PPI at Westminster:(P)PI in public service research
Research for health funders does not necessarily have to involve patient groups. In the spirit of PPI, Rachel Aldred, Professor of Transport and Director of the University of Westminster Active Travel Academy, instead engaged a Disabled People’s Organisation to co-design and carry out the research. Having previously worked on projects engaging local authority and other stakeholders, a recent successful National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funding bid is seeing Prof Aldred’s team evaluate a Low Traffic Neighbourhood intervention and its relation to health outcomes. Working with the organisation Transport For All (TFA) as co-applicant on the grant meant adequate financial resourcing was provided for a dedicated researcher and to compensate both the CEO and Campaigns and Policy Manager for their time in attending project meetings and providing feedback and expertise around accessibility for disabled people. TFA are playing a crucial role in recruiting disabled people to participate in focus groups, with participants paid for their time. Involvement of other stakeholders before the project was awarded identified the need to look at air pollution – not just physical activity and injury – as part of the study design, fundamentally influencing the direction of the research.
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