The public share their health research priorities
Cancer, dementia and mental health are amongst the most common priorities for the people of the region, the Multiverse Lab has found.
The Multiverse Lab tour has come to an end after a week on the road, hearing the public’s views on priorities for health and social care research. We wanted to know from people in the community: what is the research breakthrough you would like to see in your lifetime?
During the tour, the team learned that some of the most common priorities from the public in terms of health care research are: cancer, dementia and mental health. Several visitors also talked about the need for more research into Crohn’s and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
About the Multiverse Lab tour
The NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) along with partners*, commissioned Unfolding Theatre to create Multiverse Lab; a live, interactive installation to engage the public in important discussions around research into health and social care.
From 17 – 25 July, the Lab (pictured above) toured across North East and North Cumbria, visiting local communities. The response was fantastic, with over 350 people engaging with the hosts and sharing their voices.
Professor Avan Sayer, Director for the NIHR Newcastle BRC commented:
“We have been very excited for the Multiverse Lab to go on tour. With input from the public and patients on what matters most to them, our health research can have such a big impact.
While we have a strong track record of engaging with the public and study participants from the past decade, we are continuing to develop ways to broaden our reach and to make sure we include as many diverse groups from across our communities as possible in our research. The Multiverse Lab is just one of the ways we are making it easier for everyone to share their views and get involved”.
Involving the public at every stage of the research journey
Even the concept and design of the Multiverse Lab was inclusive, with public volunteers being active in its creation.
Gary Gibson is a Public Contributor for Newcastle Hospital’s APEX Group (Advising on the Patient Experience). He became involved in the project from an early stage (read his blog about how it started) and attended one of the live tour dates to talk with other members of the public to encourage them to share their voices. When asked why he thought activities like this were valuable, he said:
“For too long, health research has not had a broad enough spectrum of people participating…people think it’s not for them…[that] health research is for somebody else, it’s for boffins […] but I think that’s not the case at all”.
Watch this short video (48 seconds) to see what else Gary said
Following this successful tour, the team at Unfolding Theatre are now preparing to take the Multiverse Lab back on the road. Keep an eye out for dates near you in Autumn 2021!
Key facts from the Multiverse Lab live tour
- Number of venues visited – seven
- Number of visitors – between 350 and 400
- Most common health challenges mentioned – cancer, dementia, mental health, Crohn’s Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
*Partners: regional NIHR colleagues, VOICE, Newcastle University, Newcastle Hospitals and the National Innovation Centre for Ageing.