Case study: Dr Pauline Ashfield-Watt
Across her research Pauline is interested in improving people’s awareness, understanding and engagement with health as part of their daily routine.
Pauline is interested in using digital and arts-based approaches to improving health.
She is a Study Manager of HealthWise Wales – a confidential online survey of adults living in Wales which will be used to improve future health. She also undertakes research to improve the identification and treatment of familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH), inherited high cholesterol.
FH support services based in the UK, third sector organisations such as HEART UK and the British Heart Foundation, patient organisations such as the All Wales FH Family Forum, children, young people and their families and FH Health service professionals.
Types of engagement
Informing and educating newly diagnosed patients of FH and their families.
Children and young people diagnosed with FH.
Types of involvement
Pauline wanted to use a method of facilitating children and young people (CYP) to discuss their experiences of FH that was fun and interesting to children and that could subsequently be shared with other children, their families and health professionals.
Short form videos are popular and can be made and viewed on a range of devices which are accessible to children. Video-making is a collaborative and fun activity which has been shown to improve engagement and literacy in the classroom.
This project tested the feasibility of using video making workshops as the means of engaging children and empowering them to have their say about what it is like to live with FH.
Pauline wanted to provide information about living with FH from a child’s perspective to inform newly diagnosed young people and their families about FH and for training health professionals.
“It was important to me that genuine, authentic information and experiences were portrayed. I chose a method that I hoped would be fun and useful for the children involved and would also yield a video that appeals to and informs others about FH.”
Pauline’s original vision was that the young people would take the lead on video content and story line because she wanted their authentic story to come through with as little influence from her and the videographer as possible.
In practice, this was difficult to achieve because the children needed clear instructions in order to make a video within a 2-3 hour timeframe. The video also needed to be of sufficient quality to be shared with other CYP with FH.
Involving CYP with FH in this way really helped Pauline to learn what they understood and misunderstood about FH. “The workshop format enabled me to address these issues and incorporate them into the sessions. This did however mean that the workshops took longer than anticipated.”
This project was really useful in trying out the sketchnote video method – important lessons were learnt about how to structure the workshop, manage expectations, what is achievable in the timeframe and what was important to the CYP.
It generated lots of ideas for future workshops and reassured Pauline that the method really has potential for use in other engagement/involvement research contexts.
Another important learning from this experience is to take the time to truly know and understand your target audience.
“CYP have busy social lives and it was therefore difficult to schedule workshops when enough children could attend. The CYP also needed more help with creating the storyline and narrative. To some, writing the script felt onerous and perhaps too much like schoolwork. More use of the children’s own words from the brainstorming session may have helped with this.”
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Dr Pauline Ashfield-Watt - public engagement case study
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