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Volunteer with REACH BC

REACH BC is a non-profit initative of Michael Smith Health Research BC - British Columbia's research agency. An online provincial platform where you can learn about health research volunteer opportunities taking place right now across BC!

Who can volunteer?

Researchers are looking for all kinds of people to participate in their research studies. People with or without medical conditions can volunteer to participate in research in many different ways. 

As a volunteer, you can participate as either a patient or a control (a person without the health condition being studied).

Volunteer in a health research study

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Complete an online study

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Test a medical device

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Donate blood or tissue for research

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Participate in a clinical trial for a drug

As a Patient Partner, you will work with researchers to contribute a patient or caregiver perspective to areas such as study design and prioritization of research activities. Use your voice to inform future health research studies and their processes.

Become a patient partner

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Join a research team to help think of new questions and inform research opportunities

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Join a research advisory committee and share a patient's point of view

How It Works


Tell us about yourself

Start by answering some questions about who you are, your health research interests, any conditions you may have, and how we can contact you. It's free to sign up and anyone 16+ in BC can join!


Get matched with research opportunities

Once matched you'll receive a notification about the potential research opportunity. You can respond and let the research team know if you're interested.


Connect with research teams

Before choosing to participate, you'll be put in touch with the researcher to ask any questions you might have. You can also browse the database to find other studies you might be interested in.


Search for studies before committing

Want to learn more about research happening in BC? You can search the REACH BC directory without making any commitment. This is a great way to learn about the important health research in BC.

Search volunteer opportunities

Create your Volunteer profile today!

Participate in health research studies today by creating your REACH BC volunteer profile with a personalized dashboard showing all your study matches.

Find research opportunities in BC

Discover health areas that interest you by searching for medical conditions or health topics on our platform.

Frequently Asked Questions

REACH BC is an online platform that connects volunteers like you with health researchers across British Columbia.

You can help make a real difference in other people's lives by participating in a health research study.

Health research is vital for expanding medical knowledge and making new scientific discoveries to treat diseases and improve health care. But researchers are unable to do their work without the help of volunteers to participate in their studies. You can also help share your experiences as a patient and get involved in the creation of the study itself, as a Patient Partner to help improve other participants' research study experience.

Any resident of British Columbia, over the age of 16.

Most of the positions are volunteer-based, however, from time to time we do offer some small compensation as a form of goodwill for specific studies. You get to help yourself and help others by improving the health care of Canadians and often you get to learn more about your own health.

There are a few different ways in which you can get involved.

  1. Participate in a Research Study - e.g. complete a survey
  2. Participate in a Clinical Trial - e.g. test a new drug or medical device
  3. Become a Patient Partner - contribute to what types of research questions should be asked and how the research study is conducted

A Research Study is a science-based approach to advancing health care. Typically, they examine the effects of certain interventions—like a new treatment, drug, device, or behavior. The goal is to answer specific questions related to preventing, diagnosing, or treating a disease or disorder.

A clinical trial is a type of research study that typically involves an intervention that examines testing the way patients are treated for their condition. This could involve testing a new drug, procedure, or other intervention—like making a change to someone's lifestyle through exercise or diet. Generally, this opportunity is for people who are exploring new treatments under the guidance of their medical team or those who wish to participate as a healthy control.

To learn more about clinical trials visit It Starts With Me

Patient partners are a bit like volunteer research assistants, but the difference is they help in the creation of the actual study itself by providing feedback to the Researcher of the study, through the perspective of a patient so that it is “patient-oriented”. They may help researchers identify and prioritize research topics or questions, design studies, develop grant proposals, prepare for the execution of a study, collect data, analyze and interpret data, or translate or disseminate knowledge to improve the overall experience of the study. Questions about being a patient partner in research?

Contact the BC SUPPORT Unit, a multi-partner organization created to support, streamline and increase patient-oriented research throughout British Columbia. There are regional contacts across the province who are happy to help! Find your regional contact here.

Create your REACH BC Volunteer Online profile here, and select which opportunities and health categories you are interested in. You will then be matched to open studies and have the opportunity to speak directly with the Researcher in charge of the study to learn more about the next steps, to become a participant in the study.

All research opportunities are posted by researchers located in British Columbia and can take place anywhere in the province. You'll let us know whether you want to hear about research opportunities only within your region, or if you're willing to travel and want to hear about opportunities from across all regions.

Please use this map as a reference for the regions of BC.

The information you provide will be used for the following purposes:

  • Find research opportunities that match your research interests and demographic information (age, gender, location).
  • Email you a summary of your research opportunity matches.
  • To allow researchers with approved REACH BC accounts to contact you (by phone or email) about their research opportunity after you have expressed interest in their research opportunity
  • For REACH BC to evaluate the effectiveness of the platform (e.g., number of volunteers signed up, etc.).

REACH BC is firmly committed to maintaining your confidentiality, respecting your privacy, and protecting personal information as outlined in the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).

Your information will be stored on a secure encrypted server behind a firewall housed in British Columbia. You can read more about this in the Privacy Statement and Terms of Use.

REACH BC will send you weekly emails with your matched research opportunities. But we will only email you when you have been matched with a potential study. This means that you might receive emails from us less frequently if there are no research opportunities available. We will email you the monthly 'highlight study feature' showcasing some interesting new studies happening across BC!

If you do not receive any emails, it means there are no current research opportunities available that match your profile. You can update your profile to include more health areas of interest, and search the REACH BC Directory as often as you like for more opportunities.

You can log in to your REACH BC account to learn more about the opportunity. You can then choose to click "I'm interested, contact me" or delete it if you're not interested.

By clicking "I'm interested, contact me", researchers are provided with your contact details and will contact you.

If you have not been contacted, it may be because of one of the following reasons:

  • The research team has several interested volunteers to follow up with and has not been able to contact you yet.
  • The research team was unable to get a hold of you. Remember to keep your contact information up to date.
  • The research team has found all the volunteers they needed before they were able to contact you.

You can always reach out to the research team directly through the contact information provided on the research opportunity details page. REACH BC encourages researchers to follow up with all interested volunteers.

REACH BC is a non-profit initiative of Michael Smith Health Research BC - BC's research agency that helps enable and catalyze health research, throughout British Columbia. It was developed with joint input from health authorities and university partners and members of the community.

Launched in May 2020, REACH BC addresses a significant challenge for many clinical trials and health research projects in British Columbia: namely, patient and participant recruitment. The platform was originally a multi-partner demonstration project of the BC SUPPORT Unit, with additional funding from the BC Academic Health Science Network, which was developed with support from the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI). This online platform bridges the gap between the province-wide patient and research communities. The platform connects British Columbians with opportunities to participate in research and provides support for researchers in recruiting participants.

REACH BC will not release any of your personal information to third parties, participating organizations, and/or other institutions. Your information will only be available to the researcher(s) after you indicate interest in being contacted about a particular study.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at or view our privacy statement and terms of use.

Are you a Researcher?

REACH BC can help you connect with volunteers for your research studies.

Privacy and security

REACH BC will not release any of your personal information to third parties, participating organizations, and/or other institutions. Your information will only be available to the researcher(s) after you indicate interest in being contacted about a particular study.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact us or view our Privacy Statement and Terms of Use.

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