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The Patient Voice in Arthritis Research

Our aim is to make our research more relevant by working directly with people living with arthritis and rheumatic diseases. The Patient Voice in Arthritis Research is an initiative run by the UCD Centre for Arthritis Research and led by Dr. Emma Dorris. The initiative has been co-designed with people living with arthritis and their family members and includes a variety of ways patients and the public can influence, collaborate and direct our research. It has also led to some charity-researcher collaborations on community awareness (or outreach) projects.

You can contact us by email: patientvoicearthritis@ucd.ie or by leaving a voice message at 01 716 6809.

Highlights from The Patient Voice in Arthritis Research

  • We have restructured our research centre such that 3 of the 10 members of the steering committee in charge of the governance of the centre are patients, each representing a specific disease area: inflammatory arthritis; degenerative arthritis; and rare disease and paediatric (child and adolescent) rheumatology. Read more here
  • In response to patient requests, we now host an annual research conference completely open to the public. Read about our first conference here
  • News Rheum, our patient/researcher co-produced newsletter, highlights our research, patient-run community events, and how to get involved. Download previous issues and find out how to contribute here
  • In response to calls from patients we have started research into an entirely new area for us: The chronic pain disorder Fibromyalgia. This research programme is co-designed directly with our patients to meet their priorities. As well as the members of The Patient Voice we will be working with Arthritis Ireland, FibroIreland and Chronic Pain Ireland to help reach interested patients to help us at every step of our fibromyalgia research programme. Read more about it here
  • We now have 6 projects that have one or more patient insight partners as part of the project team and a dedication to have patient insight embedded into all future projects.
  • We have patient insight partner co-applicants on a number of our current grant applications.
  • Our most recent researcher hires had patients on the interview panel, with a dedication to continue this into the future.

Community Projects

  • We are working with iCAN Ireland, The Irish Children’s Arthritis Network for WORD Day (WOrld Young Rheumatic Disease Day) 2019 (March 18th, 2019).
    • This includes a research seminar whereby researchers are presenting to young people living with arthritis (aged 10-20) and a fun, interactive research workshop, whereby the young people can learn research methods such that they will be able to conduct their own research and present it for WORD Day 2020.
    • Emma Dorris also held a storytelling workshop with iCAN Ireland to help young people living with arthritis to tell their story and what they wish other’s new about their experiences through animation. These animations will be released for WORD Day 2019. 
  • We are working with Arthritis Ireland to name a human gene! Our research was the first to uncover how a gene works. So little was known about this gene that it didn’t yet have an official name. Due to our research, which was funded by Arthritis Ireland, HRB and IRC, we are working with the official gene naming body to give it a name. We wouldn't be able to carry out our research without patients donating their samples and the public funding our research; whether that's via donations to Arthritis Ireland or through the taxes that fund the Health Research Board and the Irish Research Council. Therefore, we are working with Arthritis Ireland and asking the public to help us name a human gene: You can vote for your favourite name here.
  • We are working with 22q11 Ireland and Presentation Secondary School Tralee to increase awareness of the rare disease 22q11 deletion syndrome. The second year CSPE students of Pres Tralee are creating patient experience posters for people living with, or the familial carers of people living with 22q11 deletion syndrome. These posters will help people living with 22q11 deletion syndrome to share their day-to-day experiences of living with a rare disease. The posters will be used by 22q11 Ireland to raise awareness. The students will gain an understanding and insight of living with a rare disease. By meeting with and learning about the lives of people living with rare disease, these students (and potential future leaders) will also start to recognise how their local community and help to become more inclusive and welcoming for people with chronic illnesses.
  • For Rare Disease Day we created an animated video to raise awareness for the rare disease CNO/CRMO (Chronic Nonbacterial Osteomyelitis).

Contact UCD in the Community

Room E0.56, UCD O' Brien Centre for Science (East), University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 2268 | E: ucdic@ucd.ie