Momentum continues on Directions for Health Research in BC

Last fall, we shared Directions for Health Research in BC, a document that represents the culmination of a concerted effort to develop a provincial strategy that will support greater coherence and a common understanding of priorities among BC’s health research community.

MSFHR is supporting the strategy currently by acting as a central coordinating body that shares information about the current status of actions outlined in the strategy.

As noted last October, work is underway in BC by various groups to advance the actions outlined within Directions for Health Research in BC. Additional progress has been made in the past few months.

In November 2014, the provincial government published the final report of the working group for the BC Centre for Data Innovation. In this report, the working group recommended that BC establish a centre of excellence for data that will foster innovation and collaboration between citizens, researchers, the private sector, and government. This is a positive move in support of one of the key actions outlined in Directions for Health Research in BC.

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit was also identified as a driver of several of the actions outlined in the provincial health research strategy. The unit is moving forward, with Bev Holmes seconded from her role as MSFHR’s Vice-President, Research & Impact to be the interim leader, starting February 2. She will develop an interim action plan, consult with key stakeholders and ensure the SUPPORT Unit’s work integrates with other provincial initiatives, including the academic health sciences network and the BC health research strategy.

MSFHR has also been asked to provide support services to the SPOR initiative during the initial development.  The exact services have yet to be determined.

The BC Ethics Harmonization Initiative reached an important milestone in late 2014. On December 1, a new model for harmonized ethics review of minimal-risk studies began pilot implementation. The model has been endorsed by the senior leaders of the partner organizations for a six-month pilot implementation across their research ethics boards.

MSFHR will continue to share updates with its stakeholders, including details of soon-to-be-established working groups aimed at advancing other actions in Directions for Health Research.

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