Looking Back: A History of Discovery at Providence

At Providence Research, we honour the history and expertise of Indigenous peoples and are inspired by their dedication to knowledge-seeking. While brief in comparison, the 100-year innovation history at St. Paul’s Hospital and Providence Health Care is filled with stories of courageous people overcoming obstacles to save lives.

The stories are both old and new. They include St. Paul’s fight to become one of the first hospitals to buy its very own X-ray machine, purchased around 1906. This was just three years after the machines were shown to save lives in European trials. Then, shortly after World War II, St. Paul’s Hospital broke ground again when it opened one of the first ICUs in Canada and the first in BC.

With a century of scientific discovery as a backdrop, developing our five-year strategic plan during the most challenging pandemic in a hundred years, helps underscore one particular Providence tradition: one of putting people in the greatest need at the centre of our research priorities. Another critical backdrop for Discovery Forward is the dramatic shift over the past five years in awareness and our collective responsibility – particularly in health care – to grapple with colonialism past and present, and move towards reconciliation with Indigenous people and communities.

Our Mission:
Inspired by the need for health and wellness of patients and communities, Providence Research integrates teaching, knowledge creation and translation to discover and deliver disease prevention and dramatically improve care.

A Strategic Time for a Strategic Plan

It’s been a decade and a half since the founding of the Providence Health Care Research Institute. Research and innovation are now crucial pillars of growth at Providence Health Care.

We entered 2021 with a unique confluence of new leadership, a significant new infrastructure and building project, and a global pandemic; the latter underscoring more than ever, the need for flexibility and collaboration among researchers. We also recently underwent an external review that recommended we prioritize a new strategic plan to frame our path forward. Additionally, the newly released report “In Plain Sight: Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in BC Health Care” challenges us to reflect on personal and systemic biases in the research aspects of health care.

In late 2020 and early 2021, we consulted our community, asking for input from a broad range of stakeholders. We analyzed these inputs and identified four common work themes that arose consistently across surveys, consultations, meetings and discussions. These overarching pillars reflect the passions and talents of our research community and acknowledge emerging global trends that are sculpting the health research environment.
In addition to these themes called Strategic Directions, we’ve also pledged ourselves to a series of Foundational Principles – a set of values also expressed by our people.

During our consultations we were mindful of the role research can play to advance Providence Health Care’s Mission: Forward Strategic Plan, particularly its third Strategic Direction – “Discover, Learn and Innovate for Impact.” We will work cooperatively with Providence to ensure that our data strategies, our people strategies, and our commercialization strategies are aligned and integrated.

Our Vision:

A place where patient-centred research is driven by social justice, and redefines better health and care globally.

Stay in Touch

If you would like information on our strategic plan, please use the form below and someone from the Discovery Forward project team will be in touch with you.