15 December 2020
NIHR ARC West has identified and agreed research priorities for the next four years to help improve health and care in the West, a region which serves around two and half million people.
Our research focuses on four themes: integrated and optimal care, mental health, public health and prevention, and healthier childhoods. Each theme has a research oversight group (ROG), whose members work with ARC West researchers to identify topics that are priorities for the health and care systems and communities in the West.
The four ROGs include representatives from the three health and care systems within the ARC West footprint: Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP); Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire STP; and Gloucestershire Integrated Care System. They work alongside public contributors – including those with lived experience and young people – and researchers from the universities of Bath, Bristol, Gloucestershire, and University of the West of England.
The theme ROGs have now identified and agreed top line priority topics. These will now be developed further with input from methodological experts, members of the public and local healthcare system leaders.
Professor John MacLeod, ARC West Director and a member of the Healthier Childhoods theme research oversight group, said:
“My fellow members – including medical student David, who blogged about his experience taking part – brought both experience and fresh perspectives to the discussion. The process really showed the value of bringing people together.
“As we move from defining to refining our research questions, I’m confident that continued input from all our ROGs will keep us on track, ensuring that we use our expertise to best effect and draw on the skills of others as much as possible. We hope that the answers we come up with together will make a big difference to people’s lives in the West”
Louise Ting, an ARC West public contributor and member of the Mental Health ROG, added:
“It was good having public contributors involved in each of the themes so that those with personal experience of the health topic could offer their insights and opinions. This helped ensure that appropriate research questions were being developed and prioritised with the public in mind.
“We were also able to draw on our links with different communities to highlight relevant groups and help increase diversity.
“Being part of the process from the outset allowed us to have a better understanding of the context and to influence key decisions. I felt like a valued member of the group throughout.”