Consumer and community involvement in health and medical research: Evaluation by online survey of australian training workshops for researchers

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Abstract

Background There is limited evidence of the benefits of providing training workshops for researchers on how to involve consumers (patients) and the community (public) in health and medical research. Australian training workshops were evaluated to contribute to the evidence base. The key objective was to evaluate the impact of the workshops in increasing awareness of consumer and community involvement; changing attitudes to future implementation of involvement activities and influencing behaviour in the methods of involvement used. A secondary objective was to use a formal evaluation survey to build on the anecdotal feedback received from researchers about changes in awareness, attitudes and behaviours. Methods The study used a cross-sectional, online survey of researchers, students, clinicians, administrators and members of non-government organisations who attended Consumer and Community Involvement Program training workshops between 2009 and 2012 to ascertain changes to awareness, attitudes and behaviours related to consumer and community involvement in health and medical research. Results Changes in awareness and attitudes were demonstrated by more than double the number of respondents finding involvement very relevant after attending a workshop compared with those who did so before attending; 94 % of respondents agreed that the workshops increased their understanding of how involvement can add value to research. Conclusions The training workshops raised awareness and increased relevance of consumer and community involvement among Australian researchers who attended a workshop and responded to the survey. The results of the survey are also suggestive that the training led to behaviour changes through increased consumer and community involvement.

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McKenzie, A., Alpers, K., Heyworth, J., Phuong, C., & Hanley, B. (2016). Consumer and community involvement in health and medical research: Evaluation by online survey of australian training workshops for researchers. Research Involvement and Engagement, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40900-016-0030-2

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