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Supporting researchers to change policy and practice

Disseminating research evidence to influence healthcare and behaviour

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We’re delighted to announce the latest awardees of our Changing Policy and Practice Awards, who are undertaking research in equitable palliative care, acute brain injury and anaemia.

Our Changing Policy and Practice Awards are designed to maximise the broader impact of Medical Research Council (MRC) and Medical Research Foundation-funded research.

They do this by providing the support needed to disseminate scientific findings beyond the scientific peer reviewed press, with the aim of influencing healthcare and behaviour.

We provide researchers with up to £30,000 to communicate a key message to a specific target audience intended to benefit from the research, including patients, healthcare practitioners and policy-makers, or specific groups within the general public.

We’re delighted to announce our latest cohort of awardees, including Dr Sabrina Bajwah from King’s College London, Professor Rizwana Chaudhri from Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University, and Professor Sarah Walker from University College London.

Dr Sabrina Bajwah Dr Sabrina Bajwah

Improving the delivery of equitable palliative care for ethnically diverse groups

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Sabrina Bajwah and her team from King’s College London found that some COVID-19 policies, developed to do good, did not do so for some people from ethnically diverse communities who were at the end of life.

The research found that services believed they were treating ethnically diverse patients fairly by providing equal care, but there were inequities in outcomes, including distress of patients and families at the end of life. This suggested a perception gap with an urgent need to improve equitable palliative care delivery.

Using this Changing Policy and Practice award, Dr Bajwah will work with ethnically diverse communities so health professionals can learn how to better care for these patients and their families. Specifically, she will co-develop a short film that includes real-life stories from patients and their families that increases health professionals’ knowledge and confidence when caring for those who have different backgrounds to them.

You can watch the new educational film here:

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Professor Rizwana Chaudri Professor Rizwana Chaudhri

An hour to save a life: Tranexamic acid for acute brain injury

Tranexamic acid (TXA) is an inexpensive generic drug that reduces bleeding by stabilising blood clots. The CRASH-3 trial, conducted by Professor Rizwana Chaudhri from Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University, showed that TXA reduces head injury deaths by as much as 20% depending on the severity of the head injury.

In the UK, TXA was recently included in guidelines for pre-hospital trauma care. However, this is not yet the case in many low- and middle-income countries where systems for pre-hospital trauma care are less well established.

With this Changing Policy and Practice award, researchers will share the CRASH-3 trial results and the UK pre-hospital guidelines with policymakers involved in pre-hospital trauma care in Pakistan. In collaboration, they will develop training resources and produce and distribute a short film that describes the main obstacles to implementation and how they can be overcome.

Ann Sarah Walker and Elizabeth George Professor Sarah Walker and Dr Elizabeth George

Informing transfusion policy and practice for children with severe anaemia in sub-Saharan Africa

Severe anaemia is a common and life-threatening condition for children in sub-Saharan Africa. Around one in ten children hospitalised with severe anaemia will die while in hospital, and one in eight die within six months of being discharged.

Blood transfusions are an important treatment for severe anaemia. However, until the TRACT trial, there was little scientific evidence to guide doctors on how much blood to give children, or which children require it.

Using this Changing Policy and Practice award, Professor Sarah Walker and Dr Elizabeth George from University College London will disseminate the recommendations from the TRACT trial – including sharing a clinical management algorithm and training materials; raising awareness of the need for point-of-care haemoglobin tests; and communicating the findings to services, paediatricians and guideline developers. Ultimately, this could help to reduce child deaths from severe anaemia and preserve scarce blood supplies for those that really need it.

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If you are Foundation or MRC-funded researcher interested in applying for our Changing Policy and Practice Award, click here to find out more.

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