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Because your voice matters.

Member, BC SUPPORT Unit Patient Council

Posted • Last updated


Open to Provincial Region, Patient partners across the province

Last updated

Would you like to be part of a ground-breaking, culture-shifting initiative intended to ensure health research is done in partnership with patients and focuses on priorities that matter to patients? The BC SUPPORT Unit is looking to fill up to six vacant seats on their existing Patient Council.

Open to: Patient partners across the province

Lead Organization or Department



The aim of the Patient Council is to engage with BC SUPPORT Unit personnel on specific issues and projects that arise from unit operations. Issues may be brought to the council as a whole at regularly scheduled meetings, or patients may be recruited from the council on an ad hoc basis as needs arise (e.g. one-off engagements; planning/working groups). As a member of the council, your opportunities are varied and many - everything from helping to shape policy to participating in workshops and planning meetings or on review panels. Note: Patient Council members will not be participating in or doing research but, rather, working with the BC SUPPORT Unit operations team to support the implementation of high quality patient-oriented research.

Level of Engagement

Some roles will be at the level of consult on the spectrum of engagement. The promise to you is that Unit personnel will listen to and acknowledge your ideas and concerns, and provide feedback on how your input affected the decision. Example: provide feedback on a draft policy. Some roles will be at the level of involve on the spectrum of engagement. The promise to you is that Unit personnel will work with you to ensure that your ideas and concerns are reflected in recommendations and provide feedback on how your input affected the decision. Example: help to draft a new policy. Some roles will be at the level of collaborate on the spectrum of engagement. The promise to you is that Unit personnel will look to you for advice in decision making, developing alternatives, and solutions and include your recommendations into the decision as much as possible. Example: Help to decide on a new policy.


  • Candidates should have personal experience with the health care system, either as a patient or an informal caregiver (e.g. family member or friend)
  • Previous experience with research in general or health research specifically is an asset but not required.
  • Previous experience as a member of a board or advisory group is an asset but not required.
  • The Council will include members from each region of the province: North, Fraser, Interior, Island and Vancouver.
  • The unit will strive for a broad demographic balance, including but not limited to age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and culture. We would like to include at least one Indigenous person.
  • Candidates must have access to email and a computer or other device connected to the internet, preferably with a web camera.
  • The ability to use word processing software to compose, edit and review documents is an asset.


  • Vacancies: 4-6
  • An in-person orientation will be held in in Vancouver on June 7 and 8. On June 7, new council members will have an opportunity to visit the SUPPORT Unit offices and meet the existing council members and the Unit’s operations team. There is a group dinner on Granville Island that evening. On June 8, there is a business meeting in the morning and training on fundamentals of health research in Canada in the afternoon. All events on June 8 take place in person at the Granville Island Hotel.
  • Typically the council will meet monthly for one and one-half hours, using videoconferencing. Help with how to use videoconferencing is provided when needed. The group does not meet in July, August or December.
  • Meetings are generally recorded (with everyone’s permission), and recordings are made available so people can review what was discussed at the meetings if they were unable to attend.
  • Meetings days and times are yet to be finalized; however, in the past the council has met on the second Tuesday of the month from 12:00-1:30 pm.
  • Other meetings may be scheduled as required, depending on whether the patient partner decides to be involved beyond the regular monthly meetings. Examples: a planning/working group; participation in a workshop; speaking at an event; participating on an interview panel. Meetings pertaining to any of these working or ad hoc groups will be arranged as needed and will take into consideration the patients’ schedules and availability. Some meetings are in person with the option to attend via videoconferencing; most will be by videoconference.
  • Council members are also invited to attend any or all of the following: patient partner meetup (November 19), provincial conference (November 20) and SUPPORT Unit networking day (November 21). All of these take place in Vancouver.
  • Commitment: 1 year, with the possibility of extending.


All out-of-pocket expenses incurred while doing the work of the BC SUPPORT Unit Patient Council - e.g. travel - will be reimbursed according to the policies of the BC Academic Health Science Network (BC AHSN).


Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) is about ensuring that the right patient receives the right intervention at the right time. Evidence shows that this does not happen often enough. It is believed that the engagement of knowledge users – including patients, health care providers and health system decision-makers – to determine research priorities and to design and conduct research holds promise for addressing this challenge. The 15-member BC SUPPORT Unit Patient Council was formed in June 2017. Several seats will become vacant as of June 2019. You can read about the current council members by visiting the website. Those interested in this opportunity may wish to view the webinar entitled Who, me? Yes, you! Becoming a Patient Partner in Health Research, paying particular attention to the segment about governance at approximately 8 minutes, 55 seconds and the presentation by one of our patient partners at the 10 minute, 27 second mark. The goals of the BC SUPPORT Unit are:
  • To build capacity to conduct and implement high quality patient-oriented research in all regions of the province
  • To increase the quality and impact of patient-oriented research across BC
  • To ensure ongoing support for patient-oriented research in all regions of the province
The BC SUPPORT Unit is jointly funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the BC Ministry of Health.

Health Care Partner Contact Information

Kathryn Proudfoot
Engagement Leader, Patient & Public Engagement | Provincial

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!