Warren Brock

Communications Manager

Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management, Southern Medical Program
Office: Reichwald Health Sciences Centre
Phone: 250.807.8601
Email: warren.brock@ubc.ca


Participants needed to help develop solutions and improve long-term patient outcomes

In British Columbia, large rehabilitation centers that provide ongoing care for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) are in Vancouver. However, many individuals with SCI live outside of the lower mainland. Since local factors are known to play a role in care delivery it is anticipated that individuals with SCI living in the Interior of BC may face unique challenges for managing their health.

Following a SCI there are several autonomic disturbances that occur including, but not limited to, autonomic dysreflexia, temperature dysregulation, orthostatic hypotension, neurogenic bladder/bowel, and sexual dysfunction. Furthermore, there are several secondary health conditions occurring in individuals with SCI. Depending on the severity and location of injury, secondary health conditions can range from fatigue and pain to diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It is not surprising, therefore, that the ongoing care for individuals living with SCI must take into consideration the management of secondary health and autonomic complications

Led by Principal Investigator Dr. Chris West, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management, an interdisciplinary team of researchers, clinicians, graduate students, and medical students are seeking insight into the healthcare experiences of individuals living with SCI in the Interior of BC. The long-term vision is to work with the SCI community to develop solutions to improve outcomes for patients with SCI.

The primary goals of the study are to:

  1. Understand where the current gaps are in relation to care for autonomic disturbances and offsetting secondary health conditions via a short survey that all people living with SCI within the B.C. interior will be invited to complete.
  2. Determine where SCI residents are receiving their care, whether it is locally or in the lower mainland.

Currently the project is recruiting individuals with spinal cord injury that live within the B.C. Interior to complete a 15 minute electronic survey to share their experiences. All information will be kept completely confidential.

To learn more or participate in the study, please contact study lead and Southern Medical Program student Lisa Renaud at LRenaud@student.ubc.ca or west.lab@ubc.ca.

2021 Michal Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar: Dr. Christine Voss

Dr. Christine Voss

Dr. Christine Voss has received a 2021 Scholar Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) in partnership with Interior Health (IH) and the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management (CCDPM).

The CCDPM has partnered with IH and the MSFHR, as part of a new funding venture, to help advance clinical health science collaborations between IH and UBC Okanagan.

Dr. Voss’s work will focus on physical activity and the clinical management of chronic diseases in children living in rural and remote communities across the Interior Health region.

“The award allows me to pursue excellence in all aspects of my clinical research endeavors, ranging from partnership building with clinicians and patients, to training the next generation of health researchers,” says Voss, assistant professor with the UBC Department of Pediatrics and investigator with the CCDPM. “I am thrilled to receive a MSFHR Scholar Award and to partner with Interior Health for my clinical research going forward.”

The MSFHR Scholar Program supports early career researchers to establish independent research careers, develop research teams, and advance cutting-edge health solutions.

“Interior Health is extremely pleased to be a partner in funding for Dr. Christine Voss,” says Dr. Devin Harris, Medical Director, Quality, Patient Safety and Research, Interior Health. “In partnership with IH physicians and staff, her research will impact health and wellness for children and families in our region, and strengthen our research collaboration with the Southern Medical Program. Congratulations to Dr. Voss on this award for her achievements in research to advance health care.”

Voss and her research team will examine current practices and attitudes towards physical activity promotion and ultimately develop and implement new approaches to help children with chronic conditions lead more active lives.

For more information about the award and other award recipients, visit the MSFHR website.

Incubator program partners clinicians and allied health professionals with researchers at UBC Okanagan

From enhancing primary care for cancer patients to monitoring compliance with screening guidelines for cervical and breast cancer, researchers and students at UBC Okanagan have combined forces with health care professionals to tackle current and emerging health care challenges.

The new collaborations are a direct result of the Clinical Research and Quality Improvement (QI) Incubator, a partnership with the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management (CCDPM) and Interior Health (IH). The program is aimed at developing and implementing real world solutions that directly support health service delivery and patient care in the IH region and across the province.

“We’ve had tremendous engagement from clinicians and allied health professionals in formulating clinical research questions,” says Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis, CCDPM Director and Professor at UBC Okanagan. “The projects have also created opportunities for medical, graduate, and undergraduate students to immerse themselves in research that can significantly impact patient care.”

