Who we are

Who we are

We make an impact by training patient and community members to bring patient-informed health research evidence into health care planning, practice and policy.

The Patient and Community Engagement Research (PaCER) program, based at the University of Calgary works towards transforming the role of patients in health system research, practice, planning and policy with the aim to create more sustainable and effective person-centred care.


The work PaCER does is based on a foundation of time and trust to build meaningful research relationships. Values and ethical principles serve as implicit criteria guiding all actions and decision making.

Our values align with the 4 principles of the CIHR SPOR Patient Engagement Framework

Mutual Respect





PaCER builds capacity in health research for patients and communities to be meaningfully and actively engaged in the health research that informs health care planning, practice and policy.


PaCER’s vision is to lead patient-led training and peer-to-peer research that provides evidence to transform the health care system to improve health in all communities.

The Program

PaCER is a three-course certificate program delivered by University of Calgary Continuing Education with support and academic oversight provided by the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit Patient Engagement Team. Throughout the 12-month experience-based program, patient and community members learn how to develop, design and conduct qualitative health research projects about topics that matter to them.

PaCER learners are community members

They have lived experience of a health condition and participatory, qualitative health research training to create a new collective patient-informed research voice.

PaCER learners produce research

They generate research evidence that brings the patient voice into health system planning, practice and policy.

PaCER graduates are connected

They become connected to a network of professionals supporting new roles for patients in health services research projects and activities.

PaCER graduates work in partnership

They can work as patient research partners, as patient advisers on health care policy and practice, as patient reviewers on grant funding applications, and much more.