CIHR funding for secondary data analysis

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) have partnered to create a dynamic cohort of complex, high system users. The Dynamic Cohort was developed using CIHI’s in-house datasets to facilitate cross-jurisdictional research that can shed light on how variations in health care delivery affect health outcomes.

This funding opportunity is designed to support cross-jurisdictional research on high system users using the Dynamic Cohort to improve the evidence for policy making in Canada. The application is due on October 3, 2017. More information

SPARKs and BITEs from the SPOR PIHCIN Research Day

On May 23, 2017 a Research Day was held for the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations (PIHCI) networks. Researchers from across Canada presented on their progress on SPOR-funded researh projects. Presentations were organized into SPARKs (longer) and BITEs (shorter), and can be viewed here: PIHCIN SPARKs and BITEs

June 2017 BC-PHCRN Update

Happy summer! Highlights from the first half of 2017 for the BC-PHCRN included hosting two very successful pre-conference workshops on strategies for patient engagement in research and tools for primary health care reform at the Taking the Pulse of Primary Health Care Reform conference in March; and engaging with clinicians, researchers, patients, and policymakers at the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations (PIHCI) Research Day at the Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research conference in May. A selection of recommended tools for reform is now available in the News section of our web site, and reports from the patient engagement workshop and the PIHCI Research Day will soon be posted. Remember to check back regularly, or follow us on Twitter for reminders!

We are currently gearing up for a busy summer working with researchers and their clinician, patient, and policymaker partners to craft proposals for the SPOR Programmatic Grant competition, expected to be launched by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) this month. This funding opportunity provides up to $250,000 per year for four years to support cross-jurisdictional research projects based on the research priorities identified by the provincial PIHCI networks (view ours here). Note that a letter of intent is due the PIHCI networks on August 11, and find more details here.

This summer will also find us building our new province-wide patient advisory panel, which promises to be a powerful resource to guide the BC-PHCRN and the research proposals that we support.

Please share this Update with interested colleagues, and get in touch with us with any questions – or Programmatic Grant ideas!

In this Update

Progress on Funded Quick Strike, Knowledge Synthesis, and Comparative Program and Policy Analysis SPOR Grants in BC

The CIHR SPOR initiative awarded funding in 2015 and 2016 through three types of grant competition, Quick Strike, Knowledge Synthesis, and Comparative Program and Policy Analysis. Two Quick Strike, two Knowledge Synthesis, and three Comparative Program and Policy Analysis grants with BC investigators were funded. Updates on these projects.

Helping Primary Care Researchers to Actively Involve Patients

Individual primary health care researchers may not have the time, knowledge, or resources to engage with a diverse group of patients. Ruth Lavergne, a BC-PHCRN member and Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University, and co-principal investigators Victoria Schuckel and Sabrina Wong, were awarded a CIHR SPOR Patient-Oriented Research Collaboration Grant in April to facilitate patient engagement in the research process. The goals of the project are to:

  1. Identify patient priorities for primary care research in BC;
  2. Build new projects and collaborations based on these priorities; and
  3. Help primary care researchers involve patients more actively in research.

Three activities were planned to achieve these goals:

  1. Build patient participation into the Taking the Pulse of Primary Health Care Reform conference (held in March 2017) by including and supporting patients to participate and provide input on policy changes in primary care;
  2. Build a panel of patients willing to provide ongoing input on primary care research in BC; and
  3. Building on discussion at the conference, undertake a priority setting exercise across the province to understand patient priorities for primary care research.

This grant allowed the BC-PHCRN to host a pre-conference workshop on strategies for patient engagement in research at the Taking the Pulse of Primary Health Care Reform conference and to support patient partners to attend and contribute throughout the conference. The workshop brought patients together with policymakers from government and health administration, as well as doctors, nurses, and researchers.

Attention has now turned to building a Patient Advisory Panel to advise the BC-PHCRN. Recruitment has just been completed, and the panel will guide the process of gathering patient priorities for primary health care research across BC. A first task for the panel members will be to help to review and rank letters of intent requesting BC-PHCRN support for the upcoming CIHR SPOR Programmatic Grant competition.

“I am looking forward towards meaningful engagement in patient-centred research and believe patient voices and experiences are essential to sustainable healthcare that meets the needs of British Columbians.” – Chad, Patient Advisory Panel member, Victoria

Canadian Primary Care Sentinel Surveillance Network (CPCSSN)

CPCSSN is a pan-Canadian electronic medical record (EMR) surveillance system. The BC regional network, BC-CPCSSN, is embedded within BC-PHCRN. CPCSSN aims to improve the quality of care for Canadians suffering from chronic, mental health, and neurological conditions by making it possible to securely collect and report on information from Canadians’ electronic health records.

Since January 2017, BC-CPCSSN has added four sites with over 40 primary care providers. Thirteen sites and 64 primary care providers (family physicians and nurse practitioners) are now part of the provincial network. The list of chronic conditions used in CPCSSN I also being expanded, with ADHD, concussion, and chronic kidney disease recently added.