After the initial call for submissions, the following six Incubator projects are currently underway:

(1) Evaluating the effectiveness of Nabilone (Synthetic THC) for long-term care patients
Clinician Lead: Dr. Michael Koss, family physician; Investigator: Dr. Chris West

(2) Primary care dietary intervention for improved metabolic outcomes
Clinician Lead: Dr. Janet Evans, family physician, Heidi Howay, registered nurse; Investigator: Dr. Brodie Sakakibara

(3) Measuring the impact of changes in cervical cancer screening guidelines on compliance to breast cancer screening guidelines
Clinician Lead: Dr. Gayle Klammer, family physician; Investigator: Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis

(4) What Can Parents Teach Us About Routine Growth Monitoring in Infancy?
Clinician Lead: Dr. Ilona Hale, family physician, Stephanie Obara, registered nurse; Investigator: Dr. Christine Voss

(5) Towards an optimal integration of family physicians into the post-cancer treatment pathway in BC’s interior: challenges, research priorities and solutions
Clinician Lead: Dr. Siavash Atrchian, oncologist, BC Cancer; Investigator: Dr. Christine Voss

(6) Pediatric Diabetes Care in the Interior Health region
Clinician Lead: Dr. Tom Warshawski, Interior Health Medical Director for Child and Youth); Investigator: Dr. Christine Voss

“The program has helped us to investigate pertinent clinical questions, despite a lack of time and resources,” says Dr. Gayle Klammer, Affiliate Clinician with the CCDPM. “The results from these studies will inevitably guide our approach to patient care and improve outcomes.”

Martin Ginis highlights the tremendous support from the health care community and program partners for the Incubator’s early success. The preliminary work from each project was recently presented by students at the virtual UBC Okanagan Interdisciplinary Student Health Conference hosted by the Southern Medical Program.

The CCDPM anticipates the next call for projects will be held when normal research operations resume. For more information, visit the Incubator webpage.

Research aims to improve long-term outcomes for spinal cord injury patients

The United States Department of Defense has provided over $2M ($1.65M USD) to support ongoing research exploring the optimization of blood pressure management in newly-injured spinal cord injury (SCI) patients.

When a patient sustains a SCI, one of the sole initial treatment options is to manage the cardiovascular system and optimize blood flow to the injury site.

Dr. Chris West

Study principal investigator Dr. Chris West stresses the need for increasing blood flow to deliver vital blood and oxygen to the spinal cord while minimizing further damage at the epicentre of the injury.

“Our research focuses on a new treatment approach that will, theoretically, improve blood flow patterns in the spinal cord while reducing bleeding at the injury site itself, which should improve long-term outcomes for SCI patients,” says Dr. West, investigator with the Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management and ICORD (International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries).

New findings could lead to changes in the way SCI patients have their blood pressure managed during the seven- to ten-day period post-injury.

“If more spinal cord tissue can be spared at the injury site, we can improve cardiovascular and motor function over the long-term,” adds West. “Ultimately, this would help increase a patient’s independence and reduce their odds of developing cardiovascular disease.”

Project collaborators for the pre-clinical study include co-investigator Dr. Brian Kwon, Canada Research Chair in Spinal Cord Injury and Professor with the UBC Department of Orthopaedics and ICORD and Dr. Ryan Hoiland, UBC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine.

An audience of over 120 students, adjudicators, volunteers, and participants attended the virtual 2021 UBC Okanagan Interdisciplinary Student Health Conference on March 9, 2021.

The event was kicked off by an inspiring keynote presentation from Dr. Daryl Wile, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management followed by a full evening of engaging posters and presentations from UBC Okanagan students.

Congratulations to all student presenters, and to the following students on their award-winning posters:

Category: Biomedicine, Drugs and Computational Research
Alexis Genereaux-Guidi, Applied Science
Development of an algorithm to process device-based physical activity and location data to characterize physical activity behaviours

Category: Child and Public Heatlh
Aashka Jani and Larissa Steidle, Medicine
Patient Factors that Influence Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Participation 

Category: Community Health
Rachel Shim, Science
Mediterranean Diet compliance in patients with ulcerative colitis

Category: Rural, Clinical, and Emergency Care
Carley Paterson, Arts and Social Sciences
Being there: Understanding the support systems of adults 50 years and older with mental health concerns who live in a rural community in BC

Category: Student and Social Health
Rebekah Underhill, Health and Social Development; Lucas Standing, Arts and Social Sciences; Thomas Pool, Health and Social Development
Okanagan Overdose Response Project

Category: Virtual and Digital Health
Sarah Park, Medicine
TeleRehabilitation with Aims to Improve Lower extremity recovery post-stroke (TRAIL): Study Protocol

For full posters details, view the 2021 conference program.


As the number of cancer survivors continues to grow, family physicians are being increasingly relied upon to provide follow-up care to cancer survivors in primary-care settings.

Led by Co-Principal Investigators Dr. Christine Voss, CCDPM and Dr. Siavash Atrchian, BC Cancer – Kelowna, an interdisciplinary team of researchers, oncologists, family physicians, and Southern Medical Program students is exploring ways to optimize the integration of family physicians in post-cancer treatment across the BC Interior.

The primary goals of the study are to:

(1) identify barriers that family physicians in the Interior Health (IH) region face in providing post-cancer care.

(2) formulate solutions to address these barriers.

As a first step in the multi-phase study, family physicians in the IH region who provide post-treatment cancer care are invited to participate in a 15-20 minute interview via Zoom or telephone to share their experiences. All information will be kept completely confidential.

To learn more or participate in the study, please contact study lead and Southern Medical Program student Brian Hayes at brian.hayes@alumni.ubc.ca.