National CLAHRC child health meeting

NIHR CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humber, Healthy Children, Healthy Families theme took part in the National CLAHRC Child Health Research event, where researchers, clinicians, students and other colleagues from 11 CLAHRCs gathered in London to discuss challenges and opportunities in the field of Child and Adolescent Health Research.

Professor Stuart Logan, Director of PenCLAHRC, opened the day by highlighting the importance of child health in a changing research landscape. He celebrated the event as a great opportunity to share knowledge and expertise, meet new people, and plan future collaborations.

Each CLAHRC presented their research in the area of child health, noting key outcomes and impacts where applicable, and highlighting potential opportunities for collaborative working. A diverse range of research was presented which included projects on: allergies; gestational diabetes; transition; parenting; optimal nutrition, healthy behaviours and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

Parallel interactive sessions were then held to identify potential opportunities for cross-CLAHRCcollaborations, within special interest groups. These were facilitated by researchers in the field as follows:

First session

·  mental health: Emma Howarth (East of England) and Vashti Berry (PenCLAHRC)

·  unscheduled care: Mitch Blair (North West London) and Stuart Logan (PenCLAHRC)

·  healthy behaviours: Lauren Sherar (East Midlands) and Sally Barber (Yorkshire & Humber)

·  appropriate services for ethnic minority groups: Angela Harden (North Thames) and Esther Crawley (West).

Second session

·  childhood disability: Stuart Logan (PenCLAHRC) and Esther Crawley (West)

·  transitions: Matthew Peak (North West Coast) and Astrid Janssens (PenCLAHRC)

·  schools: led by Harry Rutter (North Thames) and Emma Howarth (East of England)

·  maternity: Carole Cummins (West Midlands) and Jane Sandall (South London).

Specifically, these group discussions explored: common themes; research barriers and possible solutions; and the areas where CLAHRC adds value. Possible opportunities for partnership working were identified and plans made where possible. Each group wanted to build on connections made and opportunities identified at the event; and agreed that meeting again in person, or maintaining communication by virtual networks within their special interest would be beneficial.  Overall agreement was also expressed for developing a shared resource area, as well as having future communications and events dedicated to CLAHRC child health research.