CPCSSN is also a novel source of research data. Rita McCracken, MD, a UBC PhD candidate, is using CPCSSN data to conduct a study on hypertension treatment targets and time to diagnosis of dementia. The study aims to see if people over the age of 70 being treated for hypertension and diabetes in Canada, and taking blood pressure lowering medication, have a faster cognitive decline if they achieve a systolic blood pressure below 130 mmHg. McCracken expects to have final results in the next six months.

“As a family doctor myself, I am very proud that the important generalist care provided in the community can now be translated to research findings that may help improve and change care across the country.” – Rita McCracken, UBC PhD candidate, Vancouver

Leadership Changes: Introducing Shana Ooms and Fiona Duncan

BC-PHCRN’s tripartite (science, policy, clinical) leadership team wishes our former clinical co-lead Garey Mazowita the best in his retirement, and is excited to welcome two new members. Shana Ooms, policy co-lead, is Executive Director of Primary Care in the Primary and Community Care Policy division of the BC Ministry of Health. Shana brings to the network more than a decade of experience supporting the advancement of primary health care through a variety of research, policy development, and leadership positions. Dr. Fiona Duncan, clinical co-lead, is a family physician and a Clinical Assistant Professor at the UBC Department of Family Practice. Fiona brings to the network her experience as a representative on the General Practices Services Committee, Chair on the Vancouver Division of Family Practice Board of Directors, and Chair on the Division’s Continuity of Care Committee. Welcome Shana and Fiona!

About the BC-PHCRN

The BC Primary Health Care Research Network (BC-PHCRN) is one of 11 Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations (PIHCI) networks in Canadian jurisdictions designed to support evidence-informed transformation of the delivery of primary and integrated health care.

The goal of the BC-PHCRN is to encourage, facilitate, and support collaborations between government, health authorities, health professionals, patients and researchers. The BC-PHCRN aims to seek out, develop, and facilitate adoption of health care innovations to improve BC’s health care delivery system.

The BC-PHCRN is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

BC-PHCRN is an open network and welcomes individuals from all sectors involved in primary health care – researchers, patients, health care providers and policy makers. To join, visit our website.

Follow us on Twitter @BC_PHCRN.

CIHR to launch SPOR PIHCI Programmatic Grant competition on July 26, 2017

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) are launching a series of Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovation Network (PIHCIN) funding opportunities.

The first Programmatic (Multi-year) Grant opportunity will be launched on July 26, 2017. Funding is available for up to $250,000/year for four years. The CIHR application deadline will be November 28, 2017, and a letter of intent will be due to the provincial PIHCI networks on August 11, 2017. Matching funding will be required (up to 50% in kind). For further details go to our funding opportunities page.

Recruiting primary care physicians in Metro Vancouver for a study of return to activity after concussion

Best practices for concussion care have evolved rapidly. The aim of this study is to learn what support family physicians need to implement new evidence-based clinical guidelines for concussion and whether this support translates into improved patient outcomes.

Benefits to primary care practices for participating:

  • Receive updated concussion management guidelines, synthesized and distilled for primary care
  • Mainpro+ continuing medical education Group Learning credits
  • Assistance with tracking patient recovery

Time requirements for participants: Attend two education sessions (60 minutes each, spaced months apart) and 5-7 minutes for completing a brief web-based post-encounter form after seeing a new patient with concussion (financial compensation provided).

Primary care practices with at least 3 physicians, located in Vancouver, North Vancouver, Richmond, Burnaby, Surrey, New Westminster, or the Tri-Cities, are eligible. To learn more or enroll, contact 604-714-4108 or the Principal Investigator at

Postdoc opportunities at University of Manitoba and Memorial University

The University of Manitoba is accepting applications for a 14-month Postdoctoral Fellowship year, funded by the CIHR Training Modernization Start-up Grant in Health Services and Policy Research. The fellowship is being offered in partnership between the University of Manitoba Max Rady College of Medicine; and Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living (MHSAL). University of Manitoba program areas leading this opportunity include the Manitoba Training Program in Health Services Research ), and Manitoba Centre for Health Policy. More information

Applications are invited for a full-time Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Centre for Rural Health Studies and Primary Healthcare Research Unit, Discipline of Family Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland. The fellow will work on projects related to rural health studies and primary
healthcare, under the supervision of Dr. Shabnam Asghari. More information

Join us! Applications to be part of a Patient Advisory Panel to advise the BC-PHCRN are now being accepted

The BC-PHCRN is developing a Patient Advisory Panel to provide input on our strategic decisions and priorities; provide advice to research teams across the country; and screen research projects and proposals to determine alignment with patient priorities.

The Panel will create its own terms of reference with support from the BC-PHCRN staff. The Panel will also help to create a process to get broad patient input on provincial research priorities.

Level of Engagement
This opportunity is at the level of collaborate on the spectrum of engagement. The promise to you is that the research partner will work together with you to formulate solutions and incorporate your advice and recommendations into the decisions to the maximum extent possible.


