Being a Rapid Eczema Trials Community Champion

In Rapid Eczema Trials, Community Champions are people with experience of eczema, insight, local knowledge and networks who have been prepared to gather and share information in specific communities or localities. With their unique knowledge, Community Champions can act as a bridge between academic research and practical community-based solutions by giving people in their locality an opportunity to engage in and with research.

The first project for our Community Champions was to do research interviews (community conversations) with people living with eczema in their local area. One Community Champion takes up the story from here…

In September 2023 I went to the RAPID Community Champions preparation day. I wondered what I had let myself in for. Drawing of a Boy riding a dragon

I met Fiona when my granddaughter took part in the Dragon In My Skin activities.

I was pleased that researchers are trying to do something to improve the lives of people living with eczema and so agreed to become a Community Champion. Walking through the door of the Centre in Birmingham I was apprehensive but need not have worried. We were a small and friendly group and quickly got to know each other. In the session we learnt about:

  • What Rapid Eczema Trials is all about and why it is different to other eczema research
  • What knowledge mobilisation is and why it is important
  • How to have a community conversation and what to do if something goes wrong or you are worried

We practiced community conversations, this was easier than I expected. We were given a conversation guide and reminded that we should listen more than talk! We finished with Fiona and her team answering any questions and making sure we had their contact details.

After the session I was confident to go out and have conversations with friends and colleagues who may not have volunteered to take part in research with people they did not know. I really enjoyed speaking with people and am pleased my interviews may help with eczema care. I’m looking forward to the next bit of work. Being a Community Champion is Champion!

Group photo

Written by Fiona Cowdell (Knowledge Mobilisation Lead for RAPID, second left in the photo) and Pauline Godden (RAPID Community Champion, second right in the photo)

Originally published at