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Because your voice matters.

Exploring Views about Offering Genetic Tests to Improve Drug Treatments for Depression



Commitment: Long-term

Connection method: Virtual

Open to Provincial Region, Patient partners across BC


Do you want to be a part of research that tries to improve drug treatments for depression?

Using genetic tests, it may be possible to find a medication that is more likely to work sooner and with fewer side effects. This could improve the health and quality of life for many people with depression. Using this kind of testing could also save the BC health system a lot of money. But, there could be some ethical concerns around this kind of data, as well as the possibility that some people might benefit more than others.

We are planning to carry out a ‘public deliberation’ with members of the BC public about their views and values around this kind of genetic testing. This is an opportunity for the public to contribute to policy decision-making.

We are looking for people with lived or living experience with major depressive disorder to join our public deliberation research team as patient partners. We will work with patient partners and ask for your advice, ideas and solutions throughout this project. We will include your suggestions into elements of the research as much as possible.

This project is being led by an experienced team at the University of British Columbia, and includes researchers and clinicians across Canada. In this study, we want to know how “pharmacogenomic testing” for depression treatment could be introduced in a trustworthy and acceptable way for people in BC. Pharmacogenomic testing uses the patient’s genetic information to determine which particular drug might work best and with the fewest side effects. We will not be doing any experimental or laboratory-based testing in this study.

Participation with and feedback from people with lived/living experience is an important part of every research project our team does. Two patient partners will be full and active members of our research team. Patient partners will be asked to share their views and experiences with researchers from UBC in meetings, by reviewing and providing comments on documents (e.g., information booklet), and by helping to plan some activities for the study (e.g., small group discussions). We want to work in partnership with patients to improve research and the future care of patients with depression.

Patient partners will be compensated $25/hour. This includes time preparing for and participating in meetings, and reviewing any materials or documents. There will be approximately 1 meeting per month, which will be held by Zoom phone or video conferencing, lasting about 1 to 1.5 hours. Meetings will usually be the second Monday of the month, but may not occur every month. Patient partners will also be invited to comment on documents or other planned activities in the study via email (about 1 hour per month).

Further details about this study

Level of Engagement

This opportunity is at the level of Collaborate on the IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation.


  • Willing & comfortable to share health care experiences in a group setting
  • Have access to technology and the internet to participate in the engagement opportunity
  • Comfortable using technology to attend online/virtual meetings
  • The time to participate in the engagement opportunity
  • Must have a main diagnosis of major depressive disorder (this means it is the main and most serious mental health condition you have been treated for, if you have more than one condition; you are still eligible if you are currently feeling well)
  • Must have taken or currently take antidepressant medications that have been prescribed by a doctor
  • Must live in British Columbia
  • Able to attend a monthly meeting by phone or video conferencing (requires Internet and web cam), usually on a Monday
  • Must have access to the Internet and email
  • Comfortable working with a group, sharing your views and experiences (either during meetings or in written form), and respecting the opinions and diversity of other members
  • No previous experience or special skills are required. We will provide training and support to anyone who feels this would be of benefit.
Patient Partners ARE NOT required to be PVN members to participate in this engagement opportunity.

Health Care Partner Contact Information

Louisa Edwards Research Program Manager, School of Population and Public Health | University of British Columbia (604) 875-4111

From Our Community

Pamela Jessen

Patient Partner, Langford

Pamela Jessen

The Patient Voices Network allows me to engage and educate others on various health-related topics. By sitting on various committees and taking part in many activities, I can create real change in health care for everyone. It’s so empowering!