Putting the ‘public’ back in public health research

Greater transparency and clearer communication are needed when involving the public in health research, according to a paper in the latest issue of Public Health Research & Practice (PHRP). Researchers from the University of Sydney consulted patients and carers from health consumer networks and found that consumers wanted to be involved in health research and make valuable contributions, but researchers needed to be better at communicating the benefits and risks of involvement.

The June issue of PHRP also includes a range of papers that, according to Editor-in-Chief Don Nutbeam, “strengthen confidence in the feasibility of conducting quality research that embraces the priorities and preferences of communities”.

A research paper investigates the demand for linked data, which is starting to outweigh the capabilities of existing infrastructure, and recommends improved data access and sharing. And a perspective article by researchers from the University of Western Australia argues that engagement with stakeholders, policy makers and community groups needs to be improved for data linkage studies to reach their full potential.

Another research paper, looking into the conduct of Indigenous primary health care research, found that culturally sensitive approaches, developing relationships and involving community members appeared to enable research that delivered positive outcomes for Indigenous Australians.

PHRP is Australia’s first online-only open access peer-reviewed public health journal, published by the Sax Institute with a strong focus on the connection between research, policy and practice.

Researchers are welcome to submit manuscripts and encourage their colleagues to submit. You can also subscribe to receive quarterly e-alerts when the journal is published, make suggestions about themes or topics for future issues, and follow us on Twitter @phrpjournal