Public Programmes Team promotes the importance of involvement and engagement with young patients at national rheumatology conference

The Public Programmes Team, based at Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (CMFT), has been invited to showcase the breadth of their rheumatology involvement and engagement work with young people at the UK’s biggest paediatric rheumatology conference.

The British Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Rheumatology (BSPAR) hosts an annual conference, with this year’s taking place in Manchester on 28-30th November.

BSPAR is a specialist society with membership open to all healthcare professionals involved in the care of children and adolescents with rheumatic and musculoskeletal disorders. The conference is an opportunity to share good practice, educational resources as well as provide professional development and networking opportunities for those attending.

Over the course of the three day conference, The Public Programmes Team will be delivering a number of different workshops and presentations, as well as an information stand, to share their work and outcomes of involving young people in rheumatology research.

The BSPAR conference is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on involvement and engagement with young people, and highlight the impact it has on research outcomes.

If you are attending the BSPAR event, you can meet the Public Programmes Team at the following days/times:

  1. Young people project stand

An information stand, manned by members of The Public Programmes Team and some of the young people working with them, will be at the conference all day Tuesday 29th. The stand will showcase the innovative #DesignforMSK project, funded by the NIHR Manchester Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit, and have information about Your Rheum, a rheumatology specific, UK-wide young persons’ research advisory group that has been recently established.

  1. YOURR research priority – presentation

Suzanne Parsons, Patient Involvement and Research Project Manager, is giving a talk on Monday 28th November about the Young People’s Opinions Underlying Rheumatology Research (YOURR) project.

The aim of YOURR is to explore young people’s beliefs about their research priorities for rheumatic conditions and whether and how young people would like to become involved in the research process.

  1. The value of patient and public involvement and engagement – presentation for researchers

Leah Holmes, Director of Public Programmes, will give a presentation about the value of PPIE to researchers as part of the BSPAR Research Day on Monday 28th November at 12.00 – 12.30

The purpose of the research day is to provide a friendly environment for young investigators to share ideas, stimulate discussions and provide opportunities for production collaboration.

  1. Pioneering youth led session

On Tuesday 29th November at 16.20 – 17.15, Katharine Creswell, Public Involvement and Events Officer, will chair a session led by young people with rheumatic conditions from the Your Rheum group. The aim of this session is to promote interactivity amongst the young people and researchers attending and highlight the need for young people to be involved in rheumatology research, reflecting what is important to them and not just what is important to the researchers.

Dr Leah Holmes, Director of Public Programmes commented:

“BSPAR is a perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of involving young people in research. By involving young patients in our BSPAR work we are enabling their voice to be heard by researchers working on projects linked to their conditions.

“One of our focus areas is getting more young people and under-represented audiences involved in research. Whether that be through setting research priorities, advising on research proposals or providing insight into how best to communicate scientific information.

This work is supported by Arthritis Research UK, via the Centre for Adolescent Rheumatology at University College London and administered through the Barbara Ansell National Network for Adolescent Rheumatology.

If you would like to arrange to speak to one of the Public Programmes Team whilst at the conference please email or visit