Delia Cooper is delighted to represent the patient voice on the BC AHSN board. Building on a background in education and many years of service representing the patient perspective in health care, research and health education, she brings unique expertise to the governance of the BC AHSN organization.
A strong supporter of collaboration, she decided to get involved with BC AHSN in 2017 to make a difference through her belief that health research is an “extremely important facet in our health care system.”
Delia’s unique perspective originated with the lived experience of having rheumatoid arthritis since the age of 12. “I’ve had a lifetime of interfacing with the health care system and health professionals,” she said in a recent interview.
“Health care research provides the impetus for improvement and system change.”
This long-term experience in the health system has created a belief in inspiring transformation. “Health care research provides the impetus for improvement and system change. The patient voice should be included in every aspect of the research process, from governance to funding to basic research projects.”
In addition to attending board meetings as a director, Delia is very active in the Network’s Planning Committee as well as in providing a patient perspective in the interview process when choosing BC AHSN’s CEO.
Her experience is especially valuable to one of the Network’s units, the BC SUPPORT Unit, which is also part of a national program (the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research, or SPOR) to help health care research be more relevant and meaningful to patients so that they get the best possible care.
“I expect to be able to attend more of the BC SUPPORT Unit’s Patient Partner meetings in the coming year,” she said optimistically. “In [the Unit’s Fraser Centre], I’m part of the Patients Involved in Research (PIiR) committee; as part of this group, I’ve been presenting as part of a team to promote patient-oriented research to Masters and Doctoral students at [Simon Fraser University] and to interested researchers or patients in the Fraser [region].”
Delia is optimistic about the BC AHSN organization’s future, based on the passion and enthusiastic energy she has recognized across the organization so far.
“This is a very exciting time for BC AHSN,” she observed. “I’m impressed with the commitment and dedication of the staff, our Board Chair and our CEO. We have a wonderful Board of Directors which has recently expanded to include the health authority and quality improvement perspectives. Soon we’ll be adding a second patient representative as well. I look forward to the coming year as we become a leading national and international research organization.”
“I envision BC AHSN will be the lead oversight organization for all research in BC.”
As for a long-term vision beyond 2019, Delia is confident that our organization will play a provincial leadership role.
“I envision BC AHSN will be the lead oversight organization for all research in BC…BC AHSN will have a solid foundation which will move into the future and lead all forms of research activities, and will be a world-class leader in how to organize and set up a successful health research support system.”
The BC AHSN News profiles a member of the organization’s community in each issue. Stay tuned for our January 2019 issue to see who will be featured next!