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Public engagement champions

The School's Public Engagement Champions are staff and students passionate about increasing discussions about health beyond the university space.

Here they share information about their public engagement experiences, and why this work is important to them.

Dr Alicia Renedo

Current role: Research Fellow in Social Science, Department of Social and Environmental Health Research

What work are you doing in this field?
I am undertaking a nine-year ethnographic project with Dr Cicely Marston to examine patient and public involvement and engagement in the UK National Health Service.

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Dr Alex MoldDr Alex Mold

Current role: Senior Lecturer in History, Centre for History in Public Health

Why is public engagement important to you?
Researchers have a responsibility to communicate their findings as widely as possible. As a historian, interested in the history of the public and their place in public health, it is vital to me to involve the public today in a dialogue about the past.

Describe the public engagement work you have done
My public engagement work has two strands. The first involves engaging policy makers in the recent history of public health issues such as illegal drug use, patients’ rights and the idea of the patient as consumer.  The second strand focuses more on engaging people in the history of public health through the media, and interactive discussion-based events.

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Conall WatsonConall Watson

Current role: Public health registrar and PhD researcher

Why is public engagement important to you?
Public engagement is a real two-way process. It’s a chance to communicate scientific and health issues to the public, but also to receive feedback, ideas and challenges from people outside the professional science and public health spheres.

Describe the public engagement work you have done
My day-to-day work is communicable disease control, particularly typhoid in the Pacific. But my public engagement work has been on zombies. With colleagues, I used zombie epidemiology as a basis for a live training exercise for London public health professionals. We simulated a real-time outbreak of a highly-pathogenic, readily-transmitted infection – the sort of emerging disease scenario we all dread.

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Professor Virginia BerridgeProfessor Virginia Berridge

Current role: Professor of History and Director of Centre for History in Public Health

Why is public engagement important to you?
It’s important for academics to be able to explain their work in ways accessible to the public and to policy makers.

Describe the public engagement work you have done
I have been interviewed on radio and TV, I have written for non-specialist publications, and I have spoken to policy teams. I hold a current Wellcome Trust award which includes funding for public engagement activity. This includes public health walks, film showings, workshops and the original pump priming for the School’s Open House activity.

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Agnes BeckerAgnes Becker

Current role: Communications Officer (and - when off duty - science card designer)

Describe public engagement in 3 words: exciting, enlightening, essential.

What public engagement work you have done?
Designing science cards for adults that inspire a new way of looking at nature; telling stories as a “book” visitors “read” at the School’s Living Library event in October 2013; exploding hydrogen balloons at London’s Science Museum as an Explainer; and developing silly science games like “Chemicaboom!” for Richard Hammond’s Blast Lab when working as a TV researcher.

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Rebecca TremainRebecca Tremain

Current role: PA to Director of ACT Consortium (malaria research Consortium funded by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

Describe the public engagement work you have done

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Dr Erin Lafferty

Current role: Research Fellow in Infectious Disease Modelling.

Why is public engagement important to you?
Because science, especially biomedical science, touches everyone's lives. When scientists engage effectively with the public, there is an increased appreciation, understanding and trust fostered which is vital for the future of scientific research. I also just love chatting about science and seeing when people not only understand but are engaged in a topic that is new to them!

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If you are a researcher or a student at the School and would like to become a Public Engagement Champion, please email us at publicengagement@lshtm.ac.uk

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