This article discusses research capacity building and its relevance for health practitioners using allied health professionals (AHPs) as a case example. Allied health professionals is a term used to represent a diverse group of health workers, each with a discrete clinical focus, whose needs for research capacity building are likely to be similar to one another and to other medical and nursing professionals. The work of AHPs challenges many current research paradigms being complex and multidisciplinary in nature, often delivered in community settings and focusing on holistic outcomes. This article examines some of the current drivers in the healthcare context and highlights tensions for AHPs in developing their research base in basic science and applied health research. The authors argue for a strategic approach to research capacity building and examine the implications of current policy initiatives for AHP roles and activity in research. The importance of a sustained approach to capacity building is underscored.
Caroline PickstoneSchool of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, UK