"The Foundation is in its early days, but seems to be getting off on its right foot. The type of support it offers our staff, outside their regular service, provides the opportunity to start new areas of research and innovation which will ultimately benefit all of us."   Dr.Rich Lester


Vaccines & Immunization Research

Sexual Health Programs

Communicable Disease Surveillance

Public Health Laboratory

Vulnerable Populations

Knowledge Translation

Preparation for Emerging Threats

Mathematical Modelling

Cutting-edge Genomics

Global Health Solutions

Environmental Health

Research Successes at BCCDC
Projects in Detail



  • Improving frontline public health through the use of genomics and proteomics, for example sequencing  SARS genome, and multiple genomes in TB outbreaks
  • Tracking emerging infectious diseases through mathematical modelling, calculating the rates at which infectious disease might spread and the role of superspreaders
  • Ensuring effectiveness of public health measures through the statistical analysis of disease trends to determine causality and program effectiveness
  • Assessing vaccine effectiveness in real-time, for example 2-dose HPV vaccine, influenza vaccine
  • Using techniques of disease surveillance to predict outbreaks and transmission trends
  • Enhancing public health by monitoring environmental change in air and water quality and reducing exposure to risk factors



Global Health
Global Health Research Collaboration on Engagement and Program Development

Project Duration: February 15, 2014 to August 15, 2014

International research collaborations offer myriad benefits, which include enhancing the research process, advancing higher quality science, strengthening research institutions, and promoting cross-cultural understanding. The strong commitment of UBC, the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), Aga Khan University (AKU) and BCCDC to put internationalization at the forefront of their agendas will enable a collaborative meeting between these organizations to promote engagement in HIV care in Kenya, and to develop plans to establish greater lab, clinical, and public health synergies that can lead to a long-term relationship for UBC and the BCCDC in Kenya. This collaborative global health meeting in Kenya (May 2014) will bring together key international organizations to develop grant and funding opportunity partnerships in HIV, TB and STI global health research, and to initiate plans for a collaborative clinical, diagnostic, and research centre in Kenya’s Northern and Arid Lands.


Project Duration: November 1, 2013 to March 31, 2016

The ASPIRE (Advances in Screening and Prevention in Reproductive Cancer) program is a community-driven initiative in Uganda, designed to evaluate the acceptability and needs of a self-collection cervical cancer screening program for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). The study will screen 300 women in an impoverished community. It will address cervical cancer education, treatment and prevention and train community members in self-collection of cervical tissue for later lab analysis. Outcomes include development of a documentary video, “When a Mother Lives” (www.aspireafrica.ca) and new methods of knowledge translation. The program should inform global health policy and practice with respect to cervical cancer treatment in low resource, low income settings in Canada and globally.

Immunization & Knowledge Translation
Western Canada Immunization Forum 2013

Project Duration: October 31, 2013 to July 31, 2014

The Western Canada Immunization Forum brings together public health immunization service providers, provincial medical health officers, primary care physicians and other end users to  inform front line professionals about the scientific basis of current and emerging issues in immunization, program monitoring, information systems, program evaluation and applied research. It represents a collaborative effort between British Columbia, Alberta and the Yukon Territory. The forum promotes teamwork and relationship-building, as well as knowledge sharing. The overall objective is to increase learning and enhance application of knowledge to inform practice through collaboration and shared experiences.

Communicable Disease & Emerging Threats
BC Zoonoses Symposium

Project Duration: August 1, 2013 to July 31, 2018

The BC Zoonoses Symposium brings together multi-disciplinary participants working in animal and human health to share recent information on the incidence, spread and biology of zoonotic disease (diseases that are caused by transmission of infectious agents between animals and humans) in British Columbia. It is a unique environment in which to exchange ideas and advance understanding of zoonotic diseases in BC, with the goal of building relationships between animal health and public health professionals and students.

Knowledge Translation
Public Health Grand Rounds Webcasting

Project Duration: April 1, 2013 to July 1, 2015

BCCDC has hosted a Public Grand Rounds Series with internal and external speakers and guests for almost 15 years. This program is accredited as a Continuing Medical Education (CME) activity by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. This Award supports an enhanced interactive Rounds experience remotely via Mediasite for Health Authority, academic and other end users at distant or remote sites. It also supports archiving of audio and video material for later use by community end users, emphasizing the role of BCCDC as a trusted source of public health information.

Sexual Health
Evaluation of HPV Interventions in BC

Project Duration: June 1, 2013 to April 30, 2017

Vaccine treatment is highly effective in preventing Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infections in women, but there is controversy over the right age at which to start a vaccination program in girls. This project examines the acceptability of a vaccination program for grade 6 girls. It will look at vaccine uptake rates, baseline HPV prevalence, and acceptability for parents, and rates of genital warts. The study evaluates a possible HPV vaccination program for young males. It examines the impact on cervical screening and genital warts in young men. The outcomes will be provided to the Ministry of Health and used for community education.

