Getting underneath the skin: A community engagement event for optimal vitamin D status in an ‘easily overlooked’ group
Lee C., Tanna N., Blair M., Yusuf Y., Khalief H., Lakhanpaul M.
© 2019 The Authors Health Expectations published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd Background: Patient and public involvement and engagement (PPIE) is recognized as important for improved quality in health service provision and research. Vitamin D is one area where PPIE has potential to benefit public health initiatives, particularly for women and children with increased skin pigmentation (ie at high risk of deficiency) who are easily overlooked. Objective: We report findings from a community PPIE event that explored the knowledge, barriers and promoters for optimal vitamin D status amongst an exemplar high-risk and easily overlooked population group. Methods: Two researchers and one PPIE lead facilitated a single group discussion with twenty members of the Somali community from across west London. All attendees were women of reproductive age, or knew a mother and child that could benefit from a targeted initiative. The discussion was recorded, transcribed verbatim, organized and coded using NVivo 12 Pro to identify emergent themes underpinned by the Health Behaviour Model. Results: Attendees thought community safety and competing demands of technology and education impacted on sun exposure and lifestyle activity. Language barriers impacted on access to health care. Attendees also felt the mother figure was ‘the most important’ influencer of both child and wider community health. Discussion: Although further discourse is needed, this event emphasizes that it is important that the public voice is heard in informing, designing and evaluating appropriate public health interventions amongst specific ethnic groups. Insights from this Somali population have suggested benefit from using verbal health messages that are specifically targeted at mothers, compared with the general population.