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Getting young people's voices heard in health research

5 January 2016

Mike Bell, our Patient and Public Involvement Facilitator, describes the work of the Bristol Young Persons Advisory Group (YPAG) which comprises young people aged between 10 and 17 who are interested in healthcare and research. This is part of a series of blogs, where key players in Bristol's health sector write about a health related subject of their choice. If you want to contribute, email zoe.trinder-widdess@bristolhealthpartners.org.uk.

Young Persons Advisory Group members having a go at doing a blood test on a fake arm

Being so close to Christmas, you might expect a bit of a party atmosphere at the last Generation R Young Person's Advisory Group meeting on 21 December and you'd be right. There was, however, some serious research work to be done in between the mince pies and chocolate log.

Sixteen young people, whose ages ranged from 11 to 17, were asked for their opinions on a variety of topics, including the 'Stealth project' which looks at how to get young people to exercise without realising, and who they would prefer to teach them about sex (stop giggling at the back) and relationships: a teacher they knew or a complete stranger.

They were also given free rein to design novel medication adherence devices, which included tattoos that only ink up when you need to take your tablets and a friendship bracelet that changes colour to remind you to take your medicine.

It was a long and tiring day, finishing with a brief anatomy lesson and an opportunity to have a try at taking a blood sample from a variety of 'arms'.

Finally, Santa dropped in to present the participants with a certificate and a lucky dip with various health research related gifts.

The next planned meeting will be on 5 April 2016. If you feel your research project might benefit from critical evaluation of a feisty group of young people you can contact me on mike.bell@bristol.ac.uk or 0117 342 1249 to discuss further.

The Bristol Young Persons Advisory Group


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