Communicable Disease
Complex Chronic Disease Clinic in the BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre

Project Duration: August 15, 2013 until funds are spent

The complex chronic disease program focuses on disorders such as chronic disease syndrome, and the tick-borne Lyme disease. It combines treatment and care, through an integrative approach with clinical and research advisors and key patient advocacy groups. There is a strong research component. The research goal is to understand better the causes and then improve the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases. The program will reach out to patients in rural and remote areas through telehealth technology. Overall this program should build and strengthen the cadre of health providers in BC to provide quality care for these patients through research, training and education.

Communicable Disease and BCPHMRL
Surveillance of Lyme Disease Vectors

Project Duration: October 25, 2012 to December 31, 2015 (extended)

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in North America. Infected individuals have fatigue, neck stiffness, fever and headache, amongst other symptoms. The prevalence of Lyme disease is increasing in eastern Canada, apparently related to higher temperatures and global warming. This project will use cutting edge molecular biology techniques to examine the spread of ticks in mice (which harbor the ticks) and to co-localize with other pathogens in British Columbia. The results will allow public health workers to predict the incidence and possible spread of Lyme disease in BC and inform public health policy, awareness and prevention programs in the province.

Vulnerable Populations, Communicable Disease, and Knowledge Translation
Hepatitis Education Forum

Project Duration: September 1, 2012 to October 31, 2012

The hepatitis education and care program for professional health care workers provides a series of workshops to support the delivery of information about education prevention and hepatitis clinical care delivery in western Canada. The workshops have been well attended with excellent evaluations that have commented especially on the relevance of the information provided to community needs. This is an annual event.

Sexual Health 
& Vaccines
QUEST – Quadrivalent HPV Vaccine Evaluation Study

Project Duration: August 31, 2012 to August 30, 2013

This program is part of a national initiative (QUEST) to compare the durability and efficacy of 2 different vaccination programs against HPV in girls ages 9-12. Participants are enrolled across Canada. Vaccine is given as either 2-doses or 3-doses as part of a larger clinical trial. Participants are followed until age 19 or 120 months after the first dose of vaccine. Endpoints include assessment of type specific persistent HPV infection from self-collected vaginal specimens and serum, and monitoring the antibody in the two different vaccination groups

Communicable Disease and Genomics and BCPHMRL
Molecular Epidemiology of TB in BC

Project Duration: June 12, 2012 to February 28, 2017

Federally and provincially, Canada is committed to reducing the rates of tuberculosis (TB) over the next decade. In BC, innovative molecular epidemiology techniques have been used to reconstruct person-to-person rates of transmission in large outbreaks. This project examines the hypothesis that high risk infectious individuals moving between urban centers and remote populations are responsible for the majority of endemic transmission. These data will inform the provincial TB control programs, policy discussion and decision by engaging primary knowledge users at different jurisdictional levels.

Knowledge Translation
BCCDC Celebrate Research Week

Project Duration: September 1, 2011 to December 31, 2016

BCCDC has held a highly successful annual research symposium involving internal staff and external guests, beginning in 2008. In 2011, the format was extended from a 2-day event to a week-long “Celebrate Research” activity. The intent was to achieve even greater staff involvement, enhanced profile for BCCDC research and to embed research as the foundation leading to improved clinical translation, care and practice. The Mediasite online broadcasting platform, combined with archiving  of presentations, allows outreach to a broad audience, including regional health authority partners, academic collaborators and the lay public, as well as creating a permanent and publicly-available knowledge repository.

& Knowledge Translation
Western Canadian Immunization Forum 2011

Project Duration: July 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011

BCCDC hosted the 2011 Western Immunization Conference in Vancouver, working in collaboration with representatives of the governments of Alberta and Yukon, the BC Ministry of Health, BC’s regional health authorities (Fraser Health, Interior Health, Northern Health, Vancouver Coastal Health, and Vancouver Island Health), First Nations and Inuit Health Association. The conference theme was immunization for the modern family. Topics included modern immunization techniques, minimizing vaccine wastage, ethics and partnerships with community vaccine providers. There was introduction to three new immunization programs: rotavirus; hepatitis for aboriginals; and two-dose varicella.

Environmental Health
DPIC Visual DotLab Enterprise

Project Duration: July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012

The BC Drug and Poison Information Centre provides a 24-hour toll-free poison information service to all British Columbians. The ability of specially trained health care professionals, including pharmacists and nurses, to provide treatment advice and information regarding poisonings, drug overdoses and chemical exposures will be enhanced through purchase and implementation of a new electronic data collection system. This will allow detection of trends in poison spread and frequency, facilitating early alerts through the media, and an ability to develop improved education and community prevention programs

Communicable Disease & BCPHMRL
Etiological Discovery of CFS, Lyme, Lupus

Project Duration: July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2015

Patients with symptoms of fatigue, memory change and musculoskeletal change, similar to Lyme disease, but without history of acute Lyme disease, may be diagnosed as having chronic or late Lyme disease. This group resembles those with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). This study assesses new methods to differentiate these patients from healthy controls and a group diagnosed with Lupus (SLE). The objective is to look for previously unrecognized microbial and host factors that might improve understanding of these syndromes, and to develop a consultative model with affected communities. It is suggested that major differences in microbial populations may be detected which would then raise questions concerning the cause(s) of these diseases. Future studies would be planned in collaboration with the BC Generations Cohort.

