What does a Volunteer Participant do?
How It Works
Start by answering some questions about who you are, your health research interests, any conditions you may have, and how we can contact you. We’ll keep your information confidential and secure. It’s free to sign up and join REACH BC.
From time to time you’ll receive notifications about potential research opportunities that may be a good fit for you. You can respond and let the research team know if you’re interested. They’ll be in touch if it’s a match.
When you become a REACH BC volunteer, you’ll gain access to more detailed information about the research opportunities in REACH BC—including contact information for the research team of specific studies.
Before choosing to participate, you can get in touch with the people running the study to ask any questions you might have.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does REACH BC do?
REACH BC is an online platform that connects volunteers like you with health researchers across British Columbia.
Why Should I join REACH BC?
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.
Who can join REACH BC?
Any resident of British Columbia, over the age of 16.
What do I get for Participating?
You get to help yourself and help others by improving the health care of Canadians and beyond. Most of the positions are volunteer based, however from time to time we do offer small compensation as a form of goodwill for specific studies.
How can I get Involved?
There are a few different ways in which you can get involved.
Participate in a Research Study e.g. complete a survey
Participate in a Clinical Trial e.g. test a new drug or medical device
Become a Patient Partner e.g. help contribute to what types of research questions should be asked and how the research study is conducted
What is a Research Study?
A Research Study is 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.
What is a Clinical Trial?
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
What is a Patient Partner Research Opportunity?
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 to translate or disseminate knowledge in order 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.
How do I Sign Up?
Create your REACH BC Volunteer Online profile here, 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 on the next steps, to become a participant in the study.
Where are the research opportunities located?
All research opportunities are posted from 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 own 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 of the regions of BC.
How does REACH BC use my personal information?
The information you provide will be used for the following purposes:
How is my personal information kept confidential and secure?
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).
How often will I receive emails from REACH BC?
REACH BC will send you your matched research opportunities on a weekly basis. But we will only email you when you’ve been matched with a potential study. This means that you might receive emails from us less frequently if there are no research opportunities available.
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.
What happens after I am matched to a research opportunity?
You can login 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 one of the following reasons:
- The research team has a number of interested volunteers to follow up with and have 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 in the research opportunity details page. REACH BC encourages researchers to follow up with all interested volunteers.
Who Governs and Funds REACH BC?
REACH BC is a provincial initiative supported by multiple partners including Michael Smith Health Research BC and the Government of British Columbia. We work closely with all of the health authorities across BC: Fraser Health, Interior Health, Northern Health, Island Health, Vancouver Coastal Health and Provincial Health Services Authority.
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 (originally a multi-partner demonstration project of the BC SUPPORT Unit, with additional funding from the BC Academic Health Science Network 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.
How You Can Make a Difference
There are many ways you can shape the future of health in BC—whether it’s joining a clinical trial to test a new medical device or a drug. You might volunteer to help researchers design questionnaires that are relevant to patients, collect data or even help develop grant proposals.
Sign up to look for research opportunities that matter to you and your family, with the possibility of becoming a research participant in a study, or collaborating with researchers as a patient partner.