Generously funded by the Monash Warwick Alliance Visiting Educator Scheme, expert Dr Magdalena Skrybant, reinforced the importance, imperative and opportunity to integrate community and consumer involvement into research and healthcare. Dr Skrybant is the Patient and Public Involvement (PPI as it is known in the UK) Lead at the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) West Midlands UK. Her visit to Monash Partners highlighted how to incorporate consumers and the community into research teams to enhance research translation success for healthcare improvement. Dr Skrybrant’s key messages were:
- It is never too early or too late to involve consumers and the community in research and healthcare improvement.
- Consumer and community work alongside researchers to shape what research is done, how research is carried out and how results are shared and applied in practice.
- Consumer and community involvement should be embedded throughout all stages of the research cycle.
- Consumer and community should be considered part of the research team.
- Consumers are not representatives. Their value is in providing a different perspective to the research team that other members may not have.
- Involvement of consumers in research and healthcare improvement has benefits for both the research and the consumer.
Drs Darshini Ayton and Sandra Braaf are Monash Partners Fellows for Consumer and Community Involvement in Health Research. Their goal is to increase consumer and community involvement in health research. Education and training materials about how to carry out research with consumers and the community will be available to all Monash Partner organisations before the end of the year. Workshops, online resources, and assistance from Monash Partners will provide the direction and support needed to thread consumer and community involvement into health research for healthcare improvement.
The future of education lies in global partnership. The Monash Warwick Alliance harnesses the collective strengths of two universities from opposite sides of the globe, creating international opportunities for all.