Sue is one of our Public Involvement Strategy Group members.
I am recently retired from a career in local government, initially as a librarian and then, for the majority of my career, within social care services where, as a commissioner of services, I could not do my job without the evidence base provided by research.
At a personal level, the contact I have had with health services has increased significantly in recent years: as a patient in A&E, with follow-up treatment in cardiology; as the mother of an adult daughter with a long-term health condition; as a care-giver for an elderly parent with dementia, who died earlier this year in a residential care home.
I was drawn to get involved with the Health Protection Research Unit (HPRU) because I have a general interest in the research process and in public health (having started, but not finished, an MSc in Public Health some years ago) and, of course, COVID-19 has raised the public profile of public health to the extent that we all think we are experts by experience.
During my working life I have always tried to ensure service user and public engagement in service developments and believe that the principles of co-production should be applied wherever possible, and I try to translate these to my public involvement in research. I believe that patient and public involvement (PPI) participants bring their own views and experience to the research process, but should also be a ‘nudge’ to researchers to think about how other, often harder to reach, groups can be included too.
Above all, I enjoy being involved in research projects as a PPI participant and believe that the views of PPI participants have made a genuine and positive impact. There is always so much to learn from the researchers and from other public participants.
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