Women Set the Agenda

Professor Judith Stephenson, UCL Institute for Women's Health

The Institute for Women’s Health (IfWH) has held five annual conferences in which academics present and discuss their research highlights and future plans with their peers. To engage more effectively with the women that the IfWH seeks to serve, and to raise the profile and impact of our work, we wish to transform the nature of the annual conference (on May 6th 2011) by co-developing it with the public, including well women, users and potential users of women’s health care.

As part of the project, a medical student has spent an elective contacting women’s health organisations to learn about their organisations, introduce them to the IfWH, and invite them to co-develop the next annual conference programme. These organisations represent and provide support to women who are users or potential users of health care, and the intended beneficiaries of medical research.  These organisations, including the Pelvic Pain Support Network and Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC) and a new user group set up as part of a Beacon Bursary project, represent communities of women whose health we aim to preserve or improve through our research, education and clinical care.

This funding will support further meetings between different groups in the IfWH and women’s organisations, leading to new partnerships between IfWH staff and the public.  We anticipate joint conference planning meetings, chaired or co-chaired by members of the public. In addition, incentives will be provided to our women’s health organisational partners and the women they represent to chair sessions, present papers and otherwise contribute to and attend the annual conference. The funding will also support the team in leading on conference papers and reports after the conference to ensure that others at UCL, in the NHS, and in the field more broadly, can benefit from the project.

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