Significant achievements in Bioethics and Engagement 2009-2014
Alongside the ongoing support for programme-wide engagement and bioethics activities, a strong platform for developing MORU’s engagement and research in these areas has been established.
- MORU (led by Phaik Yeong Cheah and Khin Maung Lwin) supports the Tak Province Community Ethics Advisory Board on the Thai-Burmese border. The board was set up in 2009 and has members who live in a range of different settings along the Thai-Burmese border. It provides communities with an opportunity to express views on proposed research and to influence and direct research aims and has developed to provide important advice for our studies and acting as a link between the community and our researchers.
- We have also identified a need for broader public engagement and awareness of the results and implications of our research activities. We discovered for example through national surveys we commissioned that there is almost no awareness of melioidosis in the Thai population, despite this disease being responsible for around 3,000 deaths annually in Thailand alone.
- MORU continues to promote melioidosis awareness via engagement with Thai public health officials, school campaigns, YouTube and a multilingual (Thai and English) website, http://www.melioidosis.info. In 2012, we organized a melioidosis short film contest to raise awareness of the diseases in Thailand.
- In 2012-13, we participated in the Wellcome Trust's Art-in-Global Health project. MORU hosted B-floor Theatre, a Bangkok based theatre group for six months, at the end of which a theatre piece, “Survival Games”, was staged at the Pridi Banomyong Institute in Bangkok for a run of 10 nights. Survival Games’ unpacked the challenges facing scientists at the Programme, from malaria research on the Thai-Myanmar border to the world’s highest rate of melioidosis, a bacterial infection picked up through the soil by rice farmers in Ubon Ratchathani. This work also contributed to the exhibition entitled “Foreign Bodies, Common Ground” at the Wellcome Collection in London (Nov 2013-Feb 2014).
- A number of our scientists have given talks and facilitated events at “Bangkok Café Scientifique” discussing the varied research topics which MORU focusses on. As a free to all, science café that meets every last Wednesday of the month in Bangkok this provides an opportunity for interested public from a range of walks of life to learn more about the work of MORU and wider public health topics.
Cameron Conway's Malaria Poems
- In 2013, we hosted a Poet-in-Residence, Cameron Conaway. Cameron’s completed book of poems on malaria research, “Malaria Poems” was published on 1 Nov 2014 and has been nominated for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.
- MORU has an active Twitter account (@MORUBKK) so that we can more effectively inform and engage scientific colleagues, public health officials, supporters, interested media and the public when we have significant findings to report.Understanding great research doesn’t have to be confusing.
- In this series of podcasts, our researchers explain what they get up to for a general audience.
- Our learning from our own research and collaborators in Bioethics and Engagement has been published in a number of quality research journals.