Sexual Health
mHealth Pilot for HIV/AIDS in BC

Project Duration: May 1, 2011 to April 30, 2013

Patient engagement in care and adherence to medication are critical to achieving the full benefits of antiretroviral therapy (ART) among people with HIV infection. A randomized control trial in Kenya, WelTelKenya1, showed that an interactive mobile phone text messaging intervention can improve adherence and viral load suppression. A small scale pilot study, WelTel BC1, was conducted with individuals taking HAART to assess the acceptability and feasibility of the WelTel model in a Canadian setting. Patients and healthcare providers at the Oak Tree Clinic were enthusiastic about the intervention, found it feasible, and believed it can improve care. The results of this research support the use of the WelTel SMS support intervention as a simple and useful approach to facilitating patient and health care provider communication and engagement. Using low cost interactive text messaging has the potential to serve as an affordable and easy to use conduit to link individuals to health care providers (outreach workers, nurses, case managers) who are equipped in assisting them in navigating the health care system.

Sexual Health 
& Vaccines
HPV Vaccine Program Evaluation

Project Duration: April 1, 2009 to September 30, 2011

This study was conducted to determine the baseline (i.e. pre-vaccine) HPV type specific prevalence in a population-based sample of women presenting for routine cervical cancer screening. From June 2010 to December 2010, a total of 2,100 physicians from all health regions in the province were invited to return ten sequential cytobrushes used during routine office-based Pap screening to the BCCDC Laboratory for HPV type specific testing. Specimens were initially screened for high risk HPV (hrHPV) and positives were then genotyped by three methods. The study established the baseline hrHPV genotype distribution among a population-based sample of women undergoing routine cervical cancer screening in BC. These data will be important to demonstrate reduction in HPV 16 and 18 rates as a result of the Quadrivalent-HPV vaccine, and will enable monitoring of potential replacement of HPV 16 and 18 with other hrHPV types as population immunization coverage expands.

Global Health
HIV Prevention Efforts: Our Learning in Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda

Project Duration: Dec 1, 2008 to January 31, 2009

This award supported a fact finding visit to Rwanda, Ethiopia and Kenya to gather information about male circumcision as a means of HIV prevention. Activities in Rwanda included surgical exchange and demonstration of male circumcision (MC) methods, and meetings with staff and leadership. Several themes emerged: there is some awareness and uptake of MC for HIV prevention thanks to media and community coverage; cost in excess of 3000 francs ($6 CDN) was seen as an obstacle; “risk compensation” is a concern so that education is required to reinforce condom use, limitation of partner exchange and safe post-operative behaviour; pre-operative counseling of attached young men undergoing the procedure should involve the partner; logistics dictate that non-medical personnel must be trained to provide most procedures; and the Rwandese Ministry of Health has costed neonatal circumcision for the country. In Gambella, a pocket of Ethiopia with high HIV prevalence and low uptake of MC, local authorities are interested in developing a Ministry of Health-sanctioned plan to increase training and availability of MC. In Rwanda, the Ministry of Health will encourage MC in adolescents and young men.

img_3478-764x1024-u17187-fr "The Foundation has been critical to supporting pilot endeavours in Uganda.  We have been able to recruit HIV+ women to cervical cancer screening and examine their attitudes towards this important prevention initiative."   Dr. Gina Ogilvie
smartsex_rectangle_12 BCCDC Foundation support of innovative programs such as the evaluation of HPV vaccine effectiveness and the use of mobile phones to improve HIV retention in care  place BCCDC at the forefront of sexual health research and service.

"The Foundation helped us build the infrastructure and operating funds required to apply high throughput sequencing technology to new discovery and to more accurate characterization of microbes causing everyday outbreaks."

  Dr. David Patrick
img_9857-u17164-fr BCPHMRL uses advanced research expertise and technology, including laboratory diagnostics, advanced molecular, genomic and metagenomic tools, and high-level containment processes, to monitor, evaluate, prevent and control cases and outbreaks of communicable diseases.
img_9261-1-u16717-fr The BCCDC Foundation is active in awarding funds to world-class researchers who tackle complex diseases like tuberculosis, Lyme disease, and HIV.


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BCCDC Foundation for
Population and Public Health

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Photo credits: Michael Donoghue, Yin Chang and David Niddire