Research worker keen to champion inclusivity across south London
A research worker believes championing inclusivity is vital for the future of NIHR-supported research.
Christopher Ward, CRN South London's Study Support Service (SSS) Specialist, is a passionate advocate for ensuring everyone can benefit from the results of health and care research. He said:
"Things are really exciting at the moment. As a SSS team, we are involved in change projects at a national and regional level, but we also work to embed inclusivity across all our local processes. Those ground-level conversations are perhaps less visible, but there are a lot of them, and they can make a real difference. Building trust takes time and effort, and culture change won't happen overnight, so embedding interactions like this as part of our day-to-day business is crucial. I'd encourage everyone to review their processes to see if there are places they can intervene to do more to deliver more inclusive, more impactful research.
"Given our demographic, we have a fantastic opportunity in south London to influence healthcare. The rewards for making research more inclusive are potentially enormous. If we get it right, we can play our part in delivering life-changing outcomes for people, not just in England but around the world. We know that doing good is important to people who participate in research. The more inclusive research is the bigger its impact, which will be better for everyone.
"The SSS wants to be part of that. We do our best to help our research teams think about new ways to reach out and support our under-served communities. The researchers we support have welcomed this, which, in my opinion, speaks real volumes.
"If any researchers are interested in reaching out to find out how we can support them to make research better for everyone, we'd really welcome that."
The Study Support Service helps researchers and the life sciences industry plan, set up and deliver high-quality research to time and target in the NHS and the wider health and social care environment across England.
Christopher also is a member of CRN South London's Inclusivity Panel. The Inclusivity Panel (IP) is working to ensure south London research is inclusive and representative of the local population.
CRN South London's Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Lead Chifundo Stubbs leads the Network's Inclusivity Panel. She said:
"I'm delighted to hear about the great work being done within the Study Support Service to encourage researchers to think about inclusivity throughout the study life cycle.
"Christopher's passion is truly infectious and so inspiring. I want to say a big thank you to the Study Support Service for their hard work in championing inclusive research. Working with so many people committed to delivering lasting change for our communities is a privilege.
"I agree with Christopher's sentiments, and I'm so glad to have him on board as a member of our IP. I'm excited for what lies ahead!"