Story Booth user Shunai Taylor (right) talks with PaTH student worker Sri Karanam.
Everyone has a personal story to tell about facing a health problem or accessing health care. And researchers at the University of Pittsburgh want to hear those stories. People are invited to share their stories for the MyPaTH Story Booth project. During a conversation with a project staff member or with a friend, people’s experiences will be recorded in an audio booth set up in Oakland or shared over the phone. The recordings will be stored in an archive to which researchers will have access.
“We hope researchers will listen to these stories and get a better idea of what it’s like to be a patient or what it’s like to struggle to be healthy,” says Kathleen McTigue, MD, MPH, MS, associate professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. “We’re trying to get patients involved in the research process. If researchers want to be answering questions that are going to make a difference to patients’ care, we need to get patients involved so that we find out about what it’s like for patients to be ill, to stay healthy, in what ways it’s difficult to practice preventive health care and what it’s like to access the health care system.”
When people share their stories, they also have the option to say whether they want to be a part of the research process. “With patient-centered research, researchers aren’t just looking for people to be participants in their studies,” says Dr. McTigue. “They’re often looking for patients to join their research team and help shape a project to make sure it’s something of value.”