Meet the advisers 

Our fantastic public advisers are at the heart of everything we do. You don’t need any particular skills, training or qualifications to be a public adviser. We’re interested in your views, opinions and personal experiences about the topic we’re working on.

If you’re asked if you would like to do something that you don’t feel confident about, we’ll talk to you about how we can support you and any training we can offer. 

First a Hello from Jenny! 

I'm Jenny, the Public Engagement Facilitator for CLAHRC NWC. My role is so varied and a really fantastic mix of things to do with engaging and involving the public in CLAHRC NWC activities.

I work with the public reference panel to decide how best to deliver the public engagement policy and some of this includes making sure teams and advisers have everything they need to work together well, providing things like training, resources and advice.

Together with the panel I work to make sure that public advisers are involved in true collaboration and are able to influence research and other activities at every level of the partnership, in line with our public engagement policy. It’s a great job, no two days are the same and I get to work with the best team, the public reference panel!

 

A selection of CLAHRC NWC Public Advisers offer an insight into their role

Keith  

What motivated you to become a Public Adviser?

Since 1993 I have been involved in my local area, Blackpool & Fylde, working towards improving mental health services.My motivation, through Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) opportunities with healthcare providers, is to help develop a cultural change in the local population’s understanding and awareness of mental health illness and wellbeing. I have worked with numerous organisations across Lancashire and contributed to the national framework No health without mental health. I want to see patient empowerment, challenges to mental health stigma and a solid commitment to better communication across the health and social care between statutory agencies, third sector groups and service users.

What has the role involved?

I became involved with the CLAHRC NWC Mental Health Theme as it provided me with an opportunity to express my opinions and use my experience to help shape research ideas which respond to health inequalities across the North West.As a Public Adviser I regularly attend the public-led Have Your Say events facilitated by the Theme team and senior Management Team, which is not just a learning curve for my own development, but enables me to work with others to generate research ideas that will be considered seriously by Partners of the CLAHRC NWC who are delivering front-line services.

Describe your experience of being a Public Adviser

Feel like I’m a very lucky person to be helping advise on future research projects that will improve the population’s health!

 

Neil 

What motivated you to become a Public Adviser?

The opportunity to be involved and contribute my views regarding issues of public involvement in health research was a very attractive and valuable one.  

What has the role involved?

To date I have contributed to a diverse range of opportunities including CLAHRC NWC’s Public Reference Panel (PRP), Steering Board and participated in an exchange visit to PenCLAHRC in the South West. I have also been working on developing CLAHRC NWC’s PRP Welcome Pack.”

Describe your experience of being a Public Adviser 

Thoroughly enjoyable. I feel extremely grateful to be in the company of such passionate, warm, intelligent people. The sense of empowerment and satisfaction in contributing to CLAHRC NWC’s public involvement activity has been incredibly rewarding. Our monthly Public Reference Panel meeting is a fantastic, creative and much anticipated event

 

Fran

What motivated you to become a Public Adviser?

After taking early retirement in 2011, I spent some time with my parents who were both in ill health. At the same time I also had some health problems myself, then last year I had treatment and began to feel able to face life’s challenges again. I looked towards volunteer work to give me something to do. My volunteer work led me towards healthcare as I was previously a NHS employee. From my volunteering as a patient representative on a different group, I was asked if I wanted to help with a project being funded by CLAHRC NWC.

What has the role involved?

I was invited to be involved with a research project in one of the CLAHRC NWC themes. I helped by reviewing and commenting on patient leaflets for the implementation phase of a research project. I was then invited to join the public reference panel. I have found this role quite rewarding. I attend monthly meetings of the public reference panel and bi-monthly theme meetings. I enjoy representing public and patients on both of these groups. I was lucky enough to go on an exchange visit to Exeter as part of a learning process with the South West Peninsular CLAHRC. I found this an informative a productive exchange. 

Describe your experience of being a Public Adviser 

I have recently been asked to be part of another research project as a patient /public representative. This may sound like a daunting prospect but at all times I’ve felt valued and supported throughout all activities I have been part of. I have also attended training around the research process. I am hopefully soon to be involved in some shadowing to enable me to prepare for future meetings if I choose to be involved in CLAHRC NWC management and steering board meetings. I am highly motivated by my role and all too often we hear public complaints that no one listens to them. This is my way of contributing to the patient /public voice in healthcare. 


Tim
 

I joined CLAHRC NWC in September 2014. My clear aim was to provide input for enhancing research in Mental Health and assisting in translating findings into front-line services. I am very passionate about improving both Mental Health and Public Health in our society and wish to facilitate a move from a bio-psychiatric medical model of mental illness to a social model of mental distress/health. 

For the past 12 months I have been a Public Adviser on the CLAHRC NWC Public Reference Panel, in addition to being a member of the Management Strategy Committee for Mental Health, working on data governance protocols and have becoming increasingly involved in Public Health Theme work streams, which reflects my occupational background.

During the last 17 years I have been a remedial, manual and sports therapists and within the last six years have undertaken eight research commissions around Health/Mental Health, in addition to conducting safety audits. I have also taught at Higher Education including research methods and on numerous health topics.

