COVID-19 Updates

Date: April 3, 2020

Dear WHRI community,

We have now completed approximately three weeks of physical distancing and I hope that for some of you, you are settling into a new normal. It is clear that we are preparing for a marathon and not a quick sprint with this epidemic. This means taking steps to make longer term plans for distancing and isolation, and the associated impacts on our research community.  I want to acknowledge that this has been extremely challenging for many of us, and I am proud of the extensive measures I have seen British Columbians take to adhere to the Provincial Health Officer guidelines. Our consistent actions to follow social distancing guidelines and wash our hands is evident and it is imperative that we stay the course.

As you know, the research curtailment process was rolled out on C&W campus on March 27, 2020 and in alignment with the processes rolled out at UBC, was originally in effect until April 15, 2020.  In accordance with guidance from the Provincial Health Officer, UBC has extended this curtailment of research activities until April 30, 2020, and the WHRI will follow the same extension deadline. Those who have received a research exemption already will automatically have their exemptions extended to April 30. Principal Investigators who wish to still apply for a research exemption, particularly if they are beginning COVID-related research, can do so by following this link:

We ask that all Principal Investigators discuss this curtailment extension with their research personnel, administrative staff and trainees and adjust any plans already in place accordingly. For questions related to research operations, institutional approvals, and ethics, please see the following contact information: 

Research operations: Dr. Kathryn Dewar, Senior Research Manager WHRI

Research in BCWH Ambulatory Programs: Nicole Prestley, Research Manager

Research in BCWH Maternal Newborn and Maternity Ambulatory Programs:  Arezu Moshrefzadeh, Research Manager

Research in BCWH Neonatal Programs: Esther AlonsoPrieto, Research Manager

C&W Research Ethics Board: Jennie Prasad, C&W REB Manager

On April 2, 2020, our academic community received the devastating news that the CIHR Spring 2020 Project Grant competition was cancelled. Nominated Principal Applicants (NPA) from the Spring 2020 Project Grant competition will be given the option to bring their submission forward automatically to the Fall 2020 Project Grant competition, including the ability to provide a one-page supplement for additional support data or publications. NPAs will also have the option to withdraw their application and resubmit a new or updated application to the Fall competition.

We send our sincere sympathies to all of our investigators who invested considerable time in this competition, and we thank the Research & Technology Development Office at BCCHR for their tireless support with so many of these applications.

On a positive note, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, at the request of the BC Ministry of Health, has announced some new strategic research activities, including a COVID-19 Research Response Fund. The MSFHR COVID-19 Research Response Fund will support research questions arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic. More details about this fund will be provided on April 6, 2020. See attached email for more details with regards to the priority areas.

We will continue sending weekly email updates, every Friday at 4 pm PST, which summarize the key updates each week.  If you have information you would like included in this email, please send to and by 5 pm each Thursday.

In addition, we will be creating a C&W specific COVID-19 Research information page. Stay tuned! 

Please continue to play your part to flatten the curve by maintaining social distance, thoroughly washing your hands, and following the provincial health officer’s daily recommendations. Together, we will get through this.


Lori Brotto
Executive Director, Women’s Health Research Institute

Updates from March 28 – April 3rd 

Are you conducting or plan to conduct COVID-19 related research? The WHRI is interested in learning about any members who have received REB approval to do COVID-19 related research, as well as any WHRI members who plan to undertake COVID-19 related research. If this relates to you, please complete this REDCap Survey (OR paste the link into Google Chrome).  

If you have any questions, please email Kathryn Dewar:

In alignment with our academic partners, Research Curtailment on the C&W campus has been extended to April 30, 2020.  We ask that all Principal Investigators discuss this curtailment extension with their research personnel, administrative staff and trainees and adjust any plans already in place accordingly.

As a reminder the BCCHR/WHRI/BCMHSUS Exemption Form was launched and will be required for any research requested to continue on site during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Please note that only research which has been approved by the exemption process will be permitted to take place onsite at C&W. If your research was not approved as exempt, no one from the research team is permitted to be onsite to take part in any aspect of the research. If you have questions please direct them to

On March 31, 2020 Dr. Kim McGrail reached out to the research community. In an effort to fast-track COVID-19 related research, PopData BC has created a survey to capture all the emerging research ideas currently underway in BC.  By gathering these ideas, PopData BC will be able to assess the data and support needs that are required, and use this information to continue conversations with the Ministry of Health. 

If this relates to you, we ask that you please consider completing the survey which is available here:​  For more information, please refer to the original message below or visit

Academic Institutions

Health Authorities

Funding Agency Updates