Consumers and research

Consumers and research

Consumer and two researchers
Connecting with members of the community helps researchers make discoveries that improve human health.

Many of our researchers work with ‘consumer buddies’. In this context, a consumer is a person who has been impacted by a disease.

If you have experienced an illness, or cared for someone with an illness, we invite you to apply to join our Consumer Buddy program and help us to advance medical research.

Can you help?

WEHI researchers are currently seeking Consumer Buddies with experience of:

  • Rare cancers
  • Brain cancer
  • Colorectal or bowel cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • AML
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Melanoma
  • Stomach or gastric cancer
  • Oral cancer
  • Cancer of any kind
  • Infectious disease of any kind
  • Arthritis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Asthma

At least two years must have elapsed since diagnosis or caring experience.

There are also opportunities for people with a strong interest in immunology to become a Consumer Buddy.

Pairing consumers with researchers

As a participant in our Consumer Buddy program you can:

  • Actively contribute to advancing medical research projects
  • Work with a researcher by contributing your life experience
  • Assist researchers with communicating their science in plain language
  • Provide insight into how their research can make a difference in the community
  • Become part of the Institute community with invitations to events and seminars

A background in science or medicine is not required.  

Consumer buddies meet with their researcher four times throughout the year for project updates.

Consumers are volunteers and will be provided with Institute support and approprate training.  

More information

To learn more about joining the Consumer Buddy Program, contact Katya Gray, Consumer Coordinator:

Tel: 03 9345 2981

Consumer Buddies make a difference

Consumer buddy George with researcher Dr Gabi Brumatti
"George is more than my Consumer Buddy, he's my inspiration"
- Dr Gabi Brumatti with George, a survivor of acute
myeloid leukaemia (AML)

Consumers contribute their lived experiences with a disease.

Over time, the involvement of consumers can influence basic research design and enhance translational research design within WEHI.

Consumers may also provide a powerful voice for communication with our community about scientific issues which have an impact on society.

Consumer Advisory Panel

The Consumer Buddy program is governed by our Consumer Advisory Panel, chaired by Dr Judith Slocombe AM.

The panel’s mission is to connect WEHI’s research with community experiences of disease and consumer expectations. This is achieved by:

  • involving medical, health and research consumers in our scientific research, and
  • enabling our researchers and consumers to form productive working relationships

The panel advises the WEHI director and heads of Clinical Translation on the involvement of consumers in research.