An Advisory Group is a group of patient/public partners that meet regularly to help inform, provide insight, and different perspectives around important decisions in the research process (including research priorities, questions, outcome measures, design, findings, and dissemination). Beyond informing research decisions, Advisory Groups can help co-build specific tools and products as part of the research project and help to implement research decisions. The Advisory Group should reflect diverse voices and perspectives — think about who is affected differently by the health issue? Who has different access to healthcare services? What are the different stages of the health issue? How do we bring these different perspectives to the table?
An Advisory Group can be useful for:
- Maintaining an open dialogue about complex research decisions.
- Creating open channels of communication and connections with communities in order to ensure the research reflects the needs of those with lived experience.
- Building rapport and trust among patient/public partners on the Advisory Committee as well as with researchers.
Note: It is important that Advisory Groups have a very clear and specific purpose, and that the research team is held accountable when it comes to communicating with the Advisory Group on how their input and feedback has informed research decisions. Collaboratively building a Terms of Reference for an Advisory Group helps patient/public partners and researchers to better understand roles and responsibilities as well as expectations.