March 29, 2021

BC SUPPORT Unit Executive Director to depart BC AHSN organization at end of March 2021

Minnie Downey Head Shot

The British Columbia Academic Health Science Network (BC AHSN) is announcing the departure of Minnie Downey, Executive Director of the BC SUpport for People and Patient-Oriented Research (SUPPORT) Unit. The Unit is BC AHSN’s operational unit focused on the implementation of the national Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) in the province of British Columbia. Minnie’s last day at the BC AHSN organization will be March 31, 2021.

Minnie played an essential role in leading the BC SUPPORT Unit from the beginnings of Phase I of SPOR, to help create the structure of the BC AHSN as it exists currently. Under her leadership, the Unit has supported the embedding of patient-oriented research principles into BC’s health authorities, universities and health research organizations.

She has opted to step away from her leadership role with the Unit to pursue other professional opportunities.

“I am extremely proud of the accomplishments of our Phase I partners and teams,” she said upon announcement to staff of her impending departure. “I am equally excited about Phase II and the prospect of continued capacity building for patient-oriented research in BC, and across Canada.”

Minnie expressed her thanks to all stakeholders for their commitment and support, and assured all present that the foundations laid in Phase I of SPOR would support even greater achievements in the second phase of the strategy.

“It has been my pleasure to work with Minnie,” said Victoria Schuckel, Executive Director, Research & Technology at the ‎BC Ministry of Health (one of the primary funders of the Unit). “She approached her work with skill, authenticity and a sincere commitment to improve the quality of patients’ experience with research in order to improve health care services.”

“I want to acknowledge the enormous contributions Minnie has made to the creation of a thriving patient-oriented research culture and community in BC,” said Stirling Bryan, President, BC AHSN. “When Minnie began with the BC SUPPORT Unit, she was handed a highly ambitious business plan and asked to make the Unit, with its inherent complexities, a reality. This was achieved, and Phase I has been an enormous success.”

Stirling and Danielle Lavallee, BC AHSN’s Scientific Director, will assume leadership responsibilities for the Unit while the Phase II structure is developed.

“I want to express my sincere appreciation to Minnie for her leadership in getting us to this point,” Stirling continued. “I would also like to offer Minnie my very best wishes as she transitions to the next stage in her career.”

The British Columbia Academic Health Science Network’s role is to advance learning health systems in BC and to enable innovations within the system that make the best use of provincial assets, resources and expertise. BC AHSN’s operational units include the BC SUPPORT UnitClinical Trials BC and Research Ethics BC.


For more information:

Dan Enjo, Communications Lead