A health research strategy for BC

Health and wellness depend on many things, including where we live, the work we do, and our network of family and friends. Our health also depends on our genetic makeup and our ability to access high-quality and effective health care. While we can’t control all of these variables, we can improve our health with the knowledge gained and applied through research.

Health research is the engine that drives innovation in our health system and improvement in the health of our populations. It is the origin of new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches and it helps us make informed decisions about the most effective treatments. It takes place and is used in many settings — from university labs, hospitals, community centres, and private companies, to our homes, schools and workplaces. Its purpose ranges from understanding biological processes and the causes of disease, to assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of health system policies and practices, and generating evidence about how to stay well.

A vibrant health research enterprise is critical to a healthy population and a sustainable health system. British Columbia (BC) has come a long way over the past decade and now has many areas of research excellence. But to achieve the best health for British Columbians, and the economic and social benefits gained from both health research and a healthy population, we need to strengthen our health research system by:

It is clear that to achieve success in these three areas, health research stakeholders will need to work in close collaboration. Directions for Health Research in BC represents an important first step, with more than 1,000 people from across a broad range of sectors, organizations and communities providing input on its content, and an advisory board of thought leaders guiding its development.

The future of health research in BC

BC has the potential to advance in all areas of health research thanks to provincial investments and the additional funding and other resources these investments have attracted. Trends in BC and in the broader context underscore the importance of developing coherence in our health research enterprise, and a common understanding of our priorities, to capitalize on this potential.

Broad consultations with the community and an analysis of the environment have led to the framework for action presented here. Many of the actions listed in this strategy are already underway and some will be facilitated with the establishment of BC’s patient-oriented research unit, part of CIHR’s national strategy.

Strategic directions and actions. To bring our vision to life, we need to:

  1. Develop and enhance key foundations that support the creation and use of knowledge.
  2. Create a culture of inquiry and innovation across sectors that encourages health research and its use.
  3. Make BC a hub for world-class research that makes a difference.

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