Happy New Year! The change in the calendar year serves as a natural point to both reflect back and look forward. 2016 included many highs and lows for the CERTAIN Patient Advisory Network. We spent a good portion of 2016 learning from our network of researchers and patients about successful partnerships and important areas for future focus through our work on INSPIRE. This culminated into a fantastic workshop in July, where we spent 2 days learning and discussing how we can continue to build capacity for successful patient-centered outcomes research and patient-researcher partnerships (read the INSPIRE Workshop report here). In addition, we met a lot of new friends in 2016 – our network grew by 50%! Our thanks to those of you who have spread the word of our group, helped facilitate introductions and connections, and highlighted our work on social media.
While we were making great strides in the work of the Patient Advisory Network, 2016 also brought great loss to our team. Just after the July INSPIRE workshop, we said goodbye to our beloved Mary Roberts Scott, a founding member of the CERTAIN Patient Advisory Network and our close collaborator, partner and friend on all things relating to the Patient Advisory Network. Although she is deeply misse,d her spirit lives on – one of our INSPIRE Steering Committee members asked a question during a recent discussion that has become somewhat of a theme to our work since then – “what would Mary say?” To tangibly honor her memory, we established the Mary R. Scott Memorial Fund to support efforts to expand patient-researcher partnerships. We will soon announce plans for the first award in 2017.
Now to look forward. We have high hopes for the CERTAIN Patient Advisory Network in 2017! We will launch our portal of resources to support patient-researcher partnerships in early February. This is the final product from our INSPIRE project, which formally concludes in February. Be on the lookout for the announcement, as we think this portal will be a valuable tool to all of our work engaging in patient-researcher partnerships, and your feedback will help us with future improvements! We are also planning our 4th Annual CERTAIN Patient Advisory Network meeting for summer 2017. More details will be coming soon! We are currently toying with the theme, “Past, Present and Future” as a way to highlight projects recently concluded, currently underway, and in the developing stages, so that we can once again learn from current efforts and support developing work. Stay tuned!
And as always, we intend to announce new ideas as they start to percolate to see who might be interested (see new announcement in this issue from our colleague at Group Health Research Institute! – LINK blog post) If you have a new idea or want to reach out through to CERTAIN Patient Advisory Network for collaborators, please contact us. We want to help!
In closing, I would like to offer each of you my sincere thanks for your partnership and support in our efforts to build community to advance and improve patient-centered research. It is the collaborations and relationships that make our work so enjoyable. I wish each of you a wonderful year ahead filled with peace, happiness and good health!