In a new article in BMC Health Services Research, authors explore the problematic nature of how patient engagement in health research is currently conceptualized, and suggest ways to move towards a more inclusive public involvement in health research paradigm. They argue that though patient engagement conceptually begins to disrupt the identity of "researcher" and complicate our understandings around expertise and knowledge, it continues to essentialize the identity of "patient" as a homogenous group, denying the reality that individuals' economic, political, cultural, subjective and experiential lives intersect in intricate and multifarious ways. The authors contend that patient engagement approaches that do not consider the simultaneous interactions between different social categories (e.g. race, ethnicity, Indigeneity, socioeconomic status, gender identity, gender expression, sexuality, geography, age, ability, immigration status, religion) that make up social identity, as well as the impact of systems and processes of oppression and domination (e.g. racism, colonialism, classism, sexism, ableism, homophobia) exclude the involvement of individuals who often carry the greatest burden of illness - the very voices traditionally less heard in health research. The article makes a case that in order to be a more inclusive and meaningful approach that does not simply reiterate existing health inequities, it is important to reconceptualize patient engagement through a health equity and social justice lens by incorporating a trauma-informed intersectional analysis. The article provides key concepts to the incorporation of a trauma-informed intersectional analysis and important questions to consider when developing a patient engagement strategy in health research training, practice and evaluation. In redefining the identity of both "patient" and "researcher," spaces and opportunities to resist and renegotiate power within the intersubjective relations can be recognized and addressed, in turn helping to build trust, transparency and resiliency - integral to the advancement of the science of patient engagement in health research.
Read our blog post here: Five Reasons Why We Need a Trauma-Informed Intersectional Analysis in Patient and Public Engagement