Una Rennard
Una Rennard photo I am the mother of a child with Aspergers syndrome and I have family members affected by a range of conditions including breast cancer, vascular dementia and a rare form of epilepsy.  As a result I have a broad ranging interest in health issues and how people can be involved in commenting on and engaging with health matters in a meaningful way. I have worked in the voluntary sector for 20 years and have a commitment to involving people in their community, whether that is geographical or interest based.  I work for a charity called The Dystonia Society and am involved with supporting our national group network which encourages those affected by the condition to meet and support one another.  I am also involved in supporting people to learn more about their condition. I became involved in public involvement in research when I joined a working party to look at materials for parents about heel prick testing in newborns.  Since then I have been involved as a Lay Member in a variety of organisations including Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH)/Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (CMACE), NICE Topic Consultation Consideration Panels, Health Technology Assessment Panels (HTAP) and Blood Spot Advisory Group. I believe it is important to enable meaningful lay involvement in health research without the need for lay people to become “professionals” but ensuring they can put forward their opinions in a safe and respectful environment where they in turn respect others.