COVID & Me Public Engagement Initiative

Date: 20 July 2020

Prof Sue Pavitt ( NIHR CRN Nationall Specialty Lead for Oral and Dental Health Research) has been commissioned by William van't Hoff to lead a NIHR initiative aiming to highlight the importance of clinical trials particularly among underserved or seldom heard communities. 

COVID and Me is a public engagement initiative which uses theatre to raise awareness  of the importance that clinical trials play in the fight against Coronavirus. It is particularly relevant to parts of the community that typically don't take part in research and who are disproportionately affected with poorer outcomes if they contract COVID-19 – notably BAME, elderly, 50+ with co-morbidities & those from economically deprived areas. 

In collaboration with the Theatre of Debate, the NIHR led by Sue Pavitt have co- produced with people from these communities, a series of seven short films or monologues (in the style of Alan Bennett's ‘Talking Heads’).  Each film features a different character whose story has been informed by people from these communities sharing their experiences of being involved in clinical trials and the personal impact of COVID-19. The key message is a  'call to action' encouraging everyone  to help their beloved NHS and ‘Be Part of Research’.  Here is a short brief which provides a little bit of background and a summary of each monologue.   

The work has attracted the attention of the Department of Health and Social Care and other high profile organisations such as the Centre for BME Health.

If you would like further information about this initiative please contact Shamaila Anwar ( 

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  • Summary:
    COVID and Me is a public engagement initiative which uses theatre to raise awareness of the importance that clinical trials play in the fight against Coronavirus.