We believe that research and innovation can only solve problems in healthcare when solutions are deeply rooted in people’s needs and values. So we make sure that people are at the core of everything we do – working with, not for, citizens. This requires meaningful involvement with those who we ultimately aim to benefit from our work – the public, patients, health professionals and carers alike, so that we can better understand the issues that affect them, and find the best ways to address them. And by openly engaging with a diverse range of people, we can ensure that no voice is left unheard.
Find out how we’re putting people at the heart of our work through involvement, engagement and co-production.
Explore our involve projects
Understanding how climate change affects mental health
Exploring people's perspectives on healthy environments
The health and environmental issues that matter most to funders, researchers, policymakers and the public aren’t necessarily the same. This could mean that research benefits some groups at the expense of others, therefore increasing the gap between those who are able to live healthy lives and those who aren’t.
To address this imbalance, a team from IGHI's Helix Centre, led by Beard Askew and working independently via Imperial Consultants, carried out an innovative project to explore the perspectives of under-represented groups on healthy environment research. This community-led initiative involved a diverse group of about 100 people in the UK and used a variety of interactive elements, like 360o videos, to spark discussion. The aim was to gather their views to inform the UKRI/NERC’s healthy environment research programme in making decisions about priorities for future research, supported by public funds.
Read the full report: Healthy Environments, Diverse Perspectives (full report, PDF)
Read the summary report: Healthy Environments, Diverse Perspectives (summary report, PDF)
Read a blog from one of the project's community co-creators: Shaping research on healthy environments with diverse voices
Expressing children’s hospital experiences through art
For young children, the experience of being admitted to a hospital can be challenging. They may not understand why they’re in hospital and being away from their homes and families can be daunting.
Recent research from the Institute of Global Health Innovation found that although current strategies, such as ‘hospital play’ can help children cope with the hospital experience once admitted, they offer limited benefits in preparing young patients for the immediate change in environment.
To capture children’s experiences in hospital, our researchers recently ran a superhero drawing workshop. Children aged 5-12 were asked to submit their stories and a drawing of a superhero who possesses the superpowers they wish they had when going into hospital.
From the event, over 100 drawings and stories were submitted which were entered into a competition. 10 children’s submissions were chosen to be professionally illustrated and published in a booklet which will be distributed to hospitals in the UK.
Our researchers hope the booklet will encourage children to express their feelings about being in hospital, ultimately helping them to cope with the experience.
View the Magical hospital booklet.
Supporting mental health for young minority ethnic men
We’ve teamed up with The Mind Map, Golden Gloves UK boxing gym and young men of colour from Toxteth, a deprived area in Liverpool, for our new initiative called Fightin’ Thru.
The collaboration aims to use boxing and popular culture to raise awareness of mental health and appropriate support for young men, particularly those who identify as black and minority ethnic. The team is co-producing events on Instagram about mindfulness, exercise, diet, sleep and finances.
Raising awareness of hearing loss in underserved communities
We’re working to raise awareness of hearing loss and engage people with hearing health through our innovative project, Hearing Birdsong.
Co-produced with Imperial researchers, designers from Kennedy Woods, audiologists and people with hearing loss, Hearing Birdsong is an immersive installation that blends art, science and technology to encourage early identification and increase access to care. The pop up features bird boxes playing familiar bird calls, which match the frequency bands of a traditional hearing test. Visitors unable to hear one of the birds could be experiencing hearing loss and are offered a hearing screen.
The project also won a World Health Organization, World Hearing Forum and Coalition for Global Hearing Health grant to convert the concept into a virtual experience, which you can watch here.
Working with community members to set data analysis priorities
In partnership with Imperial College Health Partners and Imperial researchers, we’ve been funded as one of five Networked Data Labs across the UK. The aim of the labs is to use the Discover dataset – one of the largest linked and de-identified datasets in Europe – to answer key research priorities for health and care since COVID-19, raised by local communities, and to translate the findings into policy and practice.
To date we have worked with diverse people from North West London, with a focus on seldom heard groups, to establish their priorities for people who have been shielding. Among the top priorities was mental health. The partnership is now exploring the mental health needs of all shielded patients in North West London.
Hearing Birdsong is an installation of birdsong and handmade bird boxes, which has proven to raise awareness of hearing loss and encourage people to seek help when needed.
Watch this video from members of the team talking about the project and why it's important to involve people with lived experience.