Public Health England report
Louis Palmer, a clinical studies officer who works for Grounded Research – the research arm of Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) – is stressing how vital research is.
A recent Public Health England report highlighted the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on people from BAME backgrounds with higher rates of diagnosis and a higher risk of death from the virus, when compared with people from white backgrounds.
“People from BAME backgrounds are more likely to suffer health inequalities compared to those who are white, however these groups don’t tend to engage with research.
“There has been a poor uptake of people from BAME backgrounds in COVID-19 research studies,” added Louis, who is from African-Caribbean descent, and works to recruit people for such studies. “There are many reasons why this is the case, but it is important to have more engagement among groups which are most affected. A vaccine for COVID-19 is something which is important globally and we need research around vaccines to be representative.”
Louis, who leads on BAME research for Grounded Research, added: “I understand the importance of these issues and I want research to be more representative and to find ways to engage others.”
Regional BAME Covid-19 group
Louis has recently joined the regional BAME Covid-19 group made up of partners from across The Yorkshire and Humber Clinical Research Network. The group aims to look at ways to improve engagement with BAME communities and enable more BAME representation in COVID-19 research.
Already Louis has devised a project which focuses on engaging people from BAME communities in research. Besides this he will also be helping to promote the positives and benefits of working for his organisation to encourage others who identify as BAME to work for the NHS and make it more representative.
Louis has been filmed, together with his mum Andrea, a nurse, and grandma Blanche, a retired nurse who came to the UK as part of the Windrush generation, to encourage people to get more involved in research. The video can be viewed here
Louis, who has a keen interest in all health equalities relating to BAME groups, especially Sickle Cell Anaemia, added: “The video aims to stress the importance of research for people from BAME backgrounds. I hope I help to encourage more people from BAME communities and backgrounds to get more involved in research.”
Dr Nav Ahluwalia, Executive Medical Director for RDaSH and who heads up research, said:
“Louis is excellent for this role and I also want to reiterate his message. If you are from a BAME community please get involved in research. The more research we carry out, the more likely we are to find cures or vaccinations against some of these terrible diseases and conditions.”