Patient Engagement Specialist | BC Support Unit Fraser Centre
The BC SUPPORT Unit aims to support and increase patient-oriented research throughout the province. When Beverley Pomeroy joined its Fraser Centre team just one month before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they immediately identified a critical gap in resources and training for researchers engaging with individuals who’ve experienced trauma.
With a personal history of participating as a patient partner themselves, Beverley realized that most academic researchers do not have specialized training as health care providers, which may result in research that alienates and harms patient partners. So, they set out to develop a trauma- and resiliency-informed approach which researchers and evaluators could use – and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
With the development of vaccines and other urgent work, the pandemic has highlighted how essential research is – and Beverley has worked tirelessly to ensure that the patient voice is included in that work. Dismayed by the lack of patient partners in early COVID-19 research projects, Beverley used their extensive network and influence to encourage patient partners to push for patient engagement. They quickly became the go-to person within Fraser Health for support in engaging hardly reached patients in research, evaluation and quality improvement initiatives, creating a concrete change in culture and, as a result of their work, the number of active patient partners has tripled.
Beverley has long been a champion for underserved populations, including LGBTQIA2S+ individuals, Indigenous communities and bereaved parents. Within Fraser Health, they co-led the development of an Ethics, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) statement for research and co-founded an EDI work group. As a result, Fraser Health’s Department of Research and Evaluation is the first in the organization to undertake a formal commitment to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in research and evaluation.
Before joining the BC SUPPORT Unit’s Fraser Centre, Beverley was active in several impactful initiatives as a member of the public, including co-creating the podcast SPORCast which has received national recognition. Plus, they initiated a research project through the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Evidence Alliance which investigated gaps in knowledge and services for bereaved parents of children with chronic complex conditions. Prior to this project, which was one of only three across Canada awarded full funding from the alliance, many research and academic institutions didn’t recognize members of the public as principal investigators nor allow them to submit study protocols for review by its Research Ethics Board. Beverley’s project contributed to a shift in research culture which will benefit any patient partner who follows in their footsteps.
Beverley goes above and beyond in every project they are involved in and consistently supports and challenges others to meet them there. Their work is described as “truly inspirational to those around them,” and they are rightfully considered an expert in inclusive engagement and a powerhouse in all they do.