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Race-related research is happening across different themes, groups and methodologies in the Department of Psychiatry.

One of the images created by a participant of the 'Your Beautiful Brain' arts workshop held by Dementias Platform UK
An image created by a participant in Dementias Platform UK's 'Your Beautiful Brain' arts workshop

As part of our People and Culture focus on racial equality this month we are highlighting a selection of some of the important race-related investigations undertaken by our academic staff.

The CHiMES Collaborative

CBE MD FRCPsych FRCP(E) FRSA PFHEA Kam Bhui - Professor of Psychiatry & Hon. Consultant PsychiatristThe ChiMES Collaborative, led by Professor Kam Bhui CBE, investigates the cultural, social and geopolitical influences on mental health; health inequalities, multi-morbidity and ethnicity; and health services and cultural competency, among others. The group uses a range of methodologies, including peer research and creative arts methods.  The group’s projects include Co-Pact, an NIHR-funded study using photovoice to improve the experiences of those detained under the Mental Health Act and reduce ethnic inequalities of Mental Health Act use. The pictures produced by participants as part of the study have been exhibited in London, Manchester and at the Department of Psychiatry in Oxford. You can view the exhibits here. Co-Pics, also funded by the NIHR, is an experience-based co-design study exploring the care of people in diverse ethnic groups living with psychosis and multimorbidity. Find out more about CHiMES projects.

Professor Bhui says race-related and health inequalities research is vital and ground-breaking but needs better resourcing to ensure it can make the biggest possible impact. He said:


We need to be sure that the work of race equality is prioritised by all, we must all show leadership. This is emotionally demanding work, often taking longer than estimated and often without any dedicated resource being identified to support efforts.

The greatest burdens are faced by those at the intersections of multiply disadvantaged identities. This work should not fall only on those who are minorities or racialised themselves or at these intersections, although their views are essential to surface. Many people at these intersects carry disproportionate burdens over their careers and life course already, and facing this is in itself disquieting.

We can all ensure inclusive research practice, as is being piloted in our NIHR Oxford Health BRC. Race-related research, and work on health inequalities is potentially ground-breaking if revealing failures of care experiences and structural barriers with wider impacts, but it must be better resourced and ensure good trusting relationships are the foundation to overcome the inevitable challenges.”

Dr Roisin Mooney, Project Manager, Postdoctoral researcher and Co-PI on the Co-Pact project, has written a blog on how to ensure researchers are reaching racialised groups. Read it here.

Investigating why UK Bangladeshi and Pakistanis are under-represented in research

A poster entitled: 'Communication with children about an adult's serious illness: Views of UK Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities'The research question: 'What do UK Bangladeshi and Pakistani families think about talking to children when someone in the family is very sick?'Data collectionOct 2022-Dec 2023The team and fundersimages of Kam Bhui, Nimra Khan, Louise Dalton and Elizabeth RapaParticipants73 people helped with this study (with graphical representation of a selection of people)Data AnalysisShows graphical representation of a woman making notes and a man on a computerSharing resultsAn image of Magdalen College, Oxford where the thank you and findings event was heldNext StepsWhat shall we do next? share your thoughts?Postdoctoral researcher Dr Nimra Khan, Associate Professors Elizabeth Rapa and Louise Dalton, working with Professor Kam Bhui, have been exploring the reasons why UK Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities are underrepresented in research as part of their work on talking to children about a family member’s serious illness. Between September 2022 and April 2023, a qualitative study was conducted in Oxford and Luton in the UK. The study involved 73 individuals from the Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities who participated in in-depth interviews and focus groups.

Dr Khan outlined the findings:

One theme we identified was that there was a lack of understanding of the concept of research, and lower levels of confidence that their views mattered. There were also structural factors, for example mistrust due to historical experiences of discrimination”.

A community-led approach and flexibility of the location and timing of research activities was found to improve engagement. With the increased recognition of including diverse communities in research, it is incumbent on researchers to develop tailored recruitment strategies, create awareness among communities about the importance of research by liaising with trusted messengers, and ensure that any materials shared with participants are user-friendly.

