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  • University of Bolton student champions praised for their support

    The man leading the world’s biggest clinical trials into the treatment of Covid-19 run by Oxford University visited Student Champions from the University of Bolton to thank them for their vital support. Professor Chris Butler addressed students who have been helping to recruit volunteers for two trials through community outreach work. The latest of the two, the Panoramic Trial, run by the University of Oxford, was launched in December 2021 and has already reached the 26,000 volunteer milestone, making it the fastest recruiting clinical trial ever in the UK. Professor Butler, who is a Professor of Primary Care at the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, was joined by Professor Mahendra Patel, who is working as a national lead on the two trials, Panoramic and the initial one, Principle. Professor Butler spoke at a special event on Monday 16 May, attended by the Mayor of Bolton Cllr Linda Thomas and Bolton’s Director of Public Health, Dr Helen Lowey. He said: “The evidence you have helped to collect is a playing a part all over the world. You are the unsung heroes “The search for early treatments in the community is not over and that’s where you guys come in and that’s where you have been so helpful in not only encouraging people to get involved in this research but making sure that the sample of the trial us representative and the results are meaningful.” He added: “If you want to go fast you just go alone, if you want to go far, we go together and this is what this collaboration is – we are going together.” The University of Bolton has been working closely with and supporting Oxford University’s UK-wide innovative Principle Trial to help raise awareness of the development of treatments in the fight against Covid-19 in the community since early 2021. The team of student champions were trained by Professor Patel through virtual meetings and assembled to help enlist volunteers from the Bolton community and the wider Greater Manchester area to take part in the studies. The students, wearing branded promotional hoodies, spread the message using flyers and video content in 10 languages amongst the local communities with information on how to enrol and to take part. They have reached out to locations on campus, local shopping malls, sports venues, vaccination centres and the Trafford Centre in Manchester. The Panoramic Trial aims to find new anti-viral treatments for people with Covid-19. Professor Patel said: “The students have been involved in two three-month initiatives for the two trials, this is on top of all the work they have to keep up with at university. “Their dedication and commitment is a huge testament to the success of this outreach work which is now a model for others to emulate in supporting wider research and helping to reduce health inequalities.” Zubair Hanslot, Provost of the University of Bolton, said: “We are delighted to support the team at the University of Oxford and we are very proud of our student champions.” Two of the student champions, Seema Pathan and Urja Gandhi, also gave a short presentation to Professor Butler. Urja explained how the Student Champions had gone out into the community, at shops and businesses and targeted a diverse section of the community. She said: “Students have grown in confidence being involved in this.” Dr Lowey told the students: “I want to say a big thank you to you all; you can’t underestimate how big an impact you’ve had and also how many lives you’ve saved.” For further information about the trials and the collaboration between the Universities of Bolton and Oxford, please visit https://we.tl/t-qU0uW27dxd.

