Supporting researchers to improve patient care and outcomes: 2021 Health Professional-Investigator awardees

9 December 2021

Now in its fifth year, the Health Professional-Investigator (HP-I) award is dedicated to support health professionals who are actively involved in patient care to conduct and apply research relevant to health and/or the health system to ultimately improve health outcomes in BC and beyond.

The 2021 award competition invited a broad range of health professionals to apply, and this year recipients included psychologists, psychiatric nurses, physicians and dietitians.

One of the award recipients is registered psychologist Nichole Fairbrother, who is based at Island Health and BC’s Women’s Health Research Institute. Her work is focused on identifying more accurate perinatal anxiety disorder screening tools. “I am thrilled to have been awarded this funding which will support the identification of accurate screening tools for perinatal anxiety. Identifying these tools will facilitate the implementation of universal screening across the province. This award will have a dramatic influence on my ability to have a positive impact on the mental health of people in BC during pregnancy and the postpartum period,” says Fairbrother.

This year’s awardees specialize in a broad range of health topics including cancer, substance use, lung disease and infertility. Researchers are tackling health challenges across BC such as delivering virtual mental health support to people with diabetes in remote settings, improving screening tools for surgical patients to reduce strokes, and improving organ supply for patients waiting for a transplant.

View all 2021 Health Professional-Investigator award recipients

Partnering with other organizations is an integral part in funding Michael Smith Health Research BC awards. Partnerships help build research capacity, fill strategic gaps in the health system, and optimize investments in health research. Our partnerships help grow the research talent and capacity BC needs to address health system priorities.

This year, we have partnered with several organizations to co-fund five HP-I awards including a new partner, Cystic Fibrosis Canada. They are co-funding Dr. Jonathan Rayment’s award, which will focus on the development of easy-to-perform tools to help doctors diagnose and monitor lung disease in children.

“We are pleased to partner with Michael Smith Health Research BC to support outstanding researchers in British Columbia who are doing world class research in the field of cystic fibrosis,” says Dr. Paul Eckford, program director, research, Cystic Fibrosis Canada. “Collaborating and co-funding provides us with the unique opportunity to double the impact of our donors’ dollars, going further in our quest to lengthen and improve the lives of Canadians living with cystic fibrosis.”

“Congratulations to our award recipients. The variety of research areas covered by this year’s HP-I awards is truly exciting, and we hope this funding will help BC health professionals bridge the gap between research and care. We remain committed to strategic investments that ultimately generate and use research for better health and healthcare in BC and beyond,” says Dr. Chonnettia Jones, vice president, research at Michael Smith Health Research BC.

Through all our funding programs, Michael Smith Health Research BC continues to practice evidence-informed health research funding in ways that brings national and international best practices into the BC health research system.

Congratulations to all the awardees!

Thank you to all 2021 Health Professional-Investigator award partners:

To continue our work to strengthen research capacity across the province, support evidence-informed decision making in health care, increase the competitiveness of our life sciences sector, and maximize the social and economic benefits of health research in BC, our health research funding and BC SUPPORT Unit teams are working together to develop a plan to engage with patient, public and community partners to integrate their perspectives and priorities into the review process for future funding competitions, starting with the 2022 Health Professional-Investigator competition.

Learn more about the Health Professional-Investigator Program. The 2022 competition will be open soon, so stay tuned.

Read about the Health Research BC suite of funding programs.