Celebrating our Centres - Leeds

This week we hear all about the Leeds BioResource Centre team’s post-pandemic volunteer recruitment as well an exciting filming project, which was part of our NIHR BioResource-wide campaign to increase the diversity of volunteers in research.

Pictured: Renal Research Nurse, Chioma Nzekwe

The NIHR BioResource Centre Leeds, led by Dr Sinisa Savic, sits within a wider NIHR infrastructure at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and recruits participants to a wide range of rare and common diseases, including Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Diseases (IMID).  The team is supported by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC) at Leeds and consists of a Project Support Manager heading the centre, two Clinical Trials Coordinators (one of whom leads on IMID and one of whom works across the BioResource and Vasculitis/Giant Cell Arteritis projects), and two Senior Clinical Trials Coordinators.

Leeds is the top recruiting site in the country for IMID and also recruits heavily to Rare Diseases, with approximately two-thirds of national recruitment to the AIV and GCA projects coming from Leeds.  Since the pandemic, recruitment has ramped up significantly, with a big increase from 2021 to 2022.  

Reflecting on this, Team Leader/Project Support Manager of the LTHT BioResource Centre, Maxine Berry, said:

"Over the past three years, we've encountered a multitude of formidable challenges.

"Throughout this period, our journey has been marked by a series of transformative changes, each presenting its own set of trials. In the face of these tests, the team has demonstrated unwavering commitment and resilience.

"Their relentless efforts have not only fuelled our progress but also highlighted their remarkable ability to adapt and persevere in the most demanding of circumstances."
Volunteer recruitment via NIHR BioResource Centre Leeds 2021-2022

Bar chart shows:

NIHR BioResource cohort Volunteers recruited in 2021 Volunteers recruited in 2022
Rare Diseases 149 212
General Population 126 138
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) 31 76
Immune-Mediated Inflammatory Diseases (IMID) 327 553

Leeds BioResource Centre IMID Clinical Trials Coordinator, George Twigg, said:

"It’s been great to get back into clinics, being in the middle of a busy research environment that has enabled us to see more participants.

"We had to work very hard when clinics weren’t taking place face to face, and put together a comprehensive mailout scheme. 

"We still approach potential participants through the post as well, but for us there’s no substitute for being there on the ground."

Campaign to enhance diversity in research

The Leeds team got involved filming professional video content as part of our ongoing campaign with Egality Health and eight community organisation partners.

You can find out more about our partnership with Egality Health, a community engagement agency who are focused on improving inclusion in research, and the ongoing campaign which aims to address health inequalities faced by diverse ethnic communities by engaging and onboarding a new wave of volunteers.

“Maxine Berry expressed anticipation for providing an inclusive BioResource through community involvement efforts, ensuring comprehensive representation within the LTHT BioResource”.

Pictured: Dr. Daga and Fresh RB film production crew

FreshRB, who are a Manchester-based video production company, travelled down to the Leeds Clinical Research Facility on 22nd June and shot three one-minute-long videos of both researchers and volunteers talking about why diversity in research is important, with the aim of emphasising the significance of this national initiative.

photo of: Renal Research Nurse, Chioma Nzekwe
Pictured: Renal Research Nurse, Chioma Nzekwe

Renal Research Nurse, Chioma Nzekwe, praised the initiative, describing it as: "A means to engage with ethnic minorities and facilitate their access to research."

photo of: Immunology Clerical Officer, Kentavia Saunders
Pictured: Immunology Clerical Officer, Kentavia Saunders

Immunology Clerical Officer, Kentavia Saunders, believes the campaign will "raise awareness about the importance of health research."

photo of: Renal Consultant, Dr. Sunil Daga
Renal Consultant, Dr. Sunil Daga

Speaking about his involvement in filming, Renal Consultant, Dr. Sunil Daga, hopes "to contribute to the community both personally and professionally.”

photo of: Patient Public Involvement And Engagement Advocate Rozi Raja
Patient Public Involvement And Engagement Advocate Rozi Raja

Patient Public Involvement and Engagement advocate Rosie shares in the film her personal experiences highlighting the impact of research on her life. She emphasises the importance of participation in research from Black and Asian communities.

Thank you to the Leeds Clinical Research Facility for the filming space.

Get in touch with the team

If you wish to get in touch with the Leeds team, please email leedsth-tr.nihrbioresource@nhs.net or call 0113 206 0476.

You can keep up to date with them on Twitter.

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