May 24, 2024, by mszteh

Being a Rapid Eczema Trials Community Champion

In Rapid Eczema Trials, Community Champions are people with experience of eczema, insight, local knowledge and networks who have been prepared to gather and share information in specific communities or localities. With their unique knowledge, Community Champions can act as a bridge between academic research and practical community-based solutions by giving people in their locality an opportunity to engage in and with research.

The first project for our Community Champions was to do research interviews (community conversations) with people living with eczema in their local area. One Community Champion takes up the story from here…

In September 2023 I went to the RAPID Community Champions preparation day. I wondered what I had let myself in for. I met Fiona when my granddaughter took part in the Dragon In My Skin activities. Logo for the Dragon in my skin project

I was pleased that researchers are trying to do something to improve the lives of people living with eczema and so agreed to become a Community Champion. Walking through the door of the Centre in Birmingham I was apprehensive but need not have worried. We were a small and friendly group and quickly got to know each other. In the session we learnt about:

  • What Rapid Eczema Trials is all about and why it is different to other eczema research
  • What knowledge mobilisation is and why it is important
  • How to have a community conversation and what to do if something goes wrong or you are worried

We practised community conversations; this was easier than I expected. We were given a conversation guide and reminded that we should listen more than talk! We finished with Fiona and her team answering any questions and making sure we had their contact details.

After the session I was confident to go out and have conversations with friends and colleagues who may not have volunteered to take part in research with people they did not know. I really enjoyed speaking with people and am pleased my interviews may help with eczema care. I’m looking forward to the next bit of work. Being a Community Champion is champion!

Photo of five Rapid Eczema Trials Community Champions looking at the camera.

Written by Fiona Cowdell (Knowledge Mobilisation Lead for RAPID, second left) and Pauline Godden (RAPID Community Champion, second right).

The Rapid Eczema Trials project involves researchers, healthcare professionals and citizen scientists (people with eczema and parents of children with eczema) working together to answer important questions about eczema by designing and running clinical trials together.

The Rapid Eczema Trials programme is sponsored by Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and is funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research programme (PGfAR NIHR203279). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Posted in Medicine