Sjögren’s Ireland win prize for the best poster from the patient point of view at the 16th International Symposium for Sjögren’s Disease in the Netherlands

We are delighted that our poster presented, at the 16th International Symposium for Sjögren’s Disease in the Netherlands, which showcased data from a researcher-patient co-designed study, was selected as the recipient of the inaugural Patient Award for ‘what we think is the most appealing poster from a patient’s point of view’

This is the first time the award was given at the conference and it recognises research where the patient perspective comes to for the fore. The award was judged and presented by an international panel of Sjögren’s patient advocates.
The Dutch Patient advocacy group reviewed 169 posters according to the following criteria:
– what is the effect on the patient’s life
– to what extent does the research meet the needs of patients
– to what extent is there patient participation

The decision by the judging panel was unanimous, what specifically stood out to them from our poster was that our study not only aimed to explore the experiences of those living with Sjögren’s, it was also co-designed by a group of people living with Sjögren’s.

Patient participation in optima forma!

Another element that appealed to the expert panel of judges was that our researcher-patient co-designed study focused on the mental health of people with Sjögren’s. That’s really an under-researched aspect of the disease. They were also pleased to learn from the poster that the study included well-thought-out questions that focused on unmet needs for people with Sjögren’s disease.

Furthermore they wholeheartedly agreed with the study’s conclusion that clinicians should be aware of the range of symptoms experienced by patients with Sjögren’s beyond those of sicca and fatigue.

This award is significant for our researcher-patient group, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and Sjogrens Ireland in terms of international peer recognition of excellence in public and patient involvement (PPI) in research.

Our novel approach to PPI was noted at the International Sjögren’s Network meeting, where Dr Joan Ni Gabhann-Dromgoole presented as the Irish representative. Our inclusive approach was of interest to the global network of Sjogren’s patient groups and consortia, especially to those who have limited resources.

It is also incredible that we, as relative newcomers to this space, instigating a PPI partnership in 2021, have made such an impact and are highlighting the benefits of including patients in research for both the public and healthcare professionals.

A big Thank You to all everyone in Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), our PPI collaborators and funders who have helped support Sjögren’s Ireland on their journey to improve healthcare through education, awareness and research.

O’Sullivan Eleanor, Dr Sabina Brennan, Selene Daly, Eoghan Mc Carthy Beaumont Hospital, Emily Greenan, James Barlow, Niamh Dillon , Michelle Flood, Abi Kelly, Frank Moriarty, Théa Pharma Ireland