In early February, Health Translation SA collaborated with Flinders University to run a ‘first of its kind’ workshop which matched researchers together with consumers who had an interest or lived experience in their research area.
Researchers and consumers had the opportunity to learn about what ‘partnering in research’ can look like through a real-life researcher and consumer partnership story and practical exercises. Professor Johnathan Craig, Vice President and Executive Dean, College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University also shared his own experience and insights into the value of consumer and community engagement in health and medical research, and his vision for Flinders University as an organisation that strongly supports researcher and consumer partnerships.
More than 50 people attended, with senior clinicians as well as mid and early career researchers talking around tables with their matched consumer representatives. Research topics discussed at separate tables included heart diseases; various cancer types e.g. brain, gastrointestinal; eye diseases and autoimmune diseases.
The ‘buzz’ in the room reflected the genuine interest and engagement between researchers and consumers and helped create a positive environment for learning and formation of new partnering relationships that could continue beyond the workshop.
Feedback received following the workshop has been extremely positive, with one attendee commenting in the evaluation survey that “It was a very interesting and thought-provoking workshop”. We also know that several of the researcher and consumer partnerships have continued to meet in the months following the event.
HTSA and Flinders University plan to run a similar workshop later this year, with the aim to open registrations up to other HTSA partner organisations in the future.