Enhancing awareness of the socio-economic impact of inherited blindness

In Ireland, many devastating diseases have an inherited cause and are passed onto further generations. Blindness due to inherited degeneration of the retina at the back of the eye is an excellent case-study with which to explain the basis of inherited disease, the socio-economic impact and the research required to generate new treatments that can prevent or delay inherited disease.
Here, in partnership with clinical ophthalmologists, Fighting Blindness, schoolteachers and Firecrest/ICON, we develop novel 3D educational animations that increase awareness of these issues. These animations can be rapidly disseminated to the public using websites and social media. In addition, we will establish a hands-on Summer School in which secondary school students (20 per week X 5 weeks) will receive bespoke taught and practical instruction to enhance their awareness of inherited disease, and training in technologies that allow confirmation of genetic inheritance and testing of potential drug treatments (in research models). The students will be challenged to generate additional educational material that can be dispersed to schools/public. Throughout this KEDS award, we will engage with the relevant patient, clinician and schoolteacher stakeholders to design the awareness media so it effectively enhance awareness of these conditions and current research initiatives to the target audience.
Quantitative and qualitative feedback will be sought from the end-users to evaluate how the media generated and our dissemination strategy has enhanced awareness and understanding of inherited blindness. Critical feedback will also be sought to identify areas for further future improvement.

Award Date
23 October 2015
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Breandan Kennedy
Host Institution
University College Dublin
Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme