The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London – popularly known as the Neasden Temple – was recently invited by the University of Oxford’s Centre for Research Equity (CfRE) to be a strategic partner for advisory support.
The CfRE aims to improve and advance the understanding of inclusive research practice and community engagement in health and care research. As part of the Mandir’s extensive support to communities during the Covid-19 pandemic, BAPS leaders were determined to address the lack of people of South Asian ethnicities taking part in clinical trials. BAPS educational videos encouraged worshippers around the country to participate in Oxford University’s PRINCIPLE and PANORAMIC trials, which analysed the efficacy of various medications for active Covid-19 patients at home to try and reduce the number of cases progressing to hospital.
A CfRE launch event in May brought together representatives from an array of health and academic research organisations and community-based groups. BAPS contributed to an informative day of talks and presentations with a recorded video message from Yogvivekdas Swami, head swami of BAPS in UK & Europe, and with volunteers co-leading a panel discussion around supporting research through inclusion and diversity.
In his video message, Yogvivekdas Swami said: “This is a very worthy initiative, and we are keen to support it in whatever way we can and to foster a much stronger relationship between the Centre and BAPS to help ensure we can serve everyone within our community, irrespective of faith or ethnicity.”
He said: “We are hugely grateful to BAPS Neasden Temple for its support and amazing efforts in helping to raise the awareness of our large-scale national clinical trials for the treatment of Covid-19 to all its Hindu community and followers.
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“Working with similar faith groups and diverse communities can support the broader gathering of the evidence base through research that is reflective of our national diaspora and can help ensure treatment is effective for all in improving health outcomes. Neasden Temple will be an important partner of the Centre for Research Equity in supporting its growth and forward travel.”
PChris Butler, Professor of Primary Care at the University of Oxford, also reiterated the need for wider community engagement, as he hailed the contributions of the Mandir and BAPS during Covid.
Rena Amin FRPharmS, a leading pharmacist by profession and a senior BAPS volunteer in the UK, was a panellist at the event in Oxford.
Sharing her impressions, she said: “BAPS is committed to supporting communities throughout the UK. We are proud to be a pillar of trust not only within the Hindu community but also other marginalised communities across the UK and worldwide.
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“We were humbled by the invitation to join the Centre in an advisory capacity and are confident that this collaboration will ultimately improve health outcomes and reduce inequalities throughout the community.”
*Info: Neasden Temple