Improving capacity in ethnicity and health research: report of a tailored programme for NHS Public Health practitioners

SALWAY, Sarah, PIERCY, Hilary, CHOWBEY, Punita, BREWINS, Louise and DHOOT, Permjeet (2013). Improving capacity in ethnicity and health research: report of a tailored programme for NHS Public Health practitioners. Primary health care research and development, 14 (04), 330-340.

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Aim: To determine whether an intervention designed to enhance research capacity among commissioners in the area of ethnicity and health was feasible and impactful, and to identify programme elements that might usefully be replicated elsewhere.

Background: How healthcare commissioners should be equipped to understand and address multiethnic needs has received little attention to-date. Being able to mobilise and apply evidence is a central element of the commissioning process that requires development. Researching ethnicity and health is widely recognised as challenging and several prior interventions have aimed to enhance competence in this area. These have, however, predominantly taken place in North America and have not been evaluated in detail.

Methods: An innovative research capacity development programme was delivered to public health staff within a large healthcare commissioning organisation in England. Evaluation methodology drew on ‘pluralistic’ evaluation principles and included formative and summative elements. Participant evaluation forms gave immediate feedback during the programme. Participants also provided feedback at two weeks and 12 months after the programme ended. In addition, one participant and one facilitator provided reflective accounts of the programme's strengths and weaknesses, and programme impact was traced through ongoing partnership work.

Findings: The programme was well received and had a tangible impact on knowledge, confidence and practice for most participants. Factors important to success included: embedding learning within the participants’ work context; ensuring a balance between theory and practical tips to enhance confidence; and having sustained interaction between trainers and participants. Despite positive signs, the challenging nature of the topic was highlighted, as were wider structural and cultural factors that impede progress in this area. Although it is unrealistic to expect such programmes to have a major impact on commissioning practices, they may well make an important contribution to raising the confidence and competence of staff to undertake work in this area.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Identification Number:
Page Range: 330-340
Depositing User: Rebecca Jones
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2012 12:10
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 04:46

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