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Nursing and Allied Health

Dr. Leah Lambert
For more information, contact

Becky Yost
Associate Director, Development

The Nursing and Allied Health Research and Knowledge Translation (NAHRKT) department is the first of its kind in Canada, and reflects a strong commitment by BC Cancer to invest in this essential team that is the foundation of the cancer journey.

Patients typically spend a small percentage of their time at BC Cancer with physicians, and the remainder of their care is in the hands of nurses and allied health providers (e.g. social workers, radiation therapists, PET technologists, dental hygienists, pharmacists, dieticians and speech language pathologists).

Harnessing the knowledge of these hands-on experts in the field

Designed to drive innovation and best practices, and expand collaboration across disciplines and faculties to include nursing and allied health, NAHRKT capitalizes on the distinct contribution that nurses and allied health providers bring to solving complex problems within the cancer care system.

Launched in early 2021, and led by Dr. Leah Lambert, executive director and senior scientist for Nursing and Allied Health Research and Knowledge Translation at BC Cancer, the department was created to fill a gap and take full advantage of the knowledge of a team that operates at the intersection of science, practice and policy — and drive research that significantly improves the cancer journey for patients, families and caregivers.

Dr. Lambert and her team lead collaborative research and knowledge translation initiatives in partnership with clinicians, health system leaders, policymakers and patients that reflect the health service needs of people diagnosed with cancer and their families. With a special interest in examining how cancer care practices, policies, and systems are contributing to health and health care inequities, their research is focused on investigating strategies to enhance equity-oriented care in the cancer sector.

Some of the incredible progress NAHRKT has made since its inception:

  • Received top-tier, provincial and national funding for research and trainee awards.
  • Implemented two advanced practice research clinical nurse specialist roles.
  • Revised department structure to create a clinical specialist radiation therapist role — a provincial first.
  • Attracted a growing cadre of research trainees from the undergraduate to postdoctoral level.
  • Partnered with Providence Health Care and Vancouver Coastal Health to launch the inaugural Knowledge Translation (KT) Challenge at BC Cancer.
  • Launched a new cohort of BC Cancer Research Challenge teams to support practice-based research.

Through NAHRKT, BC Cancer aims to recruit and retain the best and the brightest by cultivating a culture where nurses and allied health providers can evolve and grow though opportunities for advancement by developing embedded research career pathways. By enabling nurses and allied health providers to focus their efforts on impact-oriented projects it will help create more responsive, relevant, timely and useful research that can be quickly translated back to improve practice and policy.

Your help is needed to:

  • Create innovative nursing and allied health research and trainee opportunities, and provide research seed funding for the new clinical research nurse specialists and the clinical specialist radiation therapist.
  • Fund single and multi-site research projects initiated and driven by clinicians as a big step toward capitalizing on practice-informed research perspectives.
  • Help generate preliminary data to inform leading edge patient and family-centred care and equity-oriented research.

The value and contributions nurses and allied health providers make towards advancing cancer care cannot be overstated. By investing in nursing and allied health research today, we will create more equitable, diverse, and inclusive cancer care for tomorrow.