  • Bolton students praised for Covid-19 support

    Student Champions from the University of Bolton who have helped to recruit volunteers through community outreach work for the world’s largest trials to treat Covid-19 have been congratulated for their hard work. The celebration was held to mark the Panoramic Trial, run by the University of Oxford, reaching the 10,000 volunteer milestone in under 12 weeks. Professor Mahendra Patel, who is working as a national lead on two trials, Principle and Panoramic, with the University of Oxford and its Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, visited the University to congratulate the student champions on their excellent efforts. He told them at a specially-arranged ceremony to mark the 10,000 volunteer achievement: “We at the Trials Unit at the University of Oxford want to thank you for your incredible support with Panoramic and Principle, and we are all hugely proud of you and your efforts. “You have helped to create a community and public health initiative that is a precedence in many ways in terms of reaching out to under-served and ethnically diverse communities.” The University of Bolton has been closely working with and supporting Oxford University’s UK-wide innovative Principle Trial to help raise awareness of the development of treatments in the fight against Covid-19 in the community since early 2021. The team of student advocates were trained by Professor Patel through virtual meetings and assembled to help enlist volunteers from the Bolton community and the wider Greater Manchester area to take part in the studies. The students, wearing branded promotional hoodies, have spread the message using flyers and video content in 12 languages amongst the local communities with information on how to enrol and to take part. They have reached out to locations on campus, local shopping malls, sports venues, vaccination centres and the Trafford Centre in Manchester. The University has extended its support to the recently introduced Panoramic Trial, the latest Government priority trial run by the University of Oxford, which aims to find new anti-viral treatments for people with Covid-19. Professor Patel said: “The Panoramic Trial is the fastest and largest recruiting clinical trial in primary care in the world. “This means that you, as University of Bolton outreach champions, have all played an important and significant role in two of the world’s largest clinical trials by going out and raising awareness in the community in the search for the early and effective treatment for Covid-19 symptoms for those more likely to become seriously ill if affected by the virus. “Bolton may be setting a trend I feel for other universities to perhaps explore and develop as a model through their own communities in supporting public health. “The University of Bolton has shown tremendous commitment and dedication. I and the trial team at Oxford are all extremely grateful to everyone involved, not least our students.” Zubair Hanslot, Provost of the University of Bolton, said: “We are delighted to continue to support Professor Patel and the team at the University of Oxford – it is extremely important that we find a solution to this virus through treatment as quickly as possible. “We are very proud that our student advocates are from diverse backgrounds and speak many languages between them. “The work reflects how the University is well placed to reach out to the wonderfully diverse ethnic demographic of both the University of Bolton and the town of Bolton. This has undoubtedly resulted in community outreach to underserved communities in Bolton, which have been particularly affected by the pandemic. “We are all very proud of our student champions.” One of the champions, Ankita Shinde, a Master’s student at Bolton, said: “I have really enjoyed spreading awareness about the trials and asking people to tell others even if they don’t get involved themselves.” Further information about the Principle Trial and the collaboration between the Universities of Bolton and Oxford, please visit:www.bolton.ac.uk/covid-trial The Panoramic Trial is different to the Principle Trial, in that it requires patients who have tested positive in the past five days. Subjects also need to be over 50 or be over 18 with underlying health conditions. Both primary care trials aim to find treatments for COVID-19 for people at most risk of serious illness. Investigators are looking for medicines that can help people with symptoms of the virus to recover at home, get better quickly and prevent them from needing to go to the hospital. The partnership has also been backed by the Department of Public Health locally. For more information about the Panoramic Trial, or to register, visit: https://bit.ly/3Hi6lPY or call 08081 56001

  • University of Bolton Professor of Medicine awarded CBE

    A Professor of Medicine at the University of Bolton has been awarded a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List. Professor Iqbal Singh received the honour for his outstanding work in supporting health for the elderly. Professor Singh has been a contributor to healthcare and medical regulation in the UK and a long-standing professor for the University of Bolton. Professor Singh is also a Consultant in Medicine for Older People at the East Lancashire Healthcare Trust. Professor Singh contributes to healthcare and medical regulation in the UK and is a pioneer in ethnic health and diversity. He is a global leader in the care of older people and patient safety, equality and inclusion. President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bolton, Professor George E Holmes DL, said: “Many congratulations to Professor Singh, I am delighted that another esteemed colleague of the University has received an honour from the Queen this year. “Through his tireless work, Professor Singh is transforming how health and social care professionals are educated and regulated in care for patients nationally and internationally and how we embed a culture of compassion safety and dignity within our organisations. “This honour is richly deserved and bodes well for the progress being made in the University’s School of Medicine.” Professor Singh is the founder Chair of the Centre for Excellence and Safety for Older People and Chair of the European Group on Safety for Older People. He has made historic contributions over the last three decades in promoting equality and fairness in the working lives of BME doctors in the NHS. He chaired the General Medical Council’s Equality and Diversity Committee. He founded and chaired Diversity Partners, and currently chairs the GMC BME Forum which is a formidable voice and influence on equality issues. Professor Singh also serves on the Health Honours Committee and Cabinet Office Honours Diversity and Inclusion Committee, helping to improve wider recognition. Professor Singh, who lives in Blackburn, said: “I view this as a great honour and not just individual recognition but the recognition of our work in the care of older people and in promoting equality fairness and compassion within the NHS and I am proud to be working with the University of Bolton in the School of Medicine."

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