Meet Brigitte Sigl, Chair of NSW Regional Health Partners’ Consumer Advisory Committee

Why did you join NSW Regional Health Partners Consumer Advisory Committee?

Joining the NSW Regional Health Partners Consumer Advisory Committee was out of pure curiosity. I wanted to widen my knowledge as a Consumer Representative and branch into the world of Research and I must say it’s been an extremely satisfying and rewarding experience. 

What experiences led you to your role?

After being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) my life took quite a turn, but being a stoic person, I was able to fight back.

I am the President of my local MS Society, a member of the Beryl Institute, and have recently completed a Certificate of Patient Experience Leadership.

Before stepping into this role with NSWRHP, I had been a Consumer Representative for my local health district, even serving as the Chair of the Consumer and Community Engagement Committee- CCLHD. Additionally, I collaborated with the Ministry of Health, working as co-Chair of the  collaborative partnerships working group for the “Elevating the Human Experience” program.

Why do you think it’s important to involve consumers in health and medical research?

Involving Consumers in Health and Medical Research is crucial. It’s not just about researching what can be done, it’s about understanding what the community needs and wants. Research should be tailored to meet those needs, and having consumers actively participate allows for genuine input that benefits both the community and the researchers.

This is also what I try to apply in my consumer input – everyone in our society or community should have the opportunity to live their best life, with the best possible and most dignified support.

What advice do you have for consumers on getting involved in research?  

For those considering getting involved in research, go in with an open mind, and be curious. Don’t be scared to ask questions, and if possible, find an opportunity to buddy up with a more experienced consumer.  It makes it less daunting and worthwhile for everyone involved. 

What’s an interesting or unexpected fact that others might not know about you?

I’m a person living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Research holds immense significance for both me and my family, as MS runs both sides (mum’s and dad’s) of our family. It’s a personal connection that fuels my passion for contributing to medical research.

I’m always looking to meet new people, learn, and enhance my knowledge, and build bridges between health pillars and consumers.