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Case study: EMRI Hub Leads: Meet Louis

EMRI Hub Lead Louis Palmer introduces himself and how he promotes inclusion to help those from ethnic minority backgrounds get involved in research.

Hello, my name is Louis Palmer and I work as the Ethnic Minority Research Inclusion (EMRI) Hub Lead for South Yorkshire. I also work for Grounded Research, the research team at Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber (RDaSH) NHS Foundation Trust, recruiting people to research studies.

I joined the EMRI project group in its early days back in 2020. At that time the focus of the group was on COVID-19, which has disproportionate effects on those from ethnic minority backgrounds. Since then I have seen the group grow and tackle inequalities in multiple health conditions that affect people from minority ethnic communities.

In EMRI, we particularly look at the number of different ways that we can promote inclusion in research. We know that people from minority ethnic communities are overrepresented in the population for some health conditions. But, sadly, they are under-represented in the research to find the best ways to treat and help people with those conditions.

We want to know that if something works it works for everyone, and therefore it is important that all research reflects all members of our community.

Hub Lead

As an EMRI hub lead my role is quite varied and involves:

  • Building links with different community groups around the South Yorkshire region
  • Delivering presentations on research
  • Working with communications professionals to develop different materials (such as videos).

We want to tell people about people different types of research, how health and care research is done and how research feeds into the treatment and management of different illnesses. Keep a look out for some of the disease specific videos we are producing around sickle cell, mental health, prostate cancer and many more.

Helpful Conversations

As a hub lead I have also led ‘Helpful Conversations’. These are small group meetings to start important conversations in the community. They are held regularly to talk about a number of different health and care research-related topics.

An example is the series of Helpful Conversations that we held to talk about cultural awareness. The aim of the conversations was to help researchers who wanted guidance on how to build better rapport with diverse groups.

The sessions were well attended by people from across Yorkshire and Humber. what we learned from the sessions led to the production of a cultural awareness leaflet offering pointers and guidance, which will be shared widely with researchers.

Building Awareness

I was also involved in helping to set up the pilot ‘reverse mentoring’ scheme for researchers and communities (see the related article in this edition!). Reverse mentoring is a scheme where the mentor is a member of the community who coaches the mentee, who is a senior researcher, based on their own lived experience.

I took part in a scheme like this myself, so I understand the benefits that it can give. Over the course of six months I was able to use my experiences to have rich conversations on a variety of topics around race, and how it shapes my day-to-day and working life experiences.

I felt that reverse mentoring could offer a lot to the research world, so helped to set up a pilot scheme which ran successfully in early 2022. The next steps are for us to deliver more schemes for those that couldn’t take part in the first one. Keep an eye out on the EMRI website for more information.

If you’re in South Yorkshire and are interested in EMRI’s work, please contact me!