Members of the public joined some of Nova Scotia’s leading primary healthcare researchers to help set the direction for future initiatives in this vitally important area of health research. BRIC NS, Building Research for Integrated Primary Healthcare, hosted the citizen-engagement event in the community room of the Barrington Street Superstore in Halifax on April 26, 2017.
Kylie Peacock and Larry Baxter, current primary health care research patient advisors, shared their own experiences in being involved with research projects with the audience. Larry Baxter said, “I have been involved in a variety of research projects, and I’m always amazed at the creative insights we get when a community is truly engaged in the research. Not only do I learn from the experience but the community gains, too.” Similarly, Kylie Peacock said, “Being involved in research has been a new and exciting experience for me. I’ve enjoyed learning about the research process and contributing my ideas as a citizen representative to inform future decisions for the health of Nova Scotians. It’s been great to be part of a collaborative team that offers a platform to share your healthcare experiences in order to inform research and future decisions.”
Beverley Lawson, Director of BRIC NS, described how patients can participate. “We are looking for citizens and patients to get involved as research advisors, not research subjects or participants. We’re looking for your input, not your data.” There are currently opportunities to get involved in research about mental health, chronic disease, community-based health supports, long-term care, and difficulties finding a family doctor.
The Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit (MSSU) was also on hand to provide extra opportunities for patient and citizen support to get involved in research.
This was the first of a series of BRIC NS-hosted citizen-engagement workshops. Input from these sessions will inform BRIC NS-affiliated researchers as they form teams and develop research proposals to improve the quality and outcomes of integrated primary care for people with, or at risk of developing, complex health care needs.