Co-ResponsaHIVlity project: implementing participatory research priorities
In the last inspiring story signed by the Living Lab for Health at IrsiCaixa we presented the development of a participatory research agenda on HIV/AIDS and other Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) prevention with the contribution of different stakeholders. If you could not read it… check it out!
But, how were the results of the research agenda used? How did the project continue after identifying the top 10 priorities for research on HIV/AIDS and other STIs prevention?
After the priority setting, we implemented Science Shop projects focused on some of the identified priorities during the academic course 2017-18. A total of four participatory research projects were implemented with an open and inclusive approach. The projects were conducted by Master students, mentored by professionals and researchers, and were designed and implemented in collaboration with different stakeholders. They were carried out with the support of the EC projects InSPIRES and Xplore Health.
Which were the steps conducted to develop the Science Shop projects? We invite you to get inspired by the process we carried out:
Recruitment of master students to meet the research priorities
The Living Lab for Health at IrsiCaixa contacted different universities to present them of the importance and value of engaging in Science Shop research projects. Eventually, the universities disseminated master theses project proposals on the priority topics to recruit higher education students.
Students from different masters and backgrounds were engaged: Master degree in Clinical Research and International Health (UB-ISGlobal), Master degree in Global Health (ISGlobal), Master degree in Science Teacher Training (UPF-UOC) and Master degree in Specialized Communication (UB).
The Master students were invited to join the Co-ResponsaHIVlity project during the priority setting process to obtain the top 10 priorities for research on HIV/AIDS and other STIs prevention, from which they were invited to choose their research topic.
The Living Lab for Health facilitated counselling on RRI and participatory methodologies to the Master students to make sure the projects were open and inclusive.
Engagement of communities and stakeholders involved in the topic
In parallel, the Living Lab initiated contact with communities affected and interested in taking part in the projects.
Particularly, the secondary school community showed great interest in participating and incorporating science shop methodologies, and agreed to take part in three of the projects. A total of 450 students and teachers from 13 educational centers were engaged.
Each master student was assessed by an expert from the Living Lab, representatives of different civil society organizations and a researcher thesis mentor, who were specialized researchers from different sectors:
- From the Center for Epidemiological Studies on STIs and AIDS in Catalonia (CEEICSAT)
- From the Research Education on Health Sciences (UPF)
- From the Barcelona Public Health Agency (ASPB)
Finally, the four arranged projects were the following:
- Exploring the perspectives of secondary students in Catalonia regarding HIV diagnostic tests. More information here.
- Community-based participatory research project on HIV-related stigma in collaboration with secondary school students. More information here.
- Affective and sexual education in secondary education: development of an integrative proposal in the school curricula prepared in collaboration with secondary students. More information here.
- Design of a campaign to promote the HIV test in a social sex network based on the analysis of user needs. More information here.
Design and implementation of the projects with a Community Based Participatory Research approach
The four projects were designed with co-creation processes and constant feedback between the stakeholders involved. The projects took a Community Based Participatory Research approach and pursued the increase of knowledge, a boost in learning and the promotion of action to achieve social change.
For example, one of the research projects aimed to examine the HIV-related stigma among youth and its influence on prevention and diagnostic. To do so, the participants learned, developed knowledge and, based on it, developed proposals for action to achieve social change. During the research process participants concluded —through different participatory reflection activities— that the existence of HIV-related stigma might be a problem among youth, which could potentially hinder prevention and diagnostic. Through learning and self-reflection, participants identified needs that youth have (mainly related to increasing HIV knowledge), normalizing the disease, reducing stigma, and became active agents to change the situation by developing public campaigns and informative activities for other youngsters.
Dissemination of the results
Finally, the projects were presented in a closing congress. Round table discussions were conducted by students, teachers, master students and supervisors, explaining the different phases of the research projects, the knowledge acquired and the actions taken. Parallel workshops were also facilitated to discuss the competences acquired, the results obtained, the change achieved and recommendations for future approaches for action.
Among the assistants and participants there were members of HIV epidemiology research projects, members of CSOs, and members of the Education and Health Departments of the Government of Catalonia.
Final Congress (CosmoCaixa, 6 th June 2018)
Dissemination of the projects in a Spanish newspaper (17th June 2018)