Jim Meridew: why I’m an NIHR Research Champion
Jim Meridew is a Research Champion, where members of the public volunteer to spread the word about health and care research.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience of health research
My working background is 31 years in the Royal Air Force and 10 years in education, most recently as domestic bursar at one of the Oxford colleges. I’m now retired. I first experienced health research six years ago following my first operation to fix heart arrhythmia. One of the doctors was doing a trial to understand more about the causes of arrhythmia and asked if I would participate. I was delighted to do so. More recently, I volunteered to be part of the COVID-19 Janssen vaccine trial and although the vaccine has been cleared for public use, I’m still on the trial.
What motivated you to become a Research Champion?
I was contacted by the NIHR as a consequence of doing an NHS survey in February 2021. As I was retired and had received excellent care from the NHS for both my arrhythmia operations I was really motivated to try and put something back into the system in whatever way I could.
What activities have you been involved with as a Research Champion and what difference do you feel they make to others and to research?
I’m quite new to the NIHR and have not yet taken part in activities or opportunities that have come about from the NIHR but I do want to get involved as much as I can and in whatever way will help.
How has being a Research Champion benefited you and how have you been supported?
I think that it has given me greater insight into the huge range of research activities that are going on. The website is fascinating. The support is great; there are regular catch up sessions with other Research Champions which are good for keeping in touch. There has also been some very helpful online training.
Is there anything else you would like to say about being a Research Champion, including to others considering volunteering in this role?
I think it is wonderful to see the range of research activities that are going on. To be a small part in helping others to develop the understanding and cures to modern day illnesses is a great feeling. I’ve really enjoyed participating in the two trials I have done and would like to be involved in more in the future. It is a very satisfying feeling to know that you have helped in some small way. I would wholeheartedly recommend the experience!
Are you interested in becoming a research champion? Visit the NIHR website to find your local contact to find out more