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From ‘Subject’ to ‘Partner’: the changing role of patients and the public in health research

A public lecture by Simon Denegri, National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) National Director for Patients and the Public in Research and Chair, INVOLVE.

SimonDenegriThe role of patients, carers and the public in medical and health research is changing fast. Once seen as merely subjects of research studies, patients and the public are now playing a range of roles: from active participant to being a partner in research design and delivery and, in some instances, leading the research themselves. Researchers, supported by their institutions and funders, should embrace the energy and new insights patients can bring in helping them to meet the health challenges of the future. But what are the challenges and opportunities of public involvement and how do we make sure it becomes more than just ticking a box for all concerned? 

Simon Denegri was appointed the National Institute for Health Research’s (NIHR) first ever National Director for Patients and the Public in Research in 2012 and Chair of INVOLVE – the national advisory group for the promotion and support of public involvement in research funded by NIHR – in 2011.

Simon was Chief Executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) from 2006 - 2011. This followed a three-year stint as director of corporate communications at the Royal College of Physicians of London from 2003 - 2006. Prior to this appointment Simon was assistant chief executive at the Alzheimer’s Society (UK) from 2002 - 2003 and also worked for the Society from 1992 -1997 becoming its first head of public affairs. Between 1997 and 2000 Simon worked as Procter & Gamble’s Corporate and Financial PR Manager based at the company’s headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.On his return to the UK, Simon was appointed Director of Communications at the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health.Simon studied politics and legislative studies at the University of Hull, and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (MCIPR) and the Royal Society of Medicine (RSM). As a writer and speaker on issues concerning the public and health research, Simon’s particular areas of interest include: public involvement in research; public attitudes to science; use of online and digital media for public involvement and engagement; health research regulation; the pharma industry; dementia and mental health.

This lecture was co-sponsored by the UWA Institute of Advanced Studies and Meeting for Minds.