The Public Advisers are drawn from all manner of backgrounds and feel privileged to be able to bring a wealth of experience to the Public Adviser role.   

Outside of CLAHRC NWC, since 2012 I have been a voluntary member of the ideas and creativity group ‘management’ committee of Revision (mental health alliance, promoting a social model of mental health). This involves: research, education. facilitating reading and discussion group, scripting bids, delivering training, writing articles, consciousness raising, working on projects, managing events, community engagement, networking and public speaking at conferences. Before this I was involved in voluntary Mental Health work for 20 years in the Huyton area of Liverpool.

I believe passionately about the value of education and skills training. Eighteen months ago I came across the excellent FutureLearn initiative, which offers a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world and have undertaken over 100 courses in medicine, public health and other health related topics.

My dream role would be as a Public Health Adviser, specialising in Mental Health, ideally undertaking F1– F2 training in Public Health as I have already undertaken part-time studies in Public Health, including a Masters in Public Health at University of Liverpool.

I am anticipating my work as a Public Adviser at CLAHRC NWC will take me a step closer towards achieving this goal.


Naheed

My experience of being part of an Evidence Synthesis Review

I have always been interested in health coming from a family with a medical background but also from being a carer. Through my volunteer work within the Asian community I was approached by Pooja Saini the Knowledge Exchange Manager at CLAHRC NWC to support a project which was looking at attitudes towards female cancers in the South Asian Communities. The role gave me a platform to voice and expresses my views. I was listened to during meetings with academics and health professionals in the team as an equal peer. I felt I was able to contribute in discussions and offer feedback as well as bring my own knowledge about why the communities were not accessing the screening process. I really enjoyed the training workshops I attended. I always felt part of the team, learning together towards a common goal. My favourite parts were the interactive sessions.  I learnt how to match research questions to appropriate designs and about the concept of how to critically appraise research reports.  This in turn helped me with the hands on experience of screening papers for the systematic review with my team members. My experience has given me immense confidence. To be trusted to present the systematic review to an audience of health professionals although daunting has shown me how far I have come in my personal development. After attending a health conference for the first time I have been able to observe the end result and how people from all over the world come together to present their different findings. It has made me proud of myself in that I have been able to disseminate the review findings of the review. All in all, I have been part of the whole process from start to finish and thankful for such an amazing opportunity. 


Saiqa

My name is Saiqa and I am a Public Advisor. I have three children and I am married to a doctor. I am a qualified teacher and have a masters degree in history from Qaid i Azam university in Islamabad. I have a good understanding of Pakistani and Indian culture. I am also a member of The Pakistani Association of Liverpool. I regularly go to the mosque and meet the Muslim community.

A friend of mine who is a researcher asked me to become a Public Advisor. I did not have any idea about it but when my friend told me the details it sounded very interesting and I agreed to attend a meeting.

The first meeting I attended was related to South Asian Brest Cancer. It was very informative and many patients and many patients and members of the public shared stories which were helpful for the researchers. I have also been to some workshops such as Critical Appraisal, training in the Healthy Lung Programme and I have had training for Literature Searching. Prior to this I did not know how much work went into Finding Papers and Reading Papers.

 I did a presentation in Manchester about The South Asian Breast Cancer Group with Dr Pooja Saini. This was my first experience of speaking in front of the public and academics. I have done a few presentations since then:

  • Experiences of being a Public Advisor in the CLAHRC NWC. This was in IGH Public Involvement Panel training day (Liverpool University)
  • A systematic review of barriers and enablers to South Asian Women’s attendance for asymptomatic screening of Breast and cervical cancers. It was presented in Wythenshaw hospital in Manchester to the South Asian Breast Cancer Support Group.
  • A systematic review of barriers and enablers to South Asian Women’s attendance for asymptomatic screening of Breast and cervical cancers. I did this presentation during the ‘Public Involvement in Cancer Screening and Research’ day in Liverpool.

I have been on a Bowel Cancer Screening Programme with Tahir Qasim on Evidence for Change. I am also a Lay Member of Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) group in Liverpool. I also took part in producing the poster and presentation in the show case event of Evidence for Change.

I am a member of the public Reference Panel where we share our stories. As a public advisor i help to write information leaflets and also to run meetings.

I have been involved in many activities such as:

  • Being on a PHD student interview Panel.
  • Preparing the Code of Conduct for the public advisor
  • Providing the feedback for the quiz foe health inequalities.
  • Participating in the Campus in the city event.

I recently became a member on the steering board. Apart from the experiences of the meetings themselves I have learnt to do things which I was not expecting such as gaining confidence with driving alone on the motorway. Taking part as Public Advisor has given me a good opportunity to help with research and gain some experience. I have particularly enjoyed taking part in the meetings about raising awareness of Breast Cancer in the South Asian Population. I was very proud to be on the PHD Student Interview Panel. I have been very interested in hearing other people’s views and I have learnt how research can improve outcomes for individuals and groups of people. I also gained experience from the doctor,s views and the hard work that goes into research.

My role within CLAHRC NWC has given me confidence in my spoken language; I have gained experience in speaking to the public and academics and have become more efficient in using computers.

I hope to continue being a public advisor, being part of research and also improving health for individuals and communities.