On Thursday 6th July, local community organisation Mosaic Community Trust won the Inspirational Partner Award at the Imperial College London Presidents Awards for Excellence in Societal Engagement.

1a.jpgMeet the Mosaic Community Trust

The Mosaic Community Trust (Mosaic) was founded in 2005 and supports the local community in and around Church Street, one of the most deprived areas of Westminster in London, which is located very close to Imperial’s St. Mary’s campus in Paddington. Mosaic aims to empower diverse, socially, and economically marginalised and disadvantaged communities, thereby enabling them to actively participate in strategic decision making at the community level and to access mainstream services and economic opportunities.

Partnering with Imperial College London to address a shared goal of improving health outcomes in North West London

Despite poorer health, people from marginalised groups are under-represented in health research; that is, they are less likely to be included in research and have opportunities to share their views, experience and influence developing research. 

There are several reasons for this, however, one area that has been raised by members of the Mosaic community is the need for further education targeted at improving health literacy. Not only is health literacy linked to poorer health outcomes, but we are aware from conversations with Mosaic that low health literacy may impact research awareness, interest, and participation.  

2a.jpgOur partnership with Mosaic aimed to address these issues and has spanned a range of initiatives.

Most recently we have collaboratively developed a series of health and wellbeing awareness sessions on priority areas of health for the community, including breast cancer, long COVID, blood pressure, stroke and menopause.

These sessions are held in a local community venue and co-delivered with healthcare professionals and/or researchers from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (ICHT) and Imperial College London together with the Patient Experience Research Centre.

Each health awareness session broadly covers the following areas:  

  • Understanding current perceptions & experiences of the particular area of health from the Mosaic Community  
  • Providing education and increasing awareness of the particular area of health including what it is, who is affected, and symptoms 
  • Providing education and increasing awareness of how to manage symptoms or conditions linked to the area of health, what treatment and support is available and how to access these.  

What has come out of this partnership?

Greater understanding of how to work in meaningfully with local communities: Our partnership with Mosaic has provided a platform to develop a sustainable model for meaningful community engagement which we have now been able to apply & adapt with other communities across North West London.  

Improved health literacy across the local community Mosaic serves: The five health literacy sessions undertaken to date have been attended by 178 women of diverse ages and backgrounds. Health information from each session has also been shared more widely across the community through Mosaic’s community-based Health and Wellbeing Advocates, who are community members trained to mobilise the community to attend these sessions as well as disseminate health and wellbeing information throughout the community.  Feedback has demonstrated that these sessions facilitated greater understanding of each topic and greater confidence to access primary & secondary care providers.

3a.jpgSupporting education of Imperial students: Throughout this partnership Mosaic have also been instrumental in educating students at Imperial of the importance of community outreach and engagement by co-delivering sessions, e.g. on the Global Masters of Public Health Course and being involved in Masters of Public Health student projects.

More relevant and impactful research: Two individuals from the Mosaic community members have since been recruited to be Community Partners to support the Imperial College London Biomedical Research Centre’s research making sure the research being done in this centre is relevant and acceptable to the Community.  Following Mosaic’s advice, a stroke participant information sheet has been revised to be accessible to underrepresented communities. 

Feedback from the blood pressure session were fed into the North West London Integrated Care Board Hypertension programme and an Academic Health Science Centre meeting on hypertension. Imperial College London and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust researchers & clinicians benefit significantly in terms of learning how to engage the public & also hearing the experiences of the community to inform their research.   

Mosaic have also been involved in the co-production of the MatImms project led by Dr Helen Skirrow. Their involvement in this project has ensured that those affected by research are at the heart of it – co-producing and co-delivering the questionnaire for community members helped overcome issues of low literacy while eliciting the much needed perspectives of an under-served community in research. A separate blog about this partnership can be found here.

We are thrilled that Mosaic have been recognised for their hard work and dedication to improving health inequalities across the local community and are looking forward to continuing collaborating with them going forward.