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.
Fill out our inquiry form to find support.


You can also 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 patient partners from each of BC’s health regions.

Alison Hoens

Alison McLean

Anne-Marie Visockas

Chair, BC SUPPORT Unit Advisory Council

Anni Rychtera

Bernie Pauly

Courtney Defriend

Ellen Chesney

Greg Haljan

Martha MacLeod

Martin Wright

Megan O’Reilly

Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox

Swapnil Shah

Our Patient Partner Leadership Council


The Patient Partner Leadership Council is responsible for ensuring the patient partner community stays connected, and brings forward ideas that come from the partnership-ready network.

The Leadership Council is a team of five patient partners, one from each region of the province (Fraser, Interior, the North, Vancouver, and Vancouver Island) and the SUPPORT Unit Patient Engagement Lead.

Anni Rychtera (Interior region)

Kent Cadogan Loftsgard (Greater Vancouver region)

Sunny Loo (Island region)

Swapnil Shah (Fraser region)

Sherri Mytopher (Northern region)



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.