The Student Patient Alliance (SPA) is an exciting R2P2 initiative to integrate patient involvement in the training of our research students.
SPA aims to put each rheumatology PhD student in contact with one or more patient research partners to informally facilitate patient involvement in their research project and to develop their skills in working and communicating with members of the public.
It is hoped that the collaboration is mutually beneficial for students and patient research partners. Many research students do not have a clinical background, and may have very limited knowledge about the disease area they are researching. Learning about patients’ experience of the disease can help them understand the relevance of their research and identify priorities for future research.
Patient research partners involved in the scheme can learn about and support cutting-edge research that is relevant to their condition and students can learn from patient insight and develop their skills in public involvement and engagement.
The pilot of SPA was a big success and both students and patients speak highly of it. In September 2020 it was extended to include all new rheumatology PhD students and additional patient research partners. If you are a rheumatology research group PI or research student and would like to learn more about SPA please contact us or complete the form to request patient support.