IDM Members, staff and students continue to be active in research linked to social activities and responsibilities within our local communities. Two projects, both initially funded from primarily Wellcome Trust awards under their international community engagement with health programme, continue to bridge the gap between the research community and the public:
Eh!Woza continued in 2017, led by CIDRI/IDM-based Postdoctoral fellow Dr. Anastasia Koch, engaging with young people in Khayelitsha with biomedical research. The project also had a community engagement grant from the National Research Foundation (with Digby Warner as principal investigator, and collaborator Dr. Helen McDonald, NRF Social Markers of TB Centre, UCT Department of Anthropology).
The SATVI community engagement programme, led by Dr. Michele Tameris, Clinical Research Officer based at the SATVI Worcester clinical site, also continued. The programme engages Worcester-area residents through drama, visual art, and performance for improved critical awareness and understanding of TB, clinical research and the rights and responsibilities of trial participants.
A further Wellcome Trust International Social Engagement Award for a project entitled “WISHing for Wellness”, with PI Jo-Ann Passmore, continued in 2017. The project enrolled twenty young women (16-20 years old) at the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF) Youth Centre in Masiphumelele, Cape Town. Its aim was to identify factors driving social risk, informing new intervention strategies appropriate for this age group. The approach was an integrated arts approach that created a platform to allow adolescent women to (a) engage with biomedical research related to their sexual health and (b) improve our understanding of the socio-cultural norms associated with sexual and reproductive health behaviours in this age group of South African youth. The programme was integrated with the research and other programmes at the DTHF Masiphumelele site.