Get Involved

When you become a Patient Partner, we can help you find the right opportunity to get involved with patient-oriented research—and guide research that improves health care. 

Who are Patient Partners?

Patient Partners are people who have lived experience with the Canadian healthcare system. 

Generally, MSSU Patient Partners:

  • Have personal experience of a health condition or of receiving health care, either as a patient or as a caregiver
  • Are interested in drawing on their experience to contribute to research in an honest, respectful, and constructive way
  • Can look at issues from different perspectives
  • Do not need to have experience working in research or health care – just an interest in learning about the research process
  • Are residents of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, or Prince Edward Island

What do Patient Partners do?

Patient Partners are not participants in a research study. They are partners who are actively involved in one or more aspects of the research process. 

As a Patient Partner, you can choose an opportunity that interests you and fits with the time commitment that you are able to make. There are many opportunities that allow you to participate remotely, for example by joining committee meetings online or via a teleconference.

Here are some examples:

  • Serve on a committee – You can ask questions, discuss issues, and share ideas that others may not have considered. You will attend meetings (either in-person, by phone, or online), take part in discussions, and/or communicate through email.
  • Join a research team – You may help with different stages of a research project. You will attend regular meetings (in-person, by phone, or online), provide feedback on research plans, and help with other research tasks. For example, you may help chose the research question, prepare grant applications, interpret data and findings, or write publications. 
  • Share your perspectives – You share your experience with a health condition or receiving care. You may develop a speech or talking points, create a presentation, speak in front of an audience at a meeting or event, and/or answer questions.
  • Train researchers and other Patient Partners – You may take part in a training conference or workshop. Depending on your interest and experience, you may co-lead a training session, present, and/or contribute to discussions.
  • Contribute to MSSU leadership and governance – You may be invited to join one of the committees that govern the MSSU. You will attend regular meetings (in-person or by phone, or online), read background materials, contribute to discussions, and be a part of decision-making processes.

Still wondering how being a Patient Partner works in practice? Read interviews with some MSSU Patient Partners to learn about how they are involved in patient-oriented research.

What are the benefits of being a Patient Partner?

Being a Patient Partner in patient-oriented research is a unique way to use your lived experience to contribute to your community, inform health-related research and improve health care.

Other potential benefits:

  • Learn about another dimension of your health condition or the health care system, while also sharing your lived experience
  • Network and connect with other patients and caregivers, and work with health care providers, decision-makers and other partners in health research 
  • Receive training in patient-oriented research and build relevant skills, for example public speaking, writing, collaboration, and more
  • Take part in conferences and workshops

Patient Partners may also receive compensation for activities in line with the MSSU’s Patient Partner Compensation and Reimbursement Policy. This policy was co-developed with Patient Partners, as a meaningful expression of appreciation for their important contributions to the MSSU and patient-oriented research. For more information on Patient Partner compensation, contact Shelley Strickland at

Become a Patient Partner

If you’re interested in becoming a Patient Partner, please complete the MSSU Patient Partner Expression of Interest form to provide us with some details about yourself and your interests.

If together you decide to become a Patient Partner, you will receive training, and support from our Patient Engagement Coordinator. We will also add you to the MSSU Patient Partner Registry. We use this registry to keep Patient Partners informed of opportunities to get involved in patient-oriented research and the MSSU.

To learn more, contact:

Shelley Strickland
Phone: (902) 473-7642