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Spotlight: Communications and PPIE Assistant Xenia Abramenko

National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) CRN South London’s Communications and Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) Assistant, Xenia Abramenko, speaks about her passion for championing research participants and her excitement at joining the NIHR.

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 the population.

What do you do?

I am a Communications and Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Assistant. My role involves supporting both functions in promoting the range of opportunities that are available for patients, carers and the public to take part in and feedback on health research in south London. This is my first role at NIHR, and I look forward to exploring the opportunities that combining these two functions gives. I think communications and PPIE are both crucial in helping to make patients’ voices heard, which is what makes me inspired about my role.

How would you describe yourself?

I’m a curious person and a lifelong learner who enjoys exploring new ideas. I changed my career path a couple of years ago, previously working as a medical translator in a charity.

Why did you join CRN South London?

This role provided an excellent opportunity for me to use my previous experience and background. I have a great interest in patient involvement and engagement, an area in which NIHR played an important role in establishing the standards of.

What are you interested in?

I enjoy reading, music, going out with friends and long walks with my dog. I missed being able to go to bookshops and live concerts during the lockdown. I like exploring the area where I live, especially local history. Exploring helps me to feel at home in London.

Why are you involved in research?

I have always had an appreciation for science and its spirit of exploration and the pursuit of knowledge. In my previous job, I was involved in research projects in the area of drug-resistant tuberculosis at a time when the first new treatments in 50 years became available. I saw how research can bring immediate benefits and make an enormous difference to people’s lives.

Why is research important?

Research is important because it gives answers about what works best, which both those who provide and receive care benefit from. Last year brought to the fore the global importance of research. Research has played a central role in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is a really exciting time to be joining the NIHR.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.