New leads for patient and public involvement

25 Sep 2023, 4:25 p.m.

The NIHR Great Ormond Street Hospital Biomedical Research Centre is the leading children’s medical research centre in Europe. Their mission is to support translational research for children and young people across the world to accelerate the discovery of new treatments. Crucial to this mission is the involvement of patients, their parents, carers and the public in research processes, panels and advisory boards. Two new leads have just been appointed to bring this mission closer to reality.

Professor Monica Lakhanpaul

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Professor Monica Lakhanpaul is an academic researcher and practising paediatric consultant. She is currently a Professor of Integrated Community Child Health at UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health . She is committed to improving the lives of those in the most vulnerable communities throughholistic, cross-sectoral interdisciplinary interventions that encompass health, environmental and educational factors.

Her research tackles some of the most pressing issues facing families experiencing marginalisation in UK and globally such as early years, nutrition, asthma, child development, disabilities, mental health whilst addressing important societal issues such as homelessness and poverty. She uses participatory research, citizen science, and arts-based approaches ensuring that communities are involved in co-developing holistic integrated solutions.

She is most recognised for being the first appointed Clinical Director leading development of National guidelines for children in the UK for the National Institute of Care and Clinical Excellence, receiving the Asian Women of Achievement award in 2012 and leading the NEON Programme which won the RSPH Health at Every Age award. She has over 180 publications to her name and numerous book chapters.

Professor Monica Lakhanpaul, co-lead of Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement at the NIHR GOSH BRC said: "As a science communicator, I work to not only raise awareness of the challenges that communities face and how they can be addressed, but also to build greater understanding of, and interest in, research and academia among the general public. I hope my work as a co-host of the UCL podcast on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and my work as a British Science Association Media Fellow go some way to achieving this goal, and look forward to pushing the boundaries with Polly and the team in this new role."

Dr Polly Livermore

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Dr Livermore has been a senior nurse in the Trust for the last 26 years in a variety of nursing roles, most recently as Matron in the Trust. Her clinical work led her to question whether we could improve the psychological and emotional support given to children and young people with chronic rheumatological conditions, and their families.

She was awarded a National Institute of Health and Care Research doctoral fellowship, the first awarded to a GOSH nurse, to undertake a PhD in this area. This work had significant patient, parent and charity input and led to international invited presentations and to a charity led YouTube resource.

Since this time, she has built up her expertise working with patients and the public and delivered many teaching sessions and presentations to families and staffin her Lead Clinical Academic Role and regularly advises staff in the Trust on good practice involving these groups.

Dr Polly Livermore, co-lead of Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement at the NIHR GOSH BRC said: "I am particularly interested in how we can encourage more junior staff to engage with members of the public before starting research studies, and write more skilful lay summaries so that everyone can understand their work. I'm looking forward to working with Monica, Vicky and Dee across the team to meet our ambitious strategy and raise awareness across GOSH and our partner sites."

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