Roaming portrait exhibition celebrates staff and patients in healthcare research

Imperial College Academic Health Science (AHSC) has launched a roving photography-led exhibition of patients and researchers involved in healthcare research.

More than 60 researchers, patients and staff from Imperial College AHSC partners gathered at Imperial’s South Kensington Campus on Monday to celebrate the launch of the ‘Humans of Health Research’ exhibition. 

Imperial College AHSC is a strategic university-NHS partnership that aims to accelerate the translation of scientific breakthroughs into new ways to improve patient care and maintain the health of the public. Its members are Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Imperial College London, The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, The Institute of Cancer Research, London and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.  

Inspiring stories

The Humans of Health Research series features photography and interviews with researchers who talk about why they carry out research, what they’ve learned, and advice for future researchers. Many juggle research and clinical work and those featured include midwives, physiotherapists, pharmacists, nurses and healthcare scientists. Patients also talk about the reasons why they got involved in research and how taking part has affected their health and their life.    

The project showcases the value and impact of health research. One of the aims of the project is to inspire others to champion and get involved with research that seeks to improve healthcare for all. These stories have been shared online since 2022 and now the AHSC is putting on a roaming physical exhibition, first at Imperial College London and then across partners’ sites.  
At the event, guests had the opportunity to view more than 60 photographs of NHS staff from across the AHSC’s partnership working in a range of medical specialities and roles, alongside their patients who have benefited from the research work. Each portrait features a QR code and when scanned leads to the full profiles published online alongside additional photography.

One of the images features Dr Yen Foung Tai, who is a consultant neurologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and an honorary clinical lecturer in the Department of Brain Sciences, with Natalia Walder.

Natalia is living with Parkinson’s and supports Dr Yen Foung Tai’s research on finding new treatments for the disease. She said: “Anything I could do to help research in this area which eventually leads to a cure is really important to me because Parkinson’s is a terrible disease.”

Natalia Walder with Dr Yen Foung Tai

Natalia Walder with Dr Yen Foung Tai

Next steps

Professor Jonathan Weber, director of Imperial College Academic Health Science Centre and dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London, hosted the event. He said: “Research plays a key role in the work of Imperial College AHSC. Working with our partners who have a strong record of excellence in medical research, clinical care and education, we have been able to make advancements in research which results in better health outcomes for our patients and populations in the UK and beyond.

“Collaboration is vital in research. Our staff’s research projects in partnership with patients and healthy volunteers have helped change the way we prevent, detect and treat diseases. It shows the impact of partnership working and coming together on a shared mission to improve health.

"The Humans of Health Research exhibition is a clear illustration of the breadth of our work. The stories from our staff on the motivations of doing research and the impact on patients are inspiring and shows why this work is so important. 

“I want to thank the staff and patients who have given their time and expertise to health research and for taking part in the exhibition. I hope all the people who come to see the photographs and read the stories are inspired to get involved in our work.”

The Humans of Health Research exhibition will remain open until Wednesday 5 April, in the main entrance of Imperial’s South Kensington Campus. It will then move to community spaces in White City and on to the AHSC’s partners hospitals.

Find out more about the online Humans of Health exhibition on the Imperial College London website.

Photo credit: Jo Mieszkowski, Imperial College London