Pre-conference: Involving vulnerable groups in public health research and prectice (CAPH)

Tuesday 12 November, 9:00 – 17:00 Lisbon time (including network lunch)

Organised by

EUPHA Child and adolescent public health section, EUPHA Sexual and gender minority health section, EUPHA Migrant and minority health section


While there is a growing consensus in European (public) health research on the need to directly involve patients and citizens in research, this development has not yet reached vulnerable groups in the same way. Strategies for involving them in public health research are not well documented, and the specific requirements of this group (e.g. carer consent, stigma, language barriers) can make it difficult to involve them in research.

Therefore, the proposed pre-conference is designed to promote active participation and engagement of researchers. It aims to enable them to develop ideas and approaches for involving vulnerable people in their research and to identify starting points for implementing involvement strategies. The first part will introduce participants to the basics of patient and public involvement (PPI) and participatory research, including theories and models, current developments in PPI in Europe, and general strategies and methods of participatory research. Participants can share their current goals and values regarding the involvement of vulnerable groups, their national experiences and examples, and the challenges and potentials associated with these efforts. These discussions will encourage participants to reflect on the meaning of participation and develop ideas on how to implement it in their research.

The second part of the pre-conference will focus on the implementation of the inclusion of vulnerable groups; therefore, participants will be divided and will be able to choose one of three groups they would like to work with: 1) children and young people, 2) sexual and gender minorities or 3) people with a migrant background. Each of them will develop the involvement of the respective group in different forms and contexts. Different approaches and strategies for involving them in child and adolescent; sexual and gender minority; migrant and ethnic minority;  or intersecting research and practice will be presented, including examples, methods and lessons learned. The examples presented represent models of participation, such as councils, citizen science groups or participatory action research, used in different contexts, such as political and societal decision-making or health and health services research. The expertise presented will guide the involvement of these groups in terms of 1) ethical, scientific and practical considerations, 2) challenges and strategies to overcome them, 3) necessary conditions for suitable and successful environments for participation, and 4) the potential and outcomes of their participation and representation.

By the end of the pre-conference, participants will have gained valuable insights and practical knowledge about the inclusion of vulnerable groups in public health research and practice. Lessons learned and priorities for inclusion will be summarised and discussed, allowing participants to reflect on what is most important for them and their individual projects. The pre-conference will conclude with a comprehensive summary of the work done and further references to materials and contacts that can support participants in realising their own ideas on involvement. This practical outcome will equip researchers and practitioners with the necessary tools and understanding to effectively involve vulnerable groups in their research and practice.

Aim of the pre-conference

To empower researchers to develop ideas and concepts for involving vulnerable people in their research and to identify starting points for putting involvement strategies into practice. The pre-conference will begin with an interactive session introducing the foundations, models and current debates on involving patients and citizens in research and practice. In the afternoon, participants will have the opportunity to deepen the topic in relation to a vulnerable group, choosing one of the following 1) children and adolescents, 2) sexual and gender (LGBTQIA+) minorities, or 3) migrant and ethnic minority populations. Researchers, practictioners, and community members of all experience levels are welcome.


09 :00 – 10 :30


Involving vulnerable groups I : Introduction to common needs, principles and models

10 :30 – 11 :00

Coffee/tea break

11 :00 – 12 :30

Involving vulnerable groups II : Status quo, current debates and strategies

12 :30 – 13 :30

Lunch break

13 :30 – 15 :00

Focus on a target group of your choice I: Approaches and strategies for the respective target groups in public health research and practice, including examples, methods and lessons learned

15 :00 – 15 :30

Coffee/tea break

15 :30 – 17 :00

Focus on a target group of your choice II: Development of strategies and priorities for the involvement of the respective target group, tailored to the participants’ projects


Summary and farewell


The registration fee is EUR 150. Networking lunch and refreshments are included.