The Health Research Authority (HRA) has launched a new Community Committee, which met for the first time today (Thursday 5 October).
The Community Committee was set up to improve how the HRA involves people in its work.
Its members include Research Ethics Committee (REC) members, a Confidentiality Advisory Group member and members of the public who support organisations to involve the public in their research.
The committee is chaired by Professor Andrew George, who is a Non-Executive Director of the HRA, and sits on the HRA Board. He provides a direct link between the Committee and the HRA Board.
The Community Committee was set up in response to feedback from the HRA Community Insight Group, which it replaces.
Andrew George, Non-Executive Director at the HRA
‘The Community Committee will help the HRA be ever more effective, through hearing what the most important issues are for those that have a stake in health and social care research.’
‘I’m looking forward to working with the various members and encouraging them to be ambitious and confident in giving their advice to our Board.'
The Community Committee has 11 members, which includes two from the Community Insight Group.
Alisha Aman, Research Ethics Committee member and Community Committee member
Alisha Aman said: ‘I’m a member of a Research Ethics Committee in Scotland. Being an immigrant, South Asian neurodivergent woman, and a researcher who has also participated in clinical studies, I aim to bring a diverse set of perspectives to the HRA.
'Health and social care research is essential for the progress of our society, but there is much to be done to improve trust and access in the community, particularly in the minority groups. I hope, with this Committee, we can work towards mending that gap and creating a fair, trustworthy environment where a diverse group of people can participate in life-changing research.'
Becky Purvis, Director of Policy and Partnerships at the HRA
Becky Purvis, Director of Policy and Partnerships at the HRA, said: ‘We’re delighted our new Committee Community has met for the first time today and we’re looking forward to working with them closely.
‘We set up the committee to better involve our members and the public in the way we operate. This will help us to make better decisions by working with people who bring different perspectives and experience and will support our strategy to make it easier to do research that people can trust.’
During the Community Committee’s first meeting, members learned more about the HRA and discussed how the Committee will work in practice.
The Community Committee will meet every quarter and their first formal Committee meeting will take place on 19 December 2023.
Read more about our new Community Committee members on our website.