21 Oct 2022

Abigail Mensah (pictured below) is a member of the ARC’s Executive and Board. She is the founder, and project and workshop leader, for Ladies in Waiting Community Interest Group, which works to promote self-worth among women, tackling issues such as abandonment, domestic violence and low self-esteem.

Abigail Mensah

Q: Abigail, what prompted your interest in getting involved in ARC South London’s research?

What prompted me to get involved with the ARC South London research was the fact that there was an opportunity to. I have always been interested in research, particularly about perinatal health and kidney health issues, due to my late uncle. I have always been intrigued about learning and gaining more knowledge.

Q: How do you think your membership of ARC South London’s Board and Executive has added value to the ARC’s work?

I believe my membership has added value to the ARC’s work by giving a community perspective, but also bringing a different viewpoint on the different research and statistics shown. Most definitely it has changed the conversations with my organisation and it has given people hope that there are different avenues available to them.

Q: What do you most enjoy or find most rewarding about being involved in the ARC’s work?

What I find most rewarding about being involved in the ARC’s work is being heard and knowing that what I say can make difference. I will be honest, I never thought there would be an opportunity to be part of a Board which deals with research and most importantly where my voice would be heard by researchers. When this opportunity was presented to me, I was intrigued and I did not know what to expect.

Q: What have you found most challenging in your roles and how have you overcome this challenge?

At first, I thought the jargon would be challenging, but Professor Sir Graham Thornicroft, who leads ARC South London has made it accessible, so what I thought would be a challenge turned out not to be.

Q: Are there any insights or learning from your work with the ARC that have informed your work or everyday life?

Oh yes, absolutely. I have become incredibly aware about research and how it can be explored and that alone has helped me with informed decisions about my own healthcare.

There is a great value in bringing people from diverse backgrounds into the ARC reflecting the local communities because the UK is diverse. It is important that everyone is included in any way possible and most importantly, not just to be seen, but to also be heard

Abigail Mensah, ARC South London Board and Executive member

As time has gone on, I look forward to every meeting, to learn and go back to my organisation to implement what I have learnt, but it has also made me aware of my contribution to research. I have also enjoyed being part of workshops and events.

I would like to thank Professor Sir Graham Thornicroft for always making the meetings accessible for everyone. I also want to thank Josephine Ocloo, equity, diversity and inclusion lead and Savi Hensman, patient and public involvement coordinator, for always being transparent and welcoming.

It’s a pleasure to be a part of the Board and I look forward to learning and developing myself more.

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