Shamin Durrani: promoting health research
Shamin Durrani is a Research Champion, where members of the public volunteer to spread the word about health and care research. She joined the role to be an ambassador for research in ethnic minority communities.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your experience of health research
I am a British female entrepreneur of Afghan origin. I am based in Oxford, where my children attended school and university. During those years I was heavily involved in the construction industry. Often colleagues and staff would develop health related issues on-site, mostly related to the lungs. This is where my initial interest in health care research developed, especially towards Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. I am a multilingual public speaker, having delivered talks internationally. I like to support my community and have mentored local students, researchers and entrepreneurs.
What motivated you to become a Research Champion?
I wanted to help people, to get the message out about how health research is so important. This will help people with their health and the future of their children and others. I wanted to reach out to ethnic minority communities so that they had someone to talk to in their own language and help them. I also wanted to help my local hospitals with their research studies.
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 have been involved with projects raising awareness of health research in ethnic communities, talking to students from abroad in the local universities and helping councils with their health research messaging. I am also helping to set up talks about health research for NHS staff and patients. I feel that these activities will increase awareness of health research and encourage both healthy volunteers and people with health conditions to participate in research studies.
How has being a Research Champion benefited you and how have you been supported?
The role has made me feel very proud as it is important to communicate a clear message about health research. I have been supported by the NIHR with materials and strategies to engage the wider communities.
Is there anything else you would like to say about being a Research Champion, including to others considering volunteering in this role?
I would encourage as many people as possible to volunteer to be a Research Champion to help to spread the word about medical research, it’s very rewarding to know that you are making a difference to people’s lives and helping the NHS.