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What’s next for CRN South London’s Inclusivity Panel

It has been a year since CRN South London’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Symposium, which led to the creation of our Inclusivity Panel for Health and Social Care. We spoke to our EDI Lead, Chifundo Stubbs, and our Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Dawn Beaumont-Jewell, to discuss the progress of the Inclusivity Panel.

What were the milestones of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work in south London and the Inclusivity Panel in the past year for you?

Dawn: For me, the most significant milestone was the engagement with the EDI Symposium and how so many people were keen to act on inequality and exclusion in research, which resulted in the formation of the Inclusivity Panel. It felt like a line in the sand, with community representatives, participants, researchers and our partner organisations collaborating for the greater good.

Chifundo: When I started this role last year, I said I wouldn't call myself an expert at EDI, and that is because EDI is about lived experiences. Working with everyone on the Inclusivity Panel, that knowledge has significantly improved. What makes it special is that large elements of the knowledge are specific to communities in south London, thanks to the knowledge and experience that panel members bring to the table.

We are constantly trying to bring more people to the Inclusivity Panel who represent protected characteristics so that they can share their experiences and help us identify some of the barriers they face in accessing research.

What are you most proud of?

Chifundo: I would say it’s the level of interest and enthusiasm in the Inclusivity Panel among our partners in south London following the EDI Symposium and the Panel’s inception. We created six working groups which helped us identify the main areas we should focus on in our drive to make research more inclusive. Following this, we’ve identified three projects for the future, and I look forward to working on these projects in conjunction with the community.

I also heard somebody say that the Inclusivity Panel is very democratic, and no decision is made by one person. We make decisions as a group, and it's a safe place for people to talk, and that, to me, is one of the greatest achievements.

Dawn: I'm proud and humbled to work alongside Chifundo, from whom I learn daily and observe the kindest and most welcoming approach to EDI. I feel so proud of the Panel's achievements, notably the support given to a local Chief Investigator in Critical Care to embed EDI in the earliest stages of protocol development.

What's next for the Inclusivity Panel?

Chifundo: We want to work with researchers who want our support in embedding EDI into every aspect of their research project. We've started the conversations, and I am excited about creating an environment where we can learn together.

Dawn: At the latest Inclusivity Panel meeting in December, we set out three projects for 2023.

Dawn went on to talk about our three key projects for the year ahead.

Mapping project

The Panel is keen to undertake an exercise to identify where barriers to research inclusivity map onto the current research infrastructure. This mapping exercise will identify opportunities for the future direction of the Panel's influence and is likely an opportunity to collaborate with key organisations to amplify our reach and minimise duplication.

Community Research Cafés

We want to support the hosting of community-led research cafés in groups where this activity is established. The aim is to learn how we can extend the opportunity of inviting researchers into community spaces for immersion, understanding the population’s health and social care needs, and promoting the co-production of future research.

Community and Researcher Learning Event

The Panel aims to build upon the learning of the mapping and community café projects to bring together an influential programme of learning to prepare all participants for viewing research design with a community-led and co-production lens. We plan to bring all the learning together and share it with partners at a learning event that is to take place around October this year. Watch this space!

To learn more about the Inclusivity Panel, read this report about the EDI Symposium we held last year or this blog from our EDI Advisor, Dr Josephine Ocloo.