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Volunteer keen to help champion south London research

A kind-hearted community volunteer is keen to help change the lives of south Londoners through health research.

Cristina Gonzalez, 72, from Marylebone in Westminster, is a Community Research Champion for the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network South London. Community Champions encourage others to take part in research to help develop better treatments and care for everyone.

The Community Research Champion volunteers at the Baytree Centre in Brixton as a mentor to Latin American women. She is keen to work with researchers to highlight the available opportunities, particularly in communities where people's first language isn't English. She said:

"We need to be able to give people the confidence to take part in research, especially for anyone whose first language is not English. I was a teacher in Venezuela for many years, and I like being able to help others. Other Spanish speakers in London may feel too shy to speak to their GP about their health. A person's health is vital, so by communicating with other Latin American women in Spanish about the opportunities available in research, I can help them make the best decision about their health.

"People need to know why researchers require their help, how the research will benefit them and how the study teams will support them. We need to get the information out far and wide. We need to bring communities together, and this is a beautiful way in which I can help others."

Data from the NIHR shows that 1,413,553 people took part in over 4,900 research studies delivered across the four nations in 2021/2022.

You can find out more about how you can support research on the NIHR's Be Part of Research website.