• AViD

New Publication: Understanding the Role of Community Engagement in Medical Research

Updated: Nov 21, 2019

People who work in medical research often do so to make meaningful contributions to the lives of others through health. In fact, the motto of the public health university where we work is “Improving health worldwide”. Our university hosts projects on the health of immigrant workers in Thailand, school children in Uganda, mothers and infants in Brazil, and people who use addictive drugs in our neighbourhood in central London.

But many of the challenges in doing so stem from the very different lives of the researcher and the researched. Those who work in global health research are disproportionately male, white and from Western countries, wealthy by global standards, and have far more than average formal education. By contrast, those whose lives they study are often on the opposite end of social, political and economic power structures, whether global or local. Even for health researchers working in their own countries of origin, many of these distinctions remain problematic in urban-rural divides, differences in accents, attire, income and education levels. The field of global health is so poorly representative that Tess van der Rijt and Tikki Pang ask the question: How “Global” is Global Health?

Some of the barriers to meaningful engagement between researchers and communities are products of the broader structural factors of access to opportunity (including health services) that make some of us more likely to be health researchers and others more likely to live lives characterised by illness. Acknowledging those barriers explicitly can help us consider how we might address them in our work. What do the barriers between researchers and communities look like in practice? ...

To read this article by Mark Marchant and Shelley Lees, click here -

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