Patient and public involvement in research

Anne

Female
Age at interview: 81

Brief outline: Anne has been interested in health research and has been a patient and public representative for many years. She is particularly interested in research that looks at how the environment influences health. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and a member of the Institute of Physics.

Background: Anne has worked in optics and was a specialist contact lens consultant. She later moved into health research and physics. She is widowed. Ethnic background: White British.

Audio & video

Anne first became involved in PPI when she joined the Dementia and Neuro Diseases Research Network (DeNDRoN), a neurological research group that has branches all around the UK. She has a longstanding interest in health research having worked in optics and in physics research. At the beginning she had no expectations about what PPI would involve and was willing to take on any opportunities. As she has become more involved, PPI has become more important in her life. 

Her PPI role has involved chairing meetings, reviewing participant information sheets for researchers and discussing with other members what types of research should be done on certain illnesses. She was involved in a campaign to encourage members of the public to donate their brains to help neurological research and was thrilled when the idea she proposed for the flyer was accepted by the research team. 

Anne thinks the goals of PPI are to improve public health and reduce illness and disease. She sees her involvement as a way of accessing people with health problems and influencing researchers’ views on what factors are important when it comes to health. To take part in PPI, Anne said people need to “have an analytical brain, a willingness to talk openly, a willingness to think laterally and empathy with patients.” They should also be keen to talk and listen, taking on board other people’s ideas and providing some of their own. 

As a message to researchers, Anne asked that they ask more questions and remain open-minded. She is keen to be involved in research looking at the effect of the environment on health. She would encourage other members of the public to take part in PPI, saying other people’s ideas would be welcomed. She thinks television programmes should aim to educate the public about science and research, and that this may encourage more people to become patient and public representatives. 

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