This is page is for you if you are interested in sharing your knowledge and expertise about periodontal health with the public and learning from the experience. You might be interested in one or all of the following;
- Understanding the patient’s view of periodontal diseases
- Exploring the public’s understanding and views on periodontal health
- Enhancing the public’s understanding of periodontal health
- Designing higher quality and more relevant research on periodontal health
- Influencing public policy on periodontal health
What is public engagement?
''Public engagement describes the myriad of ways in which the activity and benefits of periodontal health can be shared with the public. Engagement is by definition a two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit.''
(Modified from National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement www.publicengagement.ac.uk)
There is a diversity of approaches to PE but the key is that it is two-way and as a result all parties learn and influence each other. The result can achieve profound changes in views, knowledge and understanding. This can be far more effective than standard one-way methods alone such as giving presentations.
Who are the public?
This includes patients and people at risk of developing periodontal diseases but also a much broader group including those involved more widely in healthcare (e.g. physicians, nurses, pharmacists), healthcare funders and policy makers, industry and the media.
Types of public engagement activities
There are many types of activities and events and these might include;
More formal: interactive workshops, focus groups, online projects, working with the media, the public, patients as research collaborators/advisors (as opposed to participants of research)
Less formal: participating in science festivals, social media projects, comedy nights, events in medical practices and pharmacies
Public engagement is not defined by the type of project but by the shared learning and experience. There is therefore huge potential to be creative outside of traditional methods and settings that we might normally consider for education. The key is to identify who you want to engage with, the aim of the engagement (how you and the public might benefit) and how to evaluate whether you achieved your aims.
EFP project: The Sound of Periodontitis
The EFP have funded an innovative project for Europerio 8 in London. The aim was to produce a film telling the story of the patient’s experience of periodontitis. Since this condition is often labelled ‘silent’ the film gives patients a voice to describe the profound impact of the disease on their lives, the experiences of treatment and living with a chronic condition and the improvements to their lives from successful treatment. The film was first shown at Europerio 8. The project was a collaboration between the British Society of Periodontology and the British Society for Dental Hygiene and Therapy and led by UCL Eastman Dental Institute with support from the UCL Public Engagement Unit. Please view the film and complete the very brief survey at the end to tell us your thoughts.
Find the film here.
Resources for Public Engagement
- UCL Public Engagement Unit:
Webpages of guidance on public engagement, what it is, types of projects and evaluation of projects
- National coordinating centre for public engagement
Resources and guidance on public engagement with an emphasis on universities
- Involving the public in research
Needleman I. Involving the public in research. British Dental Journal 2014; 217:421-424. Introduction to public involvement in research and listings of available resources
Organisation deigned to improve dialogues between government and the public involving science. Useful resources and guides.
An international organisation dedicated to realising the potential of researchers.