People at a conference

Putting Patients First 2022: Listening, Learning, Collaborating and Changing

Putting Patients First logo


Putting Patients First 2022: Listening, Learning, Collaborating and Changing, was held March 10-11, 2022. 

With more than 500 participants, Putting Patients First 2022 kicked off with a powerful presentation from keynote Fred Cameron, who shared his journey through addiction and recovery. He told attendees how getting involved in research as a patient partner became a turning point in his life; he’s since become a member of the BC SUPPORT Unit patient council and a believer in the power of his experience to help others.

His story illustrated the importance of listening to people with lived experience and recognizing the value of their experience to help improve health care and the health system. This theme was repeated over the course of the conference with many presenters showcasing successful patient/researcher collaborations that are moving the dial on how research is conducted, and health care is designed and delivered.

The second keynote, Dr. Tammy Clifford of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research and her panelists help set the conference presentations in the broader context of a learning health system. A learning health system is anchored in patient needs, driven by timely data, supported by decision supports and governance, and enabled with culture for rapid learning. Currently, 85 per cent of health research is wasted due to misalignment with decision-makers needs and slow uptake of findings. Taking a health systems approach where patients are involved upfront and throughout the entire process can change this.

In addition to positive stories of collaborations that are making a difference, presenters also spoke to what needs to change. They challenged participants to examine their approach to patient-oriented research to ensure they are building authentic and meaningful relationships, something that takes commitment and, according to one presenter “ten cups of tea”, a metaphor for taking the time to get to know someone before engaging them in a research project. Important for all patient partners, this approach is even more critical when working with Indigenous and other marginalized groups.The inaugural Pat Atherton Emerging Scholars Award for Patient-Oriented Research were awarded to recognize researchers who have shown particular commitment to advancing patient-oriented research. Dr. Jill Dosso received the poster award for “The Kid-League: Patient-centered development of social robotics for children and youth living with anxiety”. Dr. Megan Muller received the oral presentation award for “Kwiis-hen-niip (change): Studying community-driven interventions to support emergency care in remote Indigenous communities.”


Putting Patients First is our annual conference designed to encourage learning and collaboration between patients interested in patient-oriented research (POR), health researchers, health care providers and health system decision makers.

Find out why this conference is important to patients, researchers, decision-makers and health care providers, our conference goals, and learning objectives.

We acknowledge that our event takes place on traditional, ancestral, and unceded Indigenous territories. As guests to this beautiful land, we are thankful and consider it a privilege to do our learning here.

Past Conference Booklets