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Our blog

What’s on(line)? Creating new platforms for virtual community engagement in ActEarly

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As part of our ActEarly collaboration in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, we’ve been working with the inspirational Bromley by Bow Centre to explore what makes happy and healthy children. The aim of this stream of work is primarily to set the agenda for the ActEarly research priorities across Tower Hamlets, to build stronger relationships between researchers, residents, and organisations in the area, as well as to begin co-produced action based on the identified priorities.

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People-powered research: but what actually is it?

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Our vibrant communities are at the heart of the ActEarly city collaboratory approach

As John mentioned in his last blog post, our communities are at the heart of ActEarly. If we’re going to achieve sustainable changes in health and our ‘systems’ that promote health then we need to start in harnessing the views and creativity of our citizens. We like to think of the ActEarly project as ‘people-powered’. Co-production and citizen science are the key underpinning approaches which will ensure we achieve this genuine partnership with our communities and stakeholders. But what do we mean by co-production and citizen science? As we’ve started our ActEarly journey we’ve realised that these terms mean many different things to many different people! So our first job has been to spend time defining exactly what we mean by ‘people powered research’ and the values and principles that we want to follow. All of us within the co-production and citizen science group come at our respective practices with a set of varied and diverse experiences, but with some core principles that keep us motivated and focussed on doing our work in a particular way. They can be boiled down to: empowerment and equality, shared knowledge, and meaningful involvement. Read More

What do we mean when we say co-production?

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ActEarly has made a great start and is already breaking new ground – for example, putting co-production at the centre of everything it does. Such an approach is much needed but it can throw up challenges and I talk through some of these in this blog. I’m sure there are many of you who have thoughts about these challenges, so all comments are welcome.

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The drugs don’t work (and the research isn’t helping)

By Our blog

This is the wicked problem. While medical research has made such a spectacular impact on communicable disease, we are struggling when it comes to non-communicable disease. We face rising rates of diabetes, heart disease, obesity and mental ill-health, with ever-closer connections between them. We have been very good at describing the causes of these diseases, but less successful at coming up with solutions. Almost 90% of our health research funding is invested in biomedical research hoping to find new molecular or genetic cures, but paradoxically almost 90% of the determinants of health are social and environmental.

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