Putting Patients First 2023

Changing landscapes and learning together

for sustainable patient-oriented research


24 October 2023
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront, Vancouver

Hybrid event. See below for hybrid sessions.

About Putting Patients First

The best care is delivered by health systems that listen to and act on patients’ voices. That’s why it’s vital for people with lived experience and communities to participate in research and help put this evidence into practice.


Putting Patients First (PPF) is an annual conference that fosters collaboration and learning about patient experiences in the health system. Join us on October 24 in Vancouver, BC, to help build a provincial care system with patients and families at the centre. There is no cost to attend.


This year’s theme is Changing landscapes and learning together for sustainable patient-oriented research.”



  • To host the Putting Patients First conference as a provincial event advancing the Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR)
  • To imagine the future of patient-oriented research in BC, including sustainability and growth.
  • To reflect on the work on and impact of SPOR throughout the province and Canada
  • To offer an opportunity for collaboration on patient-oriented research in BC and ways to bridge the gap between research evidence and health care practice and policy

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Amy Lang

Executive Director of Patient Oriented Research, Canadian Institutes of Health Research


Dr. Amy Lang is the Executive Director of Patient Oriented Research at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada’s federal health research funding agency. As Executive Director, Amy provides leadership and expertise for Canada’s Strategy for Patient Oriented Research and other patient-oriented research initiatives across CIHR.


Amy has spent her career in government working to embed people’s priorities and lived experiences into public policies and services. She founded Health Quality Ontario’s patient and public engagement program, in four years shifting a highly technical organization to one where patient engagement was ‘the way to do business’. More recently Amy led the development of Ontario Health’s first patient and caregiver and stakeholder engagement strategies and its French Language Services framework, with significant emphasis on equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism. A settler based in Toronto, Amy is grateful to live, work and raise her family in the traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Annishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples.


Amy has a BA and MA in Sociology from McGill University and a Ph.D. in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Plenary Speaker: Lydia-Joi Marshall

President of the Board of Directors, Black Health Alliance


Lydia-Joi Marshall is a proud Caribbean-Canadian woman who champions issues in health equity. Lydia-Joi currently serves as the President of the Board of Directors at the Black Health Alliance, a not-for-profit organization that works tirelessly to advocate for those who have been marginalized by anti-Black racism.


She lends her expertise from her BSc in Biology from Western University and MSc in Human Genetics from Howard University.


Lydia-Joi consistently strives to challenge diverse groups to examine systemic disparities, with a focus on tissue and organ donation equity. This work has been elevated through many platforms, including multi-disciplinary published research, leading dynamic international workshops, and most recently as a TEDxToronto speaker.


Whether in the lab or travelling the globe, Lydia-Joi embodies the spirit of unity and growth. She brings this energy to all she pursues, with the intention of bringing a call to action to our collective call for equity.

Plenary Speaker: Dr. Erin Michalak

Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Champion, BC SUPPORT Unit
Network Lead and Founder, CREST.BD


Erin (she/her/hers) gratefully settled in British Columbia in Canada in 2001. She carries her mother’s surname, Michalak (pronounced mee-hal-ak), and is of Polish heritage on her grandfather’s side. Erin lives in Xwesam (Robert’s Creek) which means “when the water bubbles” according to local shishalh elders of the Coast Salish peoples. She lives there with her husband, Richard, an ever-growing collection of farm animals, and is a keen mushroom forager in the fall.


Erin’s educational background is in psychology, with a PhD from the University of Wales College of Medicine in the UK. Her research expertise lies in lived experience engagement in research, mental health, digital technologies, knowledge translation and quality of life. She has published over 150 scientific articles and several books and been awarded the 2018 CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Transformation in Patient Engagement.

Plenary Speaker: Harlan Pruden

Co-founder, Two-Spirit Dry Lab

Indigenous Knowledge Translation Lead, Chee Mamuk, BC Centre for Disease Control

Managing Editor, Two-Spirit Journal

Advisory Member, Institute of Gender and Health, Canadian Institutes of Health Research


Harlan Pruden (pronouns – anything said mindfully and respectfully) is nehiyô/First Nations Cree who works with and for the Two-Spirit community locally, nationally, and internationally. Harlan is a co-founder of the Two-Spirit Dry Lab and the Indigenous Knowledge Translation Lead at Chee Mamuk, an Indigenous health program at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control. Harlan is also the Managing Editor of TwoSpiritJournal.com and an advisory member for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Gender and Health.

Conference Sessions

We are excited to feature a variety of sessions on patient-oriented research. The session list and presenters will be updated on an ongoing basis. A full program guide with sessions and times will be available ahead of the event.


Health data for all: How public engagement drives the work of Health Data Research Network Canada (HDRN Canada)


Applications of Indigenous Cultural Safety Frameworks in Patient-Oriented Research


Vision to Reality: Envisioning the Future of Patient and Public Engagement in Research


Learning together: Building trainee capacity in patient-oriented research


“There is Strength in Numbers!” How an Action Group of People Living with Dementia Developed a Guide for Taking Collective Action

  • Presenter: Dr. Mariko Sakamoto, Assistant Professor, UVIC School of Nursing
  • Organizer: BC SUPPORT Island Centre
  • Format: Hybrid


Learning Health Systems 101

  • Organizer: BC SUPPORT Unit
  • Format: Hybrid


Building knowledge together: Cultivating kinship with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers to engage in research and embody Indigenous measures of success at a kidney research network


Program guide

Full program guide will be available ahead of the event. Check here for updates.


Who can attend?

Patients, people with lived experience, health researchers, care providers and health system decision makers are welcome to attend.

Where will the conference take place?

Putting Patients First is a hybrid event. It will be hosted in-person in Vancouver, BC at the Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront. Please see below on information on hybrid sessions.


Pinnacle Hotel Harbourfront
1133 W Hastings St, Vancouver, BC V6E 3T3

How can I register?

Registration is now open. Please fill out and submit the registration form.

If you cannot access the registration form or need support, please send an email to with your name and interest in attending PPF 2023 to: ppf@healthresearchbc.ca.

Are you accepting abstracts?

No, we are not accepting abstracts for the 2023 conference.

I have a question. Who do I contact?

Please email your questions to: ppf@healthresearchbc.ca.

Where can I learn about previous years of PPF?

Organized in partnership with:

  • British Columbia Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research (BC NEIHR)
  • Canadian Primary Care Research Network
  • Health Data Research Network Canada
  • Passerelle – SPOR National Training Entity