At Inserm, patient associations are research partners in their own right. To promote dialog and facilitate interaction between associations and researchers, Inserm has created a number of initiatives and tools.
Making patient associations research partners in their own right is a priority for Inserm, which is set out in its contract of objectives. To help achieve this, Inserm has set up two bodies: Think tank network with patient organizations (GRAM), which is attached to the Directorate General, and the Associations, Research & Society Interface (MARS), which is an operational structure providing a point of contact for researchers, Inserm and associations.
Developing the dialog between patient associations and researchers
MARS, which is attached to Inserm’s Scientific Information and Communication Department, proposes, implements and coordinates action programs between Inserm and patient associations, to bring them closer and encourage interaction. This particularly includes:
- Training for association members so that scientists and associations can dialog in a common language, using common concepts.
- National meet-ups in Inserm laboratories for a greater understanding of research and direct interaction with those working in it.
- Themed meetings-debates, to discuss scientific progress with experts on subjects such as rheumatism, psychiatry, alcohol or research.
- Major national meet-ups between associations, researchers and political players, to promote links with society.
- Working groups, to develop active and lasting interaction between researchers and patient associations (Inserm Alcohol Working Group, College of Reviewers).
- The ScienSAs’ network of retired scientists keen to share their expertise with the patient associations.