Patient and Community Engagement Research (PaCER)


We have, through our initial training, found patients and family members competent and ready to commit to a new user-led research model for health. PACER works to create the partnerships and infrastructure needed to transform the role of patients and families in health and health culture experience through the following activities:

Services and Research

1. Training patients and/or family members to become patient engagement researchers – designing and conducting health experience research and to work in collaboration with health providers, planners and researchers

2. Promoting the hiring of PACER graduates within health care systems and agencies

3. Training health care researchers to use patient engagement research and to start PER training sites

4. Developing and adapting health science methods to bring an authentic patient presence to research planning, projects, and knowledge uptake

Services and Research

5. Building a sustainable infrastructure and focus within health science by creating a space where patients and families participate in an engaged dialogue with health researchers and care providers

6. Exploring and studying the impact of patient engagement research on individuals, groups and health care culture; discovering and safeguarding its values and ethics

7. Seeking active local and international partners to promote the potential and integrity of patient engagement research.

Services in Collaborative Patient Engagement Research

PaCER Internship Training Program

The Patient and Community Engagement Research (PaCER) program, as part of the O’Brien Institute for Public Health at the University of Calgary and in partnership with Alberta Health Services through the Strategic Clinical Networks, is committed to transforming the role of patients in health care and health culture through engagement research. PaCER offers an internship that teaches Patient Engagement Research, a research process focussed on people’s lived experiences with their health conditions.

Interns are trained in specific qualitative research methods that have been adapted to maximize engagement of participants and to lead to high-impact research. Using personal experiences, combined with the skills taught through PaCER, patients can help gather valuable information from other patients that can be used to develop more effective health-care strategies. Upon graduation, Interns become part of a registry of qualified patient researchers who are skilled in engaging patients and their families in health research.

PaCERs bring the following skills to health research:

  • Co-design and engagement strategies in emerging methods 
  • Participant observation and process recording
  • Designing and conducting patient engagement research project
  • Focus groups, structured and semi-structured questionnaires
  • Narrative interviewing
  • Team building
  • Report writing and publication

Visit the PaCER website

Reading Materials

PACER is located near the Foothills Hospital in the TRW Building of the UCalgary Foothills Campus Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

For more information and to register for upcoming PER courses, contact the project coordinator Dr. Svetlana Shklarov: or 403-220-5383