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A New YouTube Patient and Public Engagement Channel from Researchers at Institute of Neurology

1 July 2016

The core mission of the Institute of Neurology is to translate discovery science into new diagnostics and ultimately treatments for patients with neurological diseases. Bidirectional patient and public engagement is a central part of this strategy.

Recent work from Rickie Patani lab and colleagues working in motor neuron and neuromuscular diseases have launched innovative new ways to engage effectively with public audiences. They have used a variety of digital media platforms.

New YouTube channel

Dr Helen Devine (MRC Clinical Research Fellow) and Mr Peter Barker (Orinoko Media):

“We set out to create a series of engaging and accessible videos to highlight the research being carried out on stem cells in the Patani laboratory at UCL. The videos cover the role of stem cells in understanding motor neuron diseases. However, we wanted to create more than just information videos; the videos are being created in a video blog (vlog) style.

We aim to create a personal connection with our audience by introducing the scientists in our laboratory along with the science projects. By putting a face to the research we aim to remove barriers between researchers and the wider publics including patients, carers and students.

We want to engage the public in a genuine dialogue about our research, which will in turn promote candid and informed feedback. In turn, our research and engagement priorities / strategies may be enhanced by this interaction with the public.

As a result of the videos and the patients getting to ‘know’ the scientists, patients may feel empowered to get involved and make their voices heard. This in turn could allow us to develop more clinically relevant outcomes for our studies or to develop approaches that are more beneficial to patients as a result of actively listening to their needs through this project.

In particular, we hope that by understanding our research in a jargon-free manner, our audience will respond with comments and questions that open a genuine dialogue. This debate will challenge our preconceived thoughts about our research and potentially guide new avenues for us to pursue”.

Science engagement through short videos

Dr Helen Devine (MRC Clinical Research Fellow) and Mr Peter Barker (Orinoko Media):

 “Looking at different scientific papers can be quite daunting at various points of a scientific career, let alone as a member of the wider public. Here we used a jargon-free and engaging video-based approach to address this issue through an existing collaboration with Peter Barker of Orinoco Media.

Below is a link to our first such engagement, using this approach to explain the paper ‘Targeting protein homeostasis in sporadic inclusion body myositis’ published in Science Translational Medicine from the laboratories of Professors Michael Hanna and Linda Greensmith”.