20 Oct 2022

Lana Samuels (pictured below) is a long-term patient and public involvement member at ARC South London. She is a member of the ARC’s Executive, Board and Public Research Panel. She also works as a patient and public involvement contributor with the ARC’s applied informatics research theme.    

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

I have always found research interesting and have contributed to many projects over the years using my experience and community involvement to inform everything I do. Being involved in the study of facts to arrive at a conclusion with the aim of highlighting points to promote change, which is hopefully beneficial for the majority, is rewarding. I particularly value the careful thought, reflections and consideration given to a topic, and being truly involved, listened to and valued with mutual respect.

In 2018 I attended a patient and public involvement workshop on antimicrobial resistance and the champion for NIHR CLAHRC South London advertised the role for user engagement, which I accepted to represent the Strategic Oversight Group along with the various other themes. This ensured we all had the ability to inform, share and learn towards health and social improvement. Now at NIHR Applied Research Collaboration South London my passion and skills have enabled me to contribute to the applied informatics theme, which is ever-evolving using data capture, analysis and technological evaluation and monitoring, which strengthens the process of communication and service delivery.

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

As a member of the public being able to engage, inform and share from a lay perspective is an excellent opportunity. It is extremely beneficial to be kept up to date on community involvement, new projects and initiatives being rolled out to ensure information is more widely spread and knowledge shared to promote change. Barriers can be lowered to enable a greater understanding of health, wellbeing and social care locally.

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

Expanding my knowledge in order to share information and having insight into the background work and dynamics involved with achieving the end result.

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

My previous negative work experiences and subsequent health difficulties have sometimes been triggered by some topics, projects and discussions, so I really do appreciate receiving the agenda beforehand in order to prepare myself and not be caught off guard.

Q: Are there any insights or learning from your work with the ARC that have informed your work or everyday life, including your experience as member of the Public Research Panel?

The mutual respect and appreciation is a refreshing change and inspires hope. Our panel includes like-minded people from diverse communities in south London with protected characteristics. Together we want to contribute to improve health and social care by supporting researchers to achieve the very best they can for individuals

Lana Samuels, patient and public involvement member, ARC South London

I am enjoying my work and experiences within the ARC. The Public Reseach Panel thrive on trying to reduce health inequalities for local people and communities. We all came together in December 2020 and were known as the NIHR Covid-19 Research Panel, initially piloted for one year. But we have since moved on due to our successful contributions and feedback as the Public Research Panel. We provide researchers with ideas for implementation, removal, reconsideration and consideration going forward with research topics and projects, which are well-received by researchers and enable us to feel collaborative and valued.