15 October 2003
Community Participation in Research
Community participation in research has only recently come to be seen as a necessary part of social research. Previously, a top down approach to research has been adopted leading to communities feeling over-researched, excluded and occasionally, deceived. Commissioners, funding bodies and ethics committees have put pressure on researchers to identify the needs of the community, so that research can have more impact in the field. However, involving a multi-disciplinary group of stakeholders in a study is not as easy as it sounds, especially when not everyone involved has a clear idea of their role.
With these points in mind, the African HIV Research Forum dedicated their Fifth seminar day to Community Participation in Research. On October 15th, 80 delegates took part in the seminar held at University of London Union. Josh Levene introduced delegates to the various concepts in community participation with a stimulating and entertaining presentation. Gertrude Othieno provided the African perspective, with a highly informative presentation about African patients in antiretroviral trials. After lunch, John Imrie discussed his personal experiences of community participation in research, providing useful tips about what researchers might experience. The final presentation given by Dr Alice Welbourn, introduced various techniques and strategies useful when working with community members.
Overall the day was very successful, giving delegates a good introduction to new ways of working with communities. Many issues were touched on briefly, and the Co-Chairs of the forum suggested that they explored in a further, full conference day focusing on Community Participation in 2004.