Moorfields ROAM project for research reaches huge numbers in under-served communities

27 April 2023

NIHR investigator Dr Roxanne Crosby-Nwaobi has successfully led a campaign to reach a huge number of people to raise awareness of research opportunities at Moorfields (ROAM) via radio. It was important to focus specifically on under-served communities in order to address healthcare disparities and decreased research participation in certain populations. 

Dr Roxanne Crosby-Nwaobi and two other people sitting at a desk in a radio studio

Dr Crosby-Nwaobi, Lead Research Nurse at Moorfields Eye Hospital, spent an afternoon alongside Mr Subhash Suthar, Clinical and Therapeutic Applications Specialist, and Mr Yale Adekunle, a recent participant in a clinical trial at Moorfields, at a radio interview centre. They focused a number of interviews and programmes on discussions around how to better involve local community centres and charities in eye health research initiatives and clinical trials. Many of the interviews were aimed at specific communities. One interview took place only in Hindi (see Soundcloud embed below). 

There were fantastic results with many highlights, including:  

Research is vital to the NHS and has a huge positive impact on clinical patient outcomes. Involvement in research can allow patients to play a more active role in their own healthcare, as an increased understanding of personalised clinical information enables them to fully participate in the management decisions and care-planning of their condition. In some cases, it can mean that patients may access new treatments as part of clinical trials before they are widely available.

The National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) is dedicated to promoting research in under-served communities, as diversity in research is vitally important to improving health outcomes for the greatest number of people.

The term ‘under-served’ is used to describe groups for whom healthcare and research provision needs to be improved. Two main causes of visual impairment in the working age-group are glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy, with minority ethnic groups particularly susceptible to these conditions. Currently, very few people from minority ethnic groups participate in clinical trials in these conditions. Increasing awareness of research in these conditions at community level may see an increase in research participation by the minority ethnic group, ultimately leading to better healthcare for patients.

Moorfields has already partnered with local charitable organizations, such as the Ascension Trust, Hounslow Borough Council and Lambeth Borough Council, Black Majority Churches and Croydon Swaminarayan Temple, to host eye-health workshops and research seminars on common eye conditions, preventing avoidable sight-loss, the correct method and timings to put in your eye drops, and how to participate in research to help us help you. Research projects catering to the specific needs of under-served populations are also underway, such as studying diabetic retinopathy prevalence and management among minority groups.

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