About Us


The BC SUPPORT (Support for People & Patient-Oriented Research & Trials) Unit supports patient-oriented research throughout BC to answer research questions that matter to patients and improve health care.


We are one of the SUPPORT Units established across Canada as part of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research, a national initiative led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. We partner with the provincial government, funding organizations, health authorities, universities, researchers, patients, health care providers and health system decision-makers to improve health care.

Find support

Unsure of where to start? We’re happy to talk to you about our services.

Email us at bcsupportunit@healthresearchbc.ca.


Find your region

A provincial coordinating office supports patient-oriented research activities across BC. The office works in partnership with regional supports within Vancouver, Fraser, Interior, Northern and Vancouver Island health authorities.


Contact your local centre:

I am a researcher and/or on a research team

Are you a researcher interested in conducting patient-oriented research? Find other people to collaborate with, and get access to tools, resources and information about patient-oriented research in BC.


I am a patient partner/potential patient partner

Patient partners are people who contribute to health research by sharing personal experience of a health issue, or their informal caregivers, including family and friends. We can help connect you with patient partner opportunities on research teams.


Our work


We bridge the gap between research evidence and health care practice by:

  • Providing patient-oriented research support services
  • Strengthening and maintaining BC’s capacity in patient-oriented research
  • Engaging stakeholders as active partners in both research and its use in health care practice and policy

Our services


  • Data platforms and services
  • Learning health systems
  • Capacity development
  • Patient engagement

Our work is grounded in equity, diversity and inclusion, sex- and gender-based analysis, and Indigenous health research.


Our Advisory Council


The BC SUPPORT Unit advisory council provides governance and oversight to the BC SUPPORT Unit. Committee members are nominated for their diverse skills and expertise. Members represent patients, health care providers, researchers and health system decision-makers. The advisory council includes five patient partners from each of BC’s regional health authorities. These individuals comprise the Patient Partner Working group, who represent the patient voice that guides the BC SUPPORT Unit’s work.

Martha MacLeod

Chair, Advisory Council

Lin Chen

Advisory Council member and Chair of the Patient Partner Advisory Working Group

Ellen Chesney

Advisory Council member

Courtney Defriend

Advisory Council member

Linda Dempster

Advisory Council

Greg Haljan

Advisory Council member

Alison Hoens

Advisory Council member

Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox

Advisory Council member

Sherri Mytopher

Advisory Council member and Patient Partner Advisory Working Group

Lisa Ridgway

Advisory Council member and Patient Partner Advisory Working Group

Anni Rychtera

Advisory Council member and Patient Partner Advisory Working Group

Swapnil Shah

Advisory Council member and Patient Partner Advisory Working Group

Martin Wright

Advisory Council member



We are supported by the by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research under Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research initiative. The BC SUPPORT Unit is also made possible through collaboration with BC Ministry of Health.