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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 welcome up to 10 more people on its expanded Patient Council!

Open to: Patient partners across the province

Lead Organization or Department



Patient Council members will provide advice and engage with the BC SUPPORT Unit (“the Unit”) staff on matters that arise from the day-to-day operations of the Unit. Matters may be brought to the Council as a whole at regularly scheduled meetings or members may be invited to participate in other projects as needs arise (e.g. one-off engagements; planning/working groups). Note: Council members will not be participating in or doing research, rather will be working with the Unit operations team to support the implementation of high quality patient-oriented research.

Level of Engagement

Your primary role at the regularly scheduled Council meetings will most often 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. Outside regularly scheduled Council meetings, your opportunities are varied and many – everything from participating at workshops and planning meetings or on review panels. In each case, the level of engagement will be clearly defined and will range from consult to involve to collaborate.


  • Personal experience of 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.
  • The Council will include members from each region of the province: North, Fraser, Interior, Island and greater Vancouver.
  • The Unit will strive for a broad demographic balance, including but not limited to age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, and culture, including indigenous peoples.
  • Email access is required and experience with word processing software is an asset.
  • Previously attended a PVN orientation session and completed the Volunteer Agreement. If you have not attended an orientation session but you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Leah Smith directly to see if accommodations may be possible.


  • Vacancies: Up to 10. There are already five Patient Council members in place.
  • Location: Meetings will be held using videoconferencing or teleconferencing. Access to a computer or other device connected to the internet (preferably with a web camera) is desirable. Help with videoconferencing will be provided as needed.
  • Term: One-year term with the option to renew.
  • Time Commitment: Unless otherwise arranged, the Patient Council will meet monthly for one to two hours. We anticipate breaks in December and during the summer.
  • Materials will be provided by email prior to each meeting and should be reviewed in advance in order to contribute to discussions. Review of meeting materials may take approximately 1-2 hours. Members may be asked to review documents and respond to emails between meetings. Note: Meetings will be scheduled at times that are convenient for members, including non-regular business hours.
  • Orientation: A one-day in-person orientation will be held in late May/early June (exact date and location TBD). At this meeting, new members will meet the existing members and the Unit’s operations team.


All approved out-of-pocket expenses incurred while doing the work of the Council – e.g. travel – will be reimbursed.


  • 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 BC SUPPORT Unit is jointly funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the BC Ministry of Health. Its goals 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 and to ensure ongoing support for patient-oriented research in all regions of the provinceThose 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.
 Additional Opportunities, Meetings & Training
  • All efforts will be made to sponsor Patient Council members to attend the Unit’s annual conference in Vancouver (anticipated to happen in late October or early November 2017).
  • Other meetings may be required if the member decides to be involved beyond the regular monthly meetings. Meetings pertaining to any of the other working or ad hoc groups will be arranged as needed and will take into consideration the members’ schedules and availability.
  • Meetings are generally recorded (with permission), and recordings made available if members are unable to attend.

Health Care Partner Contact Information

Leah Smith
Engagement Leader, Patient and Public Engagement | Southern Vancouver Island


From Our Community

Christine Wallsworth

Patient Partner, Vancouver

Christine Wallsworth

Patient and family partners should not be a check box on research proposals! They need to be involved right from the start. I know patient and family partners are doing their part by providing their knowledge to researchers from their lived experience.  It’s a win-win for us to work together through PVN to make sure our input drives improvements.