Our Researchers’ Cafés are informal gatherings of researchers, clinicians, decision-makers and patient partners.

Research teams will present their work and there will be time for networking in-between sessions. The topic for this upcoming Café is partnering for impact. We have three amazing presentations on how patient-oriented research teams have made an impact in health care in the areas of long-term care, mental health and quality of life assessments.

Researchers' Care April 2022

This year’s Café is virtual however, if you chose to come in person, we do have a limited number of seats available at Central City Offices in Surrey.

Register on the LearningHub.

Session overviews

Patient partner impacts on a project, project impacts on a patient partner, and quality improvement – More than a two-way street

The impact of the implementation of a team-based, virtual quality improvement collaborative approach to pandemic preparedness in long-term care homes in Fraser Health (PAPLOC Study)1 with patient partners as key team members is being investigated through patient-oriented implementation science. However, few inroads have been made regarding the quality of engagement and impact of projects on patient partners; for example, resident and family care partners in long-term care homes. How do patient partners feel about their participation in quality improvement and research projects in this setting?

This presentation explores several different side streets and back alleys of partnering with long-term care home residents, family care partners, care staff and managers in a virtual quality improvement collaborative comprised of quality improvement teams in six care homes and an implementation science team of the PAPLOC Study. The presentation will include findings from the study relevant to partnering for impact and reflections from a family care partner on the implementation science team, with reference to different roles resident and family partners can take along the road.


Dr. Janice Sorensen is Leader for Clinical Research in Long-Term Care and Assisted Living at Fraser Health Authority. She provides leadership in the management of capacity-building, collaboration, support and execution of research grounded in integrated knowledge translation across the sector in the region. Her role was newly established in July 2020, embedded in a Physician Services Medical Leadership team in Long-Term Care and Assisted Living. This team supports a learning health systems leadership approach with leads for research, education and quality improvement in clinical practice. Dr. Sorensen plays an active role in the strategic development of new partnerships for patient-oriented, outcomes-based, applied research.

Annette Berndt had an experience as a primary care partner for a family member with dementia and several serious chronic conditions which sparked her interest in person-centred dementia care practices, especially at the complex intersections of home, hospital and long-term care home. She appreciates the opportunity to contribute her perspective as a family care partner to Patient-Oriented Research and Quality Improvement projects aimed at enhancing life for people with dementia, their family members and staff in long-term care homes. Over the past five years, Annette has been actively involved in various initiatives related to dementia and long-term care at Vancouver Coastal Health and, more recently, Fraser Health.

Bridging the gap: strengthening connections to mental health supports

The REAFFIRM Collaborative is an interdisciplinary team committed to promoting 2S/LGBTQ+ (Two-Spirit, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, and other gender- and sexually-diverse people) health equity, in particular with regard to mental health. Existing research suggests high rates of mental health concerns among people accessing sexual health services, yet limited referral options are available. Both community members and health care providers report that it can be difficult to find mental health services, especially those that are affirming of 2S/LGBTQ+ people. This presentation will explore how we partnered with community members and a range of other collaborators and stakeholders to develop tailored resources. These resources aim to help address gaps in mental health access by improving responses to anxiety in sexual health settings and by helping to connect people with safe and affirming mental health supports.


Sarah Watt (she/her) is a Research Coordinator with the REAFFIRM Collaborative at Simon Fraser University and the Centre for Gender and Sexual Health Equity, where she supports projects promoting 2S/LGBTQ+ health equity. Sarah completed a Master of Public Health at Simon Fraser University, where her studies focused on population health and health. She is also a trained sexual health educator and has experience within a range of sexual health education and promotion settings.

Anita David has worked as a research associate and patient partner, since 2017, on community based and patient oriented research projects with social service organizations, universities and health authorities in British Columbia, Canada and internationally. Anita thrives on variety and enjoys working on multiple projects including as a Research Challenge Strategic Advisor for BC Mental Health and Substance Use Services, Advisory Group Facilitator for MindMapBC, Community Based Research Trainer for the Canadian Mental Health Association and as a Patient Partner for a Critical Illness Survival Study through the University of British Columbia. Anita also works on various projects through the Mental Health Commission of Canada including as a Mentor for the SPARK (Supporting the Promotion of Activated Research and Knowledge) program and Co-chair of the Hallway Group.

Measuring what matters in diverse populations

Quality of life assessment tools are increasingly used with the goal to improve people-centred health care. These tools consist of questions that help to measure what matters to individuals about their quality of life, health care experiences, physical, mental and social health. However, different people may not interpret and respond to such questions in the same way.

Dr. Sawatzky will share learnings from his ongoing team-based program of research on “equitable people-centred health measurement”. The research engages patients, health care providers and researchers who work together to address the question: How do we ensure that our health measurements reflect the priorities and concerns of diverse people in ways that are fair, safe, appropriate and actionable? Learn more at www.healthyqol.com.


Dr. Sawatzky’s research focuses on people-centred health measurement and the use of quality of life assessment tools in health care. The research includes projects on statistical methods for measuring person-centred outcomes, person-centred electronic health information systems, quality of life assessments in clinical practice and a palliative approach to care. He currently holds a Canada Research Chair in Person-Centred Outcomes (since 2011) as Professor at Trinity Western University School of Nursing, is Head of the Patient-Reported Outcomes Program at the Centre for Health Evaluation and Outcome Sciences, and leads the Patient-Centred Measurement Methods Cluster with the British Columbia SUPPORT Unit, a multi-partner organization that carries out patient-oriented research in order to improve health care outcomes for all patients.

Register for this year's Café. View our past virtual Researcher’s Café, titled "Building Bridges in Patient-oriented Research”. You can access the recording here.

1Mithani, A. A resident/family-centered, team-based quality improvement collaborative approach to comprehensive pandemic preparedness in long-term care homes. Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) British Columbia https://www.msfhr.org/1/award/resident-family-centered-team-based-quality-improvement-collaborative-approach-comprehensive-pandemic