In this post we meet CO-CONNECT's Patient and Public Involvement Coordinator, Lana Woolford
Hello, I’m the new Patient & Public (PPI) Coordinator for CO-CONNECT. I’m a former researcher in medical imaging for public health. I joined this project from another role in the University of Edinburgh which focused on the immunology of COVID-19.
I’ll be making sure that the project is relevant for, understandable to, and trusted by the public. I’ll do this by supporting the PPI Team (called the Patient User Group, or PUG), guiding the PPI strategy and tracking the impact of their activities and feedback on research.
Why Patient and Public Involvement?
Dynamic interactions between researchers and the wider world creates greatest benefit for both of these groups. Some of the many benefits include:
- Prioritising research questions that will have a genuine impact on the public
- Designing clinical trials, interventions and services that work for patients, carers and families
- Communicating outcomes to enable the public to make positive decisions about healthcare
- Producing research results and structures that are inclusive, trustworthy and ethical.
The benefits of patient and public involvement might seem less obvious for a project focused on data and infrastructure, rather than treatments or infection rates. I think that rigorous PPI in this context is critical precisely because it’s less obvious and the project is on such a large scale. We hope that the project’s inputs and outputs will inform policy, healthcare and future research. This might happen through deciding how to manage shielding and lockdowns, or how to treat symptoms of patients with long COVID-19. Other topics that are relevant include data security, willingness to share data, healthcare access and inequalities, data collection methodologies, trust in government and vaccines, and even variations in how the public might talk to their GP.
I’m excited to be working on this project – keep an eye out for updates from me and the PUG in the coming months.
Interested in finding out more? Contact Lana.
Please note, Tracy Jackson from the University of Edinburgh has since taken up the role of CO-CONNECT’s Patient and Public Involvement Coordinator.