Addressing equity in clinical trials: development of a rural clinical trials research program

Clinical trials are essential for the development and optimization of medical therapies. However, clinical trial access is limited in rural and small communities in Canada. This is an important health equity issue as rural populations often to not have the opportunity to access investigational therapies and clinical trial results often do not reflect the health of rural populations. This project, which is funded by the CANTRAIN Clinical Trials Training Program, Michael Smith Health Research BC, the Accelerating Clinical Trials Consortium and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. This project aims to build a rural clinical trials program in the East Kootenay region of British Columbia. It will build develop partnerships among educational institutions, Interior Health and community organizations. A community advisory board will be developed to seek community input into the program development and clinical trial selection. The principal investigator is Dr. Denise Jaworsky who is a rural general internal medicine specialist, but this project is a collaboration among a team of researchers from Interior Health, UBC and College of the Rockies. This project aims to improve clinical trial access for populations in the East Kootenay region and develop models and best practices to support rural clinical trial access in other rural communities in Canada.

Implementing a restorative approach in long term care to heal and learn from the harms of COVID-19

This Health System Impact Fellowship is co-funded by CIHR, Michael Smith Health Research BC, and the Interior Health Authority (health system partner), to help build BC’s health policy research capacity for the integration of policy research into decision-making.


It has become increasingly common that aging members of our population require healthcare services to support them. Many Canadians spend their final years in long-term care (LTC) facilities as a result. LTC facilities have been under scrutiny in recent years with respect to quality of care and inadequacy of resources, along with concerns about their increased privatization. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the vulnerabilities of the state of LTC facilities across Canada. There is broad acknowledgement that improvements must be implemented to make the experience and safety of residents of LTC facilities better.


Our intended research is interested in understanding the experiences of harm that residents, family members, and healthcare workers have encountered, particularly those during the COVID-19 pandemic. This proposed project will aim to listen to the stories of patients, families and healthcare workers who have been adversely affected by restricted visitation policies, the loss of residents, and burnout, as a way to better understand the context of LTC, to facilitate a Restorative Community of Care for healing, and to learn from these situations to inform subsequent action.


This initiative will be facilitated using a restorative approach and will be comprised of three phases: listening to understand, planning for future actions, and reporting and evaluating the results of this process. A restorative approach is a principle-based approach that fosters a relational way of thinking and being and is carried out through facilitated dialogue with the intention of speaking openly about the harm experienced and to work together to heal from that harm and to learn from the past to improve the future. This approach supports respect, dignity and mutual care and concern between people, communities, healthcare providers, and the health system.


Source: CIHR Funding Decisions Database

Advancing anti-colonial implementation science and knowledge translation with the xacqanaǂ itkiniǂ (Many Ways of Working on the Same Thing) research team

xacqanaǂ itkiniǂ (Many Ways of Working on the Same Thing) is a long-term working relationship between Ktunaxa First Nation, Interior Health, University of Victoria, and University of British Columbia – Okanagan. Over the last three years, the xacqanal itkinil team developed a new approach to research that is led by Ktunaxa peoples and reflects Ktunaxa culture. We tested this approach in Ktunaxa communities by hosting a series of gatherings and land-based activities, where community members shared their vision for a healthy community. The team recently received a five-year CIHR Project Grant to build off the first phase of the partnership to work towards Ktunaxa Nation’s vision for a healthy community. We will work with community partners to co-design and implement interventions (i.e. programs, policies, practices), with the aim of transforming the culture of the health system to better serve Indigenous peoples and the wider population. This fellowship will directly contribute to monitoring and evaluating the interventions and their implementation to understand what is working well, what challenges are encountered along the way and how they are addressed, as well as how this work can be carried forward into the future.