In the summer of 2018, Our Health launched two interdisciplinary, community-based research pilots projects. The research questions had been proposed by local patient support groups: Breathtakers, Breathe Easy Fife and The Cheyne Gang.
We invited students from across the University of Edinburgh to take part in these exciting research projects. After this successful pilot, Our Health has been funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to continue creating ground breaking community driven research for The University of Edinburgh and local/global communities over the next 4 years (2019 – 2023).
The Our Health projects are an excellent example of patient-centred research. They are led by our superb students from interdisciplinary subject areas across the University. I want to see the University engaging ever more deeply with the community, the city and the public.
Our Health projects create community-based research that invites local communities to set real-world research questions and agendas around health and wellbeing. The programme is based on the ‘science shops’ model that is used widely across Europe to try to bridge research institutes and wider society.
Our Health projects are valuable because they aim to play a role in tackling the health inequalities that exist in society. Our Health targets the most severely disadvantaged communities at a local (Edinburgh) and global (India/Africa) level.
Our Health Local (Edinburgh) works in partnership with NHS Lothian and Edinburgh City Council to improve health literacy and empower local patient and community groups to take greater responsibility and control of their own health through community-university driven research.
Our Health Global enables students to work synergistically with key health partners and patients in India and Africa to research questions around health and wellbeing and share knowledge, vital to help the local communities to support universal health coverage goals.
The Our Health team are delighted by how positively the Our Health projects have been received by students, local community groups and colleagues across the University of Edinburgh.
The University takes great pride in its relationship with the City and the local community. ‘Our Health’ is a wonderful example of the way in which teaching and research can be put in the service of the community.
As well as continuing the research we have begun with The Cheyne Gang, Breathtakers and Breathe Easy we are currently working with new community partners as well as university teaching staff to look at how we can involve more students in these rich learning experiences and help them gain credits for their community-based research.
Our Health Programme Lead:
Dr Helen Szoor-McElhnney (Helen.Szoor-Mcelhinney@ed.ac.uk)