Some of the province’s most vulnerable people will benefit from research into HIV/AIDS, addiction and viral hepatitis that will be carried out at the world-class Hope to Health Research Centre following a successful expansion project supported in part through $2 million in government funding.
“Through the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Vancouver has long been a leader in the research and treatment of HIV/AIDS,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “This work has dramatically changed the lives of people around the world. And now, through Hope to Health Research Clinic, the BC-CfE will continue to strengthen and inform health strategies through its groundbreaking research on HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and addiction.”
Hope to Health is a BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS (BC-CfE) research clinic, which supports research to adapt, evaluate and expand Treatment as Prevention to other contagious diseases. Under the leadership of Dr. Julio Montaner, the clinic focuses on three pillars: HIV, addiction and viral hepatitis. The expanded facility at 625 Powell Street will open to clients in February 2017.
Hope to Health officially opened in June 2015 at 611 Powell Street in the Downtown Eastside. Following support from the world’s most competitive peer-reviewed granting agencies and the $2 million provided to St. Paul’s Foundation in 2015 to help the clinic expand, 625 Powell Street was further developed, adding an additional 186 square metres (20,000 square feet) to the existing facility.
“The BC-CfE has a long and successful history of addressing the needs of some of the most vulnerable populations in B.C.,” said BC-CfE director Dr. Julio Montaner. “We are grateful to the Province for the trust it has put in our team to continue our research towards developing innovative, evidence-based health policy strategies to improve the lives of British Columbians and people around the world.”
Research from Hope to Health is helping to inform the work of the BC Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU), which was established in part through a $5 million investment announced in September 2016. The BCCSU is working with addictions experts around the province on research, education and training, and treatment guidelines to make sure substance-use treatment in B.C. is effective and evidence-based.
“Addiction is one of the most prevalent and costly diseases in our society,” said Dr. Evan Wood, interim director, BC Centre on Substance Use, BC-CfE and medical director, Addictions Services, Vancouver Coastal Health and Providence Health Care. “The B.C. government’s investment in the establishment of the BC Centre on Substance Use and in the expansion of Hope to Health is a reflection of its continued commitment to improve the lives of some of the most vulnerable people living in B.C., and will also play an important role in addressing the overdose crisis over the long-term.”
The BC-CfE has partnered with Vancouver Coastal Health to establish a low-threshold addiction clinic and an eye clinic also located at 625 Powell Street to serve people in the Downtown Eastside. Both clinics are set to open this spring. The addiction clinic will have a pharmacy onsite and will be able to dispense medications for treating substance use disorders and other issues including HIV and hepatitis C. Referrals can be made for treatment beds, counselling and other services not offered at the clinic.
“Vancouver Coastal Health has worked successfully with the BC-CfE on numerous initiatives over the years, and we are pleased to expand that relationship with the opening of the addictions clinic, Connections, and our eye clinic,” said Dr. Patricia Daly, vice-president, public health and chief medical health officer, Vancouver Coastal Health. “We strongly believe that together we can make a significant difference in addressing the overlapping health challenges of HIV, addictions and viral hepatitis.”
To learn more about the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, please visit: www.cfenet.ubc.ca