Landmark Salford Project aims to challenge misconceptions around research
London, 19 January 2022: The UK’s largest kidney research charity – Kidney Research UK – is embarking on a landmark approach to help increase representation of marginalised groups within major kidney research projects. Focusing on groups most at-risk of kidney disease within the Salford area, the project will attempt to engage those from poorer areas of Salford of all ethnicities as well as the Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities across certain regions. As well as attempting to break down misconceptions and fears around participating in vital research, the charity and volunteers will be encouraging members of the community to sign up to receive information and invitations to future research projects.
The project operated by the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust will take a unique approach by exclusively using the charity’s multi award winning “peer educator” initiative to engage with each group. The mentors, who are recruited from within the communities themselves will embark on a detailed training course to identify taboo topics, share detailed information and explain to at-risk communities the process and the benefits of taking part in research.
Currently, people from poorer communities are more likely to develop chronic kidney disease, progress faster towards kidney failure and often die earlier with the disease than people from higher economic backgrounds. In addition, those from black, Asian and minority ethnic populations are more likely to progress faster towards kidney failure while also being less likely to receive a kidney transplant. These statistics further highlight the importance of the project’s ambition to increase representation of these marginalised groups in future research projects.
The peer educator approach is a tested and successful model – source Kidney Research UK
Dr Smeeta Sinha, consultant nephrologist at Salford Royal Hospital, part of Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We all understand just how vital research into kidney disease is and the individuals who participate help us to accelerate and transform future treatments. Unfortunately, the patient population that we currently recruit rarely reflects the diverse make-up of the kidney community, with the vast majority coming from white and middle-class backgrounds. With a patient pool which better reflects the overall kidney population, we can ensure that the future of kidney treatment is applicable and appropriate for all patients.”
For many marginalised communities, participating in research continues to be a taboo topic. Historic fears around experimentation, concerns over whether research will be supported by their religion and a general mistrust of the institutions of government and the health system are often cited as reasons why people from these groups pass on the opportunity to participate in research.
Neerja Jain, health equalities programme manager at Kidney Research UK said: “Our peer educator approach has seen great success when educating communities on general and kidney health and dispelling scientific mis-information. Not only do we make sure that the people we recruit are representative of the areas we want to engage with, but our volunteers are often well-known members of the community and trusted amongst their peers. It is impossible to pin the hesitancy towards research down to a single issue, rather communities often cite a number of historical, cultural and faith-based concerns that prevent them from taking part in vital research. Through the Salford Project however, we hope to be able dismantle these barriers with an evidence-based approach through our trusted and passionate volunteers.”
Recruitment for the project volunteers is still ongoing with the research team looking for people from the lower economic areas in Salford of all ethnicities, as well as members of the Pakistani community in Oldham and those of Bengali origin in Rochdale.
Those who wish to participate in the Salford Project should contact Programme Manager, Neerja Jain ASAP by email: email@example.com or call/message: 07810 555 844.
About Kidney Research UK
As the largest kidney research charity in the UK, nothing is going to stop us in our urgent mission to end kidney disease. We’re here to be heard, to make a difference, to change the future. This is a disease that ruins and destroys lives. It must be stopped.
Over the past 60 years, our research has made an impact. But kidney failure is rising, as are the factors contributing to it, such as diabetes and obesity.
Today, we are more essential than ever.
Kidney disease affects three million people in the UK, treatments can be gruelling and currently there is no cure. Only research will end this.
About the Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust
Northern Care Alliance NHS Foundation Trust was established on 1 October 2021 bringing together Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust. NCA provides hospital and community healthcare services in Salford, Oldham, Bury and Rochdale. Our dedicated team of around 20,000 staff delivers high standards of care and experience excellence to over one million people across Greater Manchester and beyond.
More information about the NCA can be found at www.northerncarealliance.nhs.uk.