"A SIG is a group of people who come together around a shared interest and a passion to share knowledge and improve research and/or practice. They often cross geographical and professional boundaries and are self-managed by members of the community. Special Interest Groups can take different forms, either being more informal or more structured and either having a particular goal or focus or being more open and opportunity-driven.’’
Source: The Networked Learning Model by Harold Jarche

Within our network, we have launched the following Special Interest Groups (SIGs) so far:

People with severe mental health ill health (SMI) experience poor oral health compared to the general population. 'Oral health special interest group' is a group of people with expertise in the field of mental health and oral health (researchers, practitioners in primary care, mental health and dental services), and lived experience (service users and caregivers/family members), who are committed to improve oral health for this vulnerable group.

Very recently, the group has developed a consensus on the quality of oral health care in people with SMI and what their families should expect. The Right to Smile consensus sets out a number of five year targets to improve the oral health of people with severe mental ill health.

  • You can download the Right to Smile consensus here.
  • You can learn more about the Right to Smile project here.

The team is also working on identifying barriers and facilitators of the existing interventions aiming to co-produce an intervention to improve oral health of people with SMI. This multidisciplinary group works in collaboration to close the gap in clinical practice and research for this serious but neglected health inequality.

Recently, Dr Vishal Aggerwall and Gordon Johnston (Peer Researcher), part of the Right to Smile team, talked to the Oral Health Foundation about how living with severe mental ill health (SMI) impacts oral health and what we can do to better support those with SMI. You can listen to the podcast here.

Key contact: Dr Masuma Mishu, University of York, masuma.mishu@york.ac.uk

Other resources

The Primary Care Special Interest Group was launched at the CTG event held at the Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust, Staffordshire, in February 2020. One of the highlights of that day was an episode of Talking Heads where Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham (GP), Dr David Shiers (carer) and Mr David Lee (lived experience) talked about improving the physical health of people with severe mental illness. 

Watch the episode on YouTube.

The Primary Care SIG is co-led by Carolyn Chew-Graham (Keele University) and Caroline Mitchell (University of Sheffield). The aim is to raise awareness of the key role that primary care plays in supporting people with severe mental illness manage their physical health.

Our objectives are to:

  • raise awareness of primary care challenges/perspectives
  • support members to apply for funding from the CTG
  • identify other sources for research funding
  • help develop applications for funding.

We have a number of projects supported by the CTG Collaboration Fund including:

  1. Exploring perspectives on remote primary care consultations for people with severe mental illness and multiple physical health problems. Go to our Funded Projects section to learn more.
  2. What role can carers play in helping to improve the health outcomes in people living with severe mental illness? Go to our Funded Projects section to learn more.
  3. Physical Health Inequalities in Imprisoned Women with Serious Mental Illness: A plan for action. Go to our Funded Projects section to learn more.

If you wish to join the Primary Care SIG, please contact Caroline at c.mitchell@sheffield.ac.uk or Carolyn at c.a.chew-graham@keele.ac.uk.

You can read or watch and listen to important and interesting resources suggested by The Primary Care SIG: 

We have developed the following, light-touch mechanism for setting up a SIG within our network:

  • Hold an initial meeting (face-to-face or via Zoom/Skype)
  • Plan the rules of engagement from the start
  • Choose a schedule of activities
  • Consider what you think the SIG should do, i.e. sharing knowledge, supporting skills development, developing new project ideas etc.
  • Google groups can be used as a means of communication within the SIG

Our Collaboration Fund scheme can also be used as a funding mechanism for supporting the formation and operation of a Special Interest Group.

If you are interested in forming a Special Interest Group, please contact ctg-network@york.ac.uk.

If you are interested in joining one of our existing Special Interest Groups, please contact the key person of the group you are interested in.