and inform the public about the diverse range of people who support vital research studies from within our region. We are proud of everyone who plays their part in contributing to improving the health of our population.

What do you do?

I am an Assistant Clinical Studies Officer for CRN South London. I work in a broad field within mental health research as well as in neurology, dementias and neurodegenerative diseases research. My duties include screening people about their eligibility for various studies as well as in approaching individuals for their consent to recruit them to a study.

My background is in psychology so I am very interested in how people operate. Research helps to break down barriers and can deliver improvements in practice that benefits our vulnerable patients. Studies can empower people, their families or carers in dealing with a mental health condition.

How would you describe yourself?

Friends would describe me as bubbly with a good sense of humour. I’m interested in travelling around the world and like to immerse myself in different cultures. I’m in a gospel choir called ‘Hearts Ablaze’ and singing is a big part of my life. We have performed in many countries including the United States, Germany and Italy. I fell in love with singing with my choir family and our repertoire is broad: from traditional hymns to more contemporary gospel music; even afrosoca gospel! I have one older sister and two cousins who are like my siblings as well.

When did you join CRN South London?

I’ve worked for the network for two years but my employer is South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust. The Trust has a fantastic reputation in helping people with mental health issues and raising awareness about these conditions. I love working for the organisation.

My role as a flexible worker within CRN South London is interesting as I get to see and understand how the different hospital services operate. This role has helped me to understand how research works and our role in that process. Our managers are very good, and I enjoy the autonomous working relationship where we check in and keep them updated on how we are getting on.

What are you interested in?

I have a degree in psychology and a masters degree in mental health; I’m passionate in understanding the mind: the thoughts, the behaviours and emotions of people, and how this influences their relationships and day-to-day interactions.

Why are you involved in research?

Research helps to improve care for our communities and it is a rigorous method of delivering a range of quality evidence that benefits everyone. People are at the heart of everything we do and our efforts help thousands of people throughout south London.

Why is research important?

I would encourage more people from BAME communities to get involved in research. Our voice matters, particularly in research, as the input of BAME people is often under represented, which often can lead to disparity or a lack of information when considering the treatment of BAME patients when improving and designing quality care services for all. The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark example of this disparity. Research such as the NHS COVID-19 vaccine research registry is therefore an opportunity to input into clinical trials that could help to shed light on how to defeat this virus.

You can listen to the ‘Hearts Ablaze’ gospel choir on YouTube or follow them on Instagram.