People from both sides of the border will benefit from new health and social care research trials thanks to a new Cross-Border Healthcare Intervention Trials in Ireland Network (CHITIN).
CHITIN aims to improve the health and wellbeing of people living in Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland (Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo, Cavan, Monaghan, and Louth) through cross border research collaborations.
The research will look at key health challenges such as youth mental health, obesity, asthma and stroke. A brief summary of each project is outlined below.
CHITIN has received €8.8m in funding from the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).
Match-funding for the project has also been provided by the Department of Health in Northern Ireland and Ireland.
Welcoming the launch of the CHITIN project, Dr Janice Bailie, Assistant Director, Research and Development, Public Health Agency and lead partner on the project said:
“Funding of €8.8m for the CHITIN project is great news for health research. Not only is CHITIN going to help benefit the health and wellbeing of people and help prevent illness, it means that those people who may not have been able to access health research previously have the opportunity to do so in Northern Ireland and the border region of Ireland.”
Janice added: “In addition to this, a network of health and social care research professionals will be created and this will help shape research in the future whilst working towards a shared goal so people can enjoy the benefits health research can bring them in the future.”
According to Darrin Morrissey, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board, “Health research and trials can transform people’s lives. They help prevent illness, improve patient care and advance health policy. I believe the learning and health benefits that we get from this initiative will extend throughout the island of Ireland”.
Aidan Kearney participated in a health research intervention trial with positive outcomes. Aidan’s life changed for the better: “I am fitter, stronger, and healthier than ever before in my life thanks to being involved in a health research trial. I used to worry about the future – not now. I now have hope which I never had before”.
Joan Jordan who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2010 also participated in a health research trial. Joan is involved in trial recruitment and retention and would encourage everyone to take part in health research. She said: “There is no cure for MS and it was very important for me to take part in clinical trials because I don’t want this to happen to anyone else. It is important people participate in trials. Every trial that happens means we learn more that’s the hope in future there will be better treatments and prevention.”
Welcoming the project Gina McIntyre, CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body said: “The EU’s INTERREG VA Programme seeks to ensure equity of access to healthcare services for all citizens regardless of where they live. This project seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of people living on both sides of the border, through a unique partnership of healthcare providers with a wealth of experience in the research and delivery of highly effective public health campaigns.
“By working in collaboration they will be laying the foundations for new treatments and preventative measures that can improve the quality of life of thousands of citizens,” she continued.
For further information on CHITIN please visit www.research.hscni.net/chitin or @CHITINProject
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