In mid-February 2022, we welcomed two researchers to our MOSAIC Community Trust facility in Edgware Road, London. Professor Tushna Vandrevala and Dr Celayne Heaton-Shrestha from Kingston University, are working on a study funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Centre for Engagement and Dissemination. The project focused on how members of our diverse communities look for health information, who they speak to before making decisions regarding their health and how they use this information. The insights gained from speaking to and engaging with diverse communities was considered invaluable to the research team who will be making recommendations to make health information more easily available to people from different communities. This information will be used by the NIHR Centre for Engagement and Dissemination to make the research they produce more inclusive, easily accessible to everyone and reach wider
Nearly 30 community members from the South Asian communities agreed to attend the session facilitated by the health advocates from Mosaic Community Trust. Our members explained to the researchers the role of their families, their neighbours and their local GP in their health decisions.
Community members especially emphasised how important relationships with people and face to face contact was to get accurate health information, rather than the internet, social media and YouTube. The researchers were also impressed to hear about the Trust’s work, for example, the Covid-19 vaccine film created in collaboration with our local GPs. After the discussion, we enjoyed a delicious lunch, catered by one of our members, and a birthday celebration.
Professor Vandrevala, says “we are so grateful to each woman who attended the session and shared their stories with us. We have a responsibility to make sure that women’s voices are heard and particularly women from diverse backgrounds are given a platform to share their views that influence their health and wellbeing. We are so impressed with the work Mosaic Community Trust does in supporting their local community’s health and wellbeing, and the deep and meaningful relationships they have with the local community. Thank you for the opportunity to witness and share the warmth and openness of the session with the ladies.”.
From a research perspective, these meaningful collaborations between universities and community organisations are key to ensuring that we can represent the views of underserved communities and make meaningful changes to the health agenda. The researchers were touched by the very warm welcome and the honest views shared. They have expressed their sincere thanks to everyone involved, and hope to meet again in the future.