An “Exchange of Pace”: Dynamic Conference Showcases Outstanding Rural Health Research in BC

Twenty-six rapid-style presentations. One dialogue session. Three Zoom rooms. Four hours. 

The British Columbia Rural Health Research Exchange (BCRHRx) on November 18 was enough to make any event organizer or moderator sweat. But staff with the Rural Coordination Centre of British Columbia’s (RCCbcInterior Node, Jason Curran and Tracey DeLeeuw, and RCCbc’s Co-scientific Directors, Drs. Dee Taylor and Nelly Oelke, pulled off the event with aplomb. 

Over the course of two sessions, the BCRHRx showcased outstanding rural health research in British Columbia and identified gaps and opportunities for future research in this area.  

The first session, moderated by Drs. Taylor and Oelke, explored the theme, Rural Health Research in BC. Presenters’ research topics ranged from “COVID in an island community: Charting a course beyond recovery” to “Supporting Indigenous, community approaches to integrated service models for people living with HIV, Hepatitis C and/or challenges with mental health or substance use”. Nine of the 26 presenters were healthcare practitioners, while others represented academia (from UBC and UBCO), industry partners, health authorities and patient partners.  

“We were particularly pleased by the number of people who asked to present their research and the number of event registrants, which reached almost 150,” said Jason Curran, Regional Practice Lead (Research & Knowledge Translation) with RCCbc. “The presentations provided a stimulating, diverse overview of rural health research in our province. And it was fantastic to see many of RCCbc’s physician research grantees present their work.” 

The second session of the BCRHRx engaged Elders from the Okanagan Indian band and Indigenous, patient and community partners in an open discussion around the theme, Building Bridges between Patient Partners and Researchers. The dynamic conversation is one that will continue with the aim of identifying and growing ways to bridge gaps and uncover collaborative opportunities within rural health research.   

Given the success of the inaugural BCRHRx, organizers say that it will likely return next year and become a staple in RCCbc’s annual programming. 

In the meantime, you can find recordings of all Session 1 research presentations on the BCRHRx webpage. Session 2 was not recorded to enable safe and open discussion amongst panelists.