Media Contacts

Ministry of Health Communications

250 952-1887 (media line)

Andrew MacKendrick

Office of the Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health
Government of Canada
613 957-0200

Jessie Kaur

604 803-1406

Media Relations

Canadian Institutes of Health Research
613 941-4563


What is the BC SUPPORT Unit?


SUPPORT Units (Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials Units) are a core element of Canada’s national Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

SUPPORT Units are locally accessible, multidisciplinary clusters of specialized research resources, policy knowledge, and patient perspective.

SUPPORT Units provide the necessary expertise to pursue patient-oriented research and help lead reforms in response to locally-driven health-care needs. They also lead and facilitate decision-making within the health-services setting, foster the implementation of best practices, and promote collaboration among researchers engaged in patient-oriented research.

Specific objectives:

  • Identify and address the needs of patients and knowledge users by facilitating patient-oriented research.
  • Provide specialized and multidisciplinary methodological expertise in patient-oriented research and its application.
  • Assist decision makers and researchers to identify and design research studies, conduct bio-statistical analyses, manage data, provide and teach project management skills, and ensure studies meet regulatory standards.
  • Advance methods and training in comparative effectiveness research and develop the next generation of methodologists.
  • Provide timely access to data including linked datasets and integrate existing or new databases.

BC SUPPORT Unit – Advancing Patient-Oriented Research

Funding and In-Kind Support:

  • Government of Canada: $39,980,000.
  • Government of British Columbia and other provincial partners: $39,980,000.
  • Total: $79,960,000 over five years.

Structure and Operations

The BC SUPPORT Unit is a multi-partner organization created to support, streamline and increase patient-oriented research throughout B.C.

We define patient-oriented research as research that engages patients as partners and focuses on patient-identified priorities with the goals of improving patient experiences, health outcomes and the health system.

The Unit is one of several SUPPORT Units established across the country as part of Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). It’s also part of the developing BC Academic Health Science Network (BC AHSN) with the network’s board providing governance and oversight.

The Unit has two main roles: providing services to researchers, patients, health-care providers and health-system decision makers, and facilitating initiatives identified as provincial priorities.

Along with partner organizations, a provincial hub based in Vancouver serves stakeholders within the Vancouver region and provides provincewide services. Regional centres are being developed to be the first point of contact for stakeholders located outside of the Vancouver region.

Services, being introduced gradually, will include supporting patient engagement, research navigation, data access and use, knowledge translation, and training and capacity development.

The Unit is also creating methods clusters (methodological communities of practice), and helping fund, plan and facilitate access to a multi-partner provincial data platform that will be separate but integral to the Unit.


The BC SUPPORT Unit is made possible through a broad collaboration of partners:

  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Government of British Columbia
  • Fraser Health Authority
  • Interior Health Authority
  • Northern Health Authority
  • Vancouver Island Health Authority
  • Simon Fraser University
  • UBC Faculty of Medicine
  • UBC Okanagan
  • University of Northern BC
  • University of Victoria
  • BC Patient Centred Measurement
  • BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute
  • Centre for Clinical Epidemiology & Evaluation
  • Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences
  • Clinical & Systems Transformation
  • InspireNet
  • Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
  • Population Data BC
  • Rural Coordination Centre of BC

BC SUPPORT Unit Mission

To support the conduct and implementation of high quality patient-oriented research.

BC SUPPORT Unit Goals & Objectives

  • Build capacity to conduct and implement high-quality patient-oriented research in all regions of the province.
  • Create opportunities for collaboration on patient-oriented research among decisions makers, patients, providers and researchers.
  • Offer regionally-relevant services and support to teams engaged in patient-oriented research.
  • Offer patient-oriented research-related training for decision makers, patients, providers and researchers.
  • Increase the availability and utility of data and related services for patient-oriented research.
  • Increase the quality and impact of patient-oriented research throughout B.C.
  • Launch priority projects enabling the study of patient-oriented research.
  • Facilitate and study two initial demonstration projects.
  • Develop and foster improvement of patient-oriented research methods throughout B.C.
  • Develop a system change management plan in collaboration with the BC AHSN.
  • Ensure ongoing support for patient-oriented research in all regions of the province.
  • Raise awareness of the importance of and benefits that come from patient-oriented research.
  • Develop a BC SUPPORT Unit sustainability plan.

Learn more:

Visit Canada’s Strategy on Patient-Oriented Research at:

Learn about the BC SUPPORT Unit: Advancing Patient-Oriented Research:

Visit the #BCTECH Strategy: