Community Connexions is a patient and public engagement programme for the community that seeks to capture the lived experiences of local communities in Birmingham and the Black Country – Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Walsall and Dudley to adapt our healthcare services to better meet local needs and inform future health research. The programme is led by the Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust (BCHC) and Black Country Healthcare Foundation Trust (BCHFT). It is funded by the Clinical Research Network (CRN) and Aston University acts as a key partner.

Community Connexions seek to build a network of organisations and individuals that are committed to work collectively to tackle health inequalities, enhance quality of life, and help improve health outcomes within our local and underserved communities. It is one way to enable us to identify the research priorities of our communities and together, be part of the transformative design, delivery, and monitoring of services and projects that would be of importance to those we support. 

Our aim is to actively listen, share understanding and collaborate with a broad spectrum of community and voluntary organisations from faith organisations, local charities groups and community forums to better understand the:

  1. Needs and priorities of local communities.
  2. Health behaviours.
  3. Barriers to engagement with health services and research.

Capturing public and patient voices is important to allow Community Connexions to provide invaluable insights into people’s needs, priorities and/or preferences regarding healthcare and wellbeing. Through our work with communities, we will also establish a framework for sustained engagement with local communities and use engagement to define priorities around research and empower communities to co-design research.

Community Connexions will work with local communities and healthcare professionals to tackle health inequalities, enhance quality of life, and help change health outcomes from the ground up.


Our Core Community Connexions Team:

Hannah Ackom-Mensah

Underserved Populations Community Development Worker & Community Connexions Lead at BCHFT



Florence Okwu

Head of Research & Innovation



Laura Jenkins

Research Delivery Manager




Dr Fatima Zakia

Community Development Worker



Urfan Siddiqi

Community Development Worker



Dr Celine Benoit,

Associate Dean for Public Engagement, Aston College of Business and Social Sciences


Dr Mohammed Shaikh

Patient and Public Involvement and Engagement Cross Cutting Theme Lead, NHIR & Clinical Research Network West Midlands


General enquires can be directed to: or


Follow us on Social Media:

Twitter: BCHFT Community Connexions / Underserved Populations CDW