What Is A Patient Research Ambassador (PRA)?
John Smith, Patient Research Ambassador, BHT.
"A Patient Research Ambassador is someone who promotes health research from a patient point of view. They could be a patient, service user, carer or lay person who is enthusiastic about health research and is willing to communicate that to other patients, the public, as well as other healthcare professionals." (NIHR, 2018)
Meet Our PRA John Smith
Many people would never consider becoming a Patient Research Ambassador (PRA) unless they, or someone close to them, suddenly becomes involved in a serious medical matter. This is exactly what happened to me, & is probably true of many of my PRA colleagues.
After a lifetime of being fit & healthy, & never really having had much close contact with the NHS, I was diagnosed with cancer. As for all those given such news, your life changes dramatically. I became exposed to a world I hardly knew anything about. The world of research & innovation.
I was offered the opportunity to take part in a clinical trial. Clinical trials are safe today so I felt that I really had nothing to lose, but perhaps something to gain. When you are on a trial, you are seen regularly by the best clinicians the NHS has to offer. In my case, the trial also gave me access to drugs not in general use for my condition. You also cannot help but feel, that all the knowledge that is gained by having you & other folks on a trial, will benefit other patients coming after you who have a similar diagnosis.
I was receiving so much from the NHS, that I felt it was time that I tried to give something back. That is when I was offered another opportunity, to become a PRA. There are over 20 of us across Berks, Bucks, Milton Keynes & Oxfordshire. A PRA is someone who promotes & supports health research from a patient point of view. In particular:
- Helping to support studies & research
- Raising awareness in the community about research & innovation
- Providing a link between healthcare professionals & the public
- Representing patients & public interests & viewpoints
Finally, I would like to share a quote from Simon Denegri, NIHR (National Institute for Health Research). He sums up very succinctly the importance of hearing the patient’s voice in healthcare when he says:
“Patients are part of the crew in healthcare, not passengers.”
As a Patient Research Ambassador, it my mission to help spread the word about research & innovation because put simply:
“More Research = Better Outcomes for Patients”.
Find out more about the role of the PRA here.