Building a patient engagement culture at Canada’s largest health research network

How do you embed patient partners and shift culture at Canada’s largest health research network? Pride in Patient Engagement in Research (PiPER), a strategic initiative to engage patients in research at University Health Network’s (UHN) seven research institutes, is tasked with advancing that priority.

To launch the initiative, PiPER is holding an inaugural Research Day October 5, 2023, open to everyone interested in patient engagement in research. The event will feature a variety of presentations, from a keynote speech to interesting posters, story sharing, exhibits, video abstracts, an art show and more. The highlight? The launch of the Patient Engagement in Research Toolkit designed to make it transparent on how to engage patients, roles, training and more.

“It’s exciting for us as UHN is getting in the game,” says Dr. Cathy Craven, academic lead of PiPER and an OSSU board member. “We have a lot of nonclinical researchers so the concept of involving patients is new to them and requires a cultural shift. Patients have been involved in quality of care, the health system and health care quality areas in the past but this is fairly new in research.”

With approximately 1,167 principal investigators, 287 post-doctoral researchers, 1,139 learners and 2,549 research staff at seven locations, this initiative is significant and a key priority for UHN. It will help to standardize patient engagement across the network.

“We have some super users and some newbies, people who ask what is patient engagement to those with own SPOR unit like Diabetes Action Canada,” says Dr. Craven.

The event, with 350 in-person spots, will be held at the University of Toronto’s Hart House. The organizing team of more than 20 patient partners, scientists, students and staff is excited to bring together a diverse group to network, engage and learn about the value of patient engagement in research.

Find out more here.