Finally, it is vital that researchers share the findings of research projects with all members of the community, as well as demonstrating how their views can lead to meaningful change.”

Participants and their friends and families were invited to a special event at Magdalen College, Oxford in January to thank them for their time and involvement and share the findings.


Briana Applewhite - DPhil StudentBriana Applewhite is a DPhil student in the Centre for Eudaimonia and Human Flourishing supervised by Professor Morten Kringelbach. Her research focuses on the uses of creative arts therapies, namely music and dance, as alternative therapeutic methods for children and adolescents with symptoms of trauma and PTSD. Her DPhil focuses specifically on Black racial minority groups and the uses of creative arts therapies as potentially viable and culturally competent solutions for individuals suffering from psychiatric disorders. She has been working with Brennan Delattre (see below) on a film and a narrative review of social dance and movement for mental health, due to be published very soon.

Read more from Briana about her research and her recent experience presenting at the Oxford Neuroscience Symposium


BA (Hons), MSc (Distinction) Brennan Delattre - DPhil CandidateDPhil student Brennan Delattre has just had a paper published on her research into the impact of cooperative movement instruction in the form of capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian collaborative movement art, with specifically anti-racist, social justice-oriented instruction on students’ empathy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which she conducted prior to her time at Oxford as part of a Fulbright Scholarship in 2019. She still investigates the potential utility of cooperative dance and movement-based interventions for individual and interpersonal well-being as part of the PERL research group. The recently published paper can be found in English here and in Brazilian Portuguese here.

Brennan and Briana have authored a paper on social dance and movement for mental health, published in the journal Mental Health Science.

Everyday discrimination and emotional wellbeing in the US LatinX population

As part of a collaboration with researchers at Yale University and the University of Connecticut, Dr Kevin Matlock investigated the association between frequency of everyday discrimination—relatively small, day-to-day occurrences like disrespectful speech, insults, and poorer service at restaurants—and emotional well-being in a US sample of Latinx adults with type 2 diabetes. Latinx is a gender-inclusive term for persons who identify as Hispanic or Latina/Latino. As the largest minoritised ethnic group in the US, Latinxs face a number of challenges, including a greater risk for discrimination, type 2 diabetes, and poor mental health.

BA, MA, PhD Kevin Matlock - Postdoctoral ResearcherFindings from the study revealed a complex relationship between discrimination and well-being. After adjusting for age, gender, income, and health-related factors, evidence supported a dual-mediation model whereby symptoms of depression and anxiety fully and jointly mediated the effect of discrimination on well-being. Results from this and other related studies may suggest that, at least for Latinx adults with type 2 diabetes, experiences with everyday discrimination erode emotional well-being in two distinct ways: through apprehension that arises from perceived threats to personal safety, and through despair that arises from a perceived lack of compassion and understanding displayed by others

Your Beautiful Brain with Afro-Caribbean communities

A painting and collage of flowers and a mountain created by a participant of Dementias Platform UK's art workshopsA painting and collage of flowers and a mountain created by a participant of Dementias Platform UK's art workshops

Since February 2023, Dementias Platform UK has held six 'Your Beautiful Brain' art workshops focused on promoting brain health in older age. People from African and Caribbean communities are currently underrepresented in dementia research and the purpose of the workshops were to teach brain health and dementia prevention with culturally appropriate art materials. Led by Associate Professor Sarah Bauermeister and funded by Alzheimer’s Research UK Inspire Fund, feedback from the workshops was positive and they proved an engaging way to provide information on brain health.

The Race and Psychiatry Journal Club has been set up by students Maya Ogonah and Anabelle Paulino. The club's mission is to advance racial health equity and investigate how racism and discrimination affect mental health outcomes, with regular meetings to discuss relevant research. Maya and Anabelle set the club up with the aim of providing a space for critical reflection on how race is considered in psychiatric research, as well as gain insight into the unique challenges faced by minoritised individuals in healthcare. This knowledge will enable us as a department to design more equitable psychiatric research. Find out more about the Race and Psychiatry Journal Club (internal only).


Please follow the link below to read the news on the NIHR BRC website.