  • Experience accessing primary care as a patient, family member, or informal caregiver (note: primary care refers to non-emergency health care, such as health care services provided by a family doctor or nurse practitioner)
  • Have access to a computer and be able to review emails and research applications on-line
  • Experience as a member of a research team would be an asset but is not required
  • Priority will be given to ensuring that patient partners are inclusive of the diverse communities and individuals who access primary health care services

The placement process for this opportunity may include an informal interview between the patient partner and the BC-PHCRN.


  • Vacancies: Up to 8 patients
  • Term: One year with the option to renew
  • Location: The work of the Panel Advisory Panel will be conducted primarily via teleconference, will the possibility of future in-person, or video-conference meetings in regional centres located within each health authority. Much of the business of the group will be conducted on an ongoing basis outside of regular meetings (e.g. through email correspondence, document/grant review).
  • Time Commitment: The time commitment is approximately 3-6 hours a month and is flexible as there are various tasks throughout the year.
  • Training: Patient partners will be invited to participate in some training (e.g. related to patient-oriented research and review of grant applications).

Pre-approved travel expenses if there are in-person meetings or travel to regional centres.

The BC-PHCRN is one of 11 research networks across Canada part of the Canadian Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations Network (PIHCIN) launched by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR) program, to support evidence-informed transformation of the delivery of primary and integrated health care.

The BC-PHCRN is led by a research scientist, clinician specialist, clinician family physician, and policy representatives from the Ministry of Health. There is an existing Advisory Committee of nurses, nurse practitioners, population health representatives, patients, various family physicians and specialty doctors, health authority representatives, researchers from Providence Health Care, and evaluators from various organizations. The Patient Advisory Panel will have linkages to this Advisory Committee.

The BC-PHCRN is just over a year old and is keen to have more patient involvement in all aspects of the research process! This Patient Advisory Panel will build on the ideas that were generated earlier in 2017 with a patient engagement workshop.

Interested? Apply via the Patient Voices Network, or email Melody Monro at

Tools for Primary Health Care Reform – a selection of tools identified at the Taking the Pulse of Primary Health Care Reform conference

CHSPR’s 29th annual health policy conference, March 9-10, 2017, at the Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront, explored the promise, potential, and (real) progress on primary health care reform in BC and Canada. One of the pre-conference workshops was titled Tools for Primary Health Care Reform. During this three-hour workshop, presenters and participants talked about their experiences in primary health care reform and the tools that they have used or would like to have at their disposition. This toolbox includes links to a number of tools for scale and spread of primary care innovations, and related items including patient engagement and practice reports.

Speaker slides and abstracts are also available from the conference, which attracted almost 200 attendees from the clinical, research, and policymaker communities. A second workshop on patient engagement brought patients together with clinicians, policymakers, and researchers to discuss research ideas and priorities to support broader patient engagement in primary care research.

Health research and policy postdoc opportunities (KT and patient safety/human factors)

Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME), University of Toronto with North York General Hospital (NYGH)

Two positions are funded by an HSPR Training Modernization Start Up Grant. Successful applicants will have the opportunity to be part of the NYGH innovation team and will lead projects with tangible outcomes such as improved patient safety, improved healthcare design, optimal preventive care and disease management, reduced preventable hospital admissions, lower rates of ED visits and lower complication rates. Successful applicants will also participate in a comprehensive professional development program within IHPME to develop skills in leading and managing change and adaptive leadership.

The two positions are as follows:

  1. Under the supervision of Dr. Steini Brown (Director, IHPME), Dr Donna McRitchie (VP, Medical and Academic Affairs, NYGH) and Dr Monica Kastner, the successful applicant will have an opportunity to lead projects which will address challenges, such as multi-morbidity and fragmentation of care, experienced by older adults with complex health needs and their providers. Fellows will gain experience in applying KT science and practice principles to ensure that findings are implemented and used in practice to directly benefit patients and providers in the NYGH community and beyond.
  2. Under the supervision of Dr. Steini Brown (Director, IHPME), Dr Donna McRitchie (VP, Medical and Academic Affairs, NYGH) and Dr Patricia Trbovich, the successful applicant will have an opportunity to lead projects which proactively identify factors that contribute to patient safety issues. Fellows will gain expertise in specific clinical topics, research study design, the application of human factors methods and analysis and designing evidence based solutions. Fellows will contribute to new knowledge and gain skills that help assess the uptake and feasibility of patient safety solutions.

The positions are available from September 2017 and are one year in length. Fellows will be expected to spend 75% of their time at NYGH. Each Fellow will receive a salary of $70,000, plus 10% benefits as well as a professional development allowance of $10,000. Applicants must have completed their doctoral training within 5 years of beginning the program.

Interested applicants are asked to submit a CV and a statement of interest related to one (or both) of the available positions to Dr Rhonda Cockerill ( by June 15, 2017.

Apply Now: CIHR Health System Impact Postdoctoral Fellowships

A NEW funding opportunity for PhD graduates (post-docs) who are interested in applying their research and analytic talents to critical challenges faced by health system and related organizations outside of the traditional scholarly setting, and who want to benefit from professional work experience, mentorship from health system and academic leaders, and professional development training in an expanded set of competencies (e.g., leadership, project management, change management) designed to accelerate professional growth. To learn more, visit the Health System Impact Fellowship funding opportunity.