Study asks people using drugs to shape their primary care

Primary health care delivered with understanding and compassion for people who use drugs is the focus of a new Greater Victoria patient-oriented research study funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). 

Building on a previous study that examined cultural safety for hospitalized patients who use illicit drugs, the team will now study how this population experiences barriers to primary care. Health researchers from the University of Victoria’s Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC) and Royal Roads University are partnering with a diverse team that includes community partners Society of Living Illicit Drug Users (SOLID) and the Umbrella Society, as well as the Victoria Division of Family Practice and Island Health.

This study is the first patient-oriented research study supported by the BC SUPPORT Vancouver Island Regional Centre, a collaboration between UVic and Island Health, one of four regional centres in the province. The SUPPORT Unit (BC Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials Unit) is funded through a $40-million grant from CIHR with $40 million in matching grants and in-kind contributions from academic institutions, health authorities and other community partners. 

The BC SUPPORT Unit aims to foster patient-oriented research by engaging people with lived experience, which includes family members and caregivers, as research partners to guide every aspect of a study. Patient-oriented research engages patient partners from the onset—from identifying which issues to research, what questions to ask, who to ask them of, and how best to put results into practice more quickly to improve health care. It also builds multi-disciplinary teams that bring together people who provide health care, researchers and those who make decisions about health care services.

Read the full UVic media release.

karen urbanoski.
​UVic researcher Karen Urbanoski is co-leading the study. Credit: UVic Photo Services