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IDEA: Improving the Delivery of Ethnically Appropriate Research, Services and Policy

Welcome to IDEA, a new trans-disciplinary collaboration dedicated to improving and promoting high quality research on ethnicity and health. This page is under construction, and new material will be added as our workshop series unfolds. Below, you will find a short introduction to IDEA, and our goals over the next 6 months. Please contact Dr Roberta Bivins for more information or if you wish to become involved.


The collaboration for Improving the Delivery of Ethnically Appropriate Research, Services and Policy [IDEA, for short] has been convened by a group of researchers based at the University of Warwick, Cardiff University and De Montfort University, with experience in studying the impact of ethnicity on health care and health outcomes from a range of disciplinary perspectives. Through out network and workshops, we are working to develop new models for research on key ethnicity-linked issues in medicine, public health, the social sciences and the humanities.

Too often, current research exploring the complex relationship between ethnicity and health is small-scale and idiosyncratic in its methods and approaches. Important results and outcomes are ‘lost in translation’, or remain locked behind disciplinary boundaries. We want the best research to be widely and immediately accessible to research users: practitioners, policy makers, publishers, funding bodies and affected communities.

As a first step towards this goal, IDEA has been awarded pilot funding from the University of Warwick’s Institute for Advanced Study to host a series of three workshops for professional researchers and practitioners with experience working with issues related to ethnicity and health. Addressing specific highly contested areas in current health research [drug trials, diabetes and obesity], the workshop series will serve as a forum uniting leading researchers with well-placed research-users. Each health topic will be addressed by research users who can speak directly to the problems they face in locating high quality data, and in translating research findings into ethnically appropriate practice, provision and policy. IDEA convenors and forum members will bring their experience and disciplinary resources to bear on these problems, and work to discover potential solutions. As a group, we will identify the barriers that obstruct knowledge transfer, and hamper efforts to address persistent health inequalities and poor health outcomes among ethnic minority groups. Over the course of our three meetings, scheduled for the 12th of March, 16th of April, and 4th of June 2011, we will work to develop appropriate research quality standards and build an interdisciplinary tool-kit of questions and approaches to ethnicity and health. IDEA convenors will present our collective findings at the 2011 annual conference of Society for Social Medicine. We are very hopeful that this work will lead to better quality and more readily transferable research in the field, and to the development of new collaborations for future research.

The workshops themselves will be small, comprising a strong cohort of selected researchers with standing in their respective fields. Attendance at the seminars will necessarily be limited to ensure that a spread of expertise and interests are represented at each workshop. However, we also invite active participation in the IDEA forum by a team of 'virtual' foundation members who will offer wide-ranging commentary on research-user presentations, circulated draft conclusions and recommendations from each workshop. We will further extend access to IDEA’s collective resources by presenting key workshop presentations, discussions and commentaries as webinars, accessible and publicised to medical practitioners, health professionals and the wider public. All foundation members, virtual and actual, will be credited for their contributions and may accrue CPD credits; webinar users may accrue CPD credits, and their comments and reflections will be incorporated via publication on IDEA’s website.