Helen Roberts


Patient and Public Involvement Co-ordinator

Role at Hull York Medical School

Helen joined Hull York Medical School in 2019 to coordinate patient and public involvement in the Transforming cancer outcomes in Yorkshire research programme. She supports researchers to plan for and undertake meaningful public involvement in doctoral research, developing new grant applications, and running grant funded studies. She has skills in building respectful and inclusive relationships, engaging with diverse people, writing in Plain English, creating accessible information, presenting, organising and facilitating events, budgeting for public involvement, and negotiating the emotional and practical complexity of public involvement.

She manages the Involve Hull public involvement network, which is a large, diverse group of people with personal experience as patients, carers and users of health and care services, with a particular focus on cancer and palliative care. She supports members of the network to get involved in research that matches their experiences and interests, enabling them to have a meaningful voice in shaping our health and care research.


Helen qualified as an archivist and records manager with an MA from the University of Liverpool and started her career in the Brynmor Jones Library at the University of Hull in 1993. In 2008 she moved

to the north west to manage the Labour History Archive at the People's History Museum in Manchester.

She joined the NHS in 2012 to set up a health information service for patients and carers at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust. Her role included leading on the Accessible Information Standard and patient feedback surveys. She was part of the Trust’s equality, diversity and inclusion strategy group and its environment and sustainability group, and represented UNISON as an accredited workplace steward.

Helen is interested in understanding how people experience their health and care, and how this can feed into improving health research and health services. She is committed to ensuring that research is underpinned by the insight and lived experience of those who live with ill health, and use health and social care services.


MSc Palliative Care


Cairns JM, Roberts H, Al-Khafaji G, Kwater M. 2023. Bringing fictional characters to life: reflections on co-creating a comic book with members of the public. Research involvement and engagement. 9.

Howlett H, Catterick M, Charlotte, Karen, Cheyenne, Onukwugha F, Roberts H, Dyson J, Smith L. 2023. Reflections of experts by experience and research team members on research and development about a sensitive issue that attracts stigma. Research for All. 7(1).

Curry J, Roberts H, Smith A, Riley D, Pearson M, Forbes CC. 2022. Developing and testing the ExerciseGuide UK website for people with lung cancer: reflections on the added value of patient and public involvement within a doctoral degree. Research involvement and engagement. 8.

Honours and awards

University of Hull ‘Inspired in Hull’ award for Most Outstanding Contribution to Social Justice and Inclusion in Practice, 2023

University of Hull Knowledge Exchange award for Best Public and Community Engagement, 2023 (with Dr Joanne Cairns)