The Great North Children’s Hospital welcomed Joanne Ball as the full time Coordinator for the Young Persons Advisory Group North East (YPAGNE) in 2018.
Funded by the Great North Children’s Hospital Foundation, part of Newcastle Hospitals Charity, YPAGNE gives young people a voice in health care and research, allowing them to hear about and influence ground-breaking clinical research and to meet like-minded people.
Previously working as a Clinical Trials Associate, Joanne was thrilled to take up the coordinator position leading one of 15 groups across the UK who meet monthly to support the design and delivery of paediatric research in the UK, whilst offering members access to professionals in a wide range of health research careers who can share their knowledge.
“I’m passionate about empowering young people to influence the development of clinical and public health research here in the North East. We encourage young people from all backgrounds to explore their healthcare interests whilst developing the skills and confidence to lead their own projects in paediatric research and quality Improvement.”
Since taking post Joanne has helped the group to co-produce a number of research projects including a collaboration project between YPAGNE & KidzMed. KidzMed which is led by Dr Emma Lim, was created to help teach children how to swallow tablets and reduce the amount of medicine that is distributed to patients in place for tablets.
“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our members have continued to impress us by progressing their projects online, including co-producing e-learning modules for Kidzmedz, starting another project exploring the perceptions young people have of Bio banks and developing ‘Chatting with the NHS’ an opportunity for any young people to meet with NHS professionals from a range of backgrounds to discuss their interests, ask questions and pick their brains.
The group is also involved in the Zone West project, which is an 18-month pilot which aims to support vulnerable children to flourish at the centre of integrated care. The project aims to build on existing knowledge, skills, resources and communities to create packages of care with link workers at the centre, helping to change the lives of children living in the West End of Newcastle.
The project is using the experience of YAPGNE to engage with children and young people within the West End and be involved in all aspects of the project including delivery, engagement and reviewing the data and shaping the findings.
Jo said: “I absolutely love my job and I’m so grateful for the Newcastle Hospitals charity’s continued support, without donations to the Great North Children’s Hospital Foundation this group simply wouldn’t exist, and we couldn’t support the fantastic work of our members.
“We know that if we engage with young people, we not only inspire the next generation of healthcare professionals, but we can implement their ideas to provide better care and experiences for our young people at the Great North Children’s Hospital by developing the way we do things together”.
If you are interested in funding out more about the group please email [email protected].