The Major Trauma PSP at the Festival of Communities
Published: 27 June 2022
We encourage JLA PSPs to aim to reach a diverse range of communities. Yesmin Begum, patient and public member of the Major Trauma JLA PSP Steering Group, has kindly shared her experience of the PSP’s involvement in the Festival of Communities in East London.
I believe ‘trust’ is the biggest factor in healthcare research and addressing this dynamically will resolve many of the problems of participant recruitment and engagement. Workshops are a great way to do just that.
Team Bone and Joint Health (from the JLA PSP in Major Trauma) set up a workshop at the Festival of Communities hosted by Queen Mary University Mile-End, London E1, on 11th of June 2022. This was thanks to the sheer dedication from Lauren, our Group Executive Assistant, who went out of her way to be creative by making a prize hamper for guessing the number of orange and blue jellybeans in a jar. This received a lot of entries, with many jotting down their guesses.
Fortunately, with the workshop being held in the heart of a diverse community, the ‘Stepney Green Park’, it proved to have an impressive turnout. The Bone and Joint Health team displayed an exemplary approach of friendliness and transparency in their work which broke down many misconceptions of doctors being professional and unfriendly all the time (sorry to say).
The event was not only successful but a ‘massive hit’ with the locals. Mr Skelly (a full-sized human skeleton replica) takes all the credit for that. People were excited to be part of the operation process seeing it as it usually is but, in a friendly and safe environment.
Giving an opportunity to children to dress up as doctors wearing surgeon scrub caps, stethoscopes and masks brought much joy to their parents who snapped away on their phones while their children conducted a very important bone surgery with grins on their faces. Dr Brett should be awarded a medal for the patience he displayed while missing his lunch to finish off major operations with the children who queued up eagerly for their turn to drill into a chosen part of the body (Mr Skelly) to fix.
Having these workshops in person builds trust within the Healthcare Sector. Getting people/public involved and making them feel comfortable to take part in research is paramount through one-to-one engagement and education, even if that means only helping them name the parts of the body.
More so, I was able to break down the language barriers by speaking in my native language Sylheti, to those who could not speak English. They found comfort in speaking to someone from the same background which allowed me to successfully ask them to fill in the Major Trauma JLA PSP survey, which they happily accepted to take home and post after completion. I spoke in Urdu with the elderly Indian non-English speaking public, building relational power to create mutual empowerment.
Points to address for PSPs getting involved in these types of workshops are:
- Communication barriers (Language)
- Accessibility barriers (literature available in other languages)
- Cultural barriers (Diversity of staff)
- Inclusivity barriers.
Points to include in these types of workshops are:
- Uniqueness of the activity
- Memorable moments for the public to share with family and friends who want to attend the next one, which will create a bigger turnout
- Always, ask for feedback.
All the above play a big part in constructive engagement with the public. Building trust is key. Creating relationships is powerful and beneficial on a mutual scale. Making it engaging is very important, rather than just handing out leaflets which people tend to throw away.
Another major point to remember is to disseminate to the right area (geographically) at the right time (nearer to the event) using the right channels (social media) to get maximum effect. Having trustworthy community leaders promote the event is very impactful too. Although Twitter is a great place to advertise events, local newspapers, WhatsApp and Facebook are more suitable to grab the attention of diverse locals. Many turned up on the day after seeing my WhatsApp status where I gave a 360 view of the event luring them in with excitement, which they could join in with, because it was local.
We had three tables with a range of activities:
Table 1: Bone Joint Health merchandise (pens, stickers, pencils, mouse pads), leaflets, QR Code for the Major Trauma JLA PSP survey, and paper survey with envelopes.
Table 2: Mr Skelly with all medical tools and apparatus. Also, masks, bouffant caps, and a stethoscope.
Table 3: Hamper with a big jar of jellybeans. This table also had small colouring pencils and colouring sheets for children, along with chocolates and more stickers and merchandise.
By the end of the day, all the tables were nearly empty with a public member walking off home with Mr Skelly as a prize for attending and taking part. What a success!? If I could, I would do this over and over again just to see the smiles on the people’s faces to be so close to doctors explaining how things are done but in a fun and engaging way. It really is a privilege.
For me, I look forward to the next one, hoping Lauren will invite me to assist again.
For more information about the Major Trauma PSP see
More JLA news
Reflections on Rapid Priority Setting and the James Lind Alliance method
Goodbye from Katherine: reflections on my 15 years with the JLA
A story from Malawi: Going the extra mile for the Global Burn Injury PSP