Proposals wanted: Evaluation of the provincial response to the overdose emergency

MSFHR has launched a request for proposals (RFP) for a performance evaluation of the province’s response to the overdose public health emergency. Evaluation of the response will provide critical data about the response’s ongoing effectiveness and provide guidance on potential course corrections. MSFHR is supporting the BC Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions to design, launch and manage the evaluation, which will be carried out over two years. 

Recognizing the devastating impact illegal overdose deaths have on families and communities across BC, the provincial government has allocated $322 million over the next three years to save lives, end stigma, and improve access to services for people struggling with addiction. The government is taking cross-sector, all government, provincial approach to respond to the overdose emergency that includes crucial additional investments and improvements to mental health and addictions services.  

Key dates

  • Proposal deadline: August 15, 2018
  • Applicants notified of funding decision: late September 2018
  • Project begins: October 1, 2018

As an expert funder, MSFHR focuses on developing the type of talent BC needs to create new evidence, health discoveries, and grow the knowledge economy. Hand-in-hand with this, we have been steadily growing the number of knowledge translation programs and activities we offer to researchers, policy makers and research users, including health authorities and government. Our work in this area both supports researchers to develop evidence and collaborate with research users to effectively translate evidence into changes to health care practice, as well as work directly with partners like the provincial government to help them access the best available evidence, or develop evidence, to inform public policy decisions. 

MSFHR’s support for the province’s response to the overdose emergency is a good example of both of these areas. This newly-launched performance evaluation RFP follows an earlier rapid review coordinated by MSFHR in 2017 that determined how other jurisdictions have responded to similar emergencies, particularly those involving fentanyl and related analogues. The findings of this review, as well as preliminary epidemiological data on opioid overdoses in BC, were presented and discussed by policy makers and topic experts in BC’s health research community. The themes that emerged from that discussion informed the design of the evaluation framework that underpins this RFP.

In 2016, BC’s provincial health officer asked MSFHR to help address a gap in knowledge about optimal dosing of naloxone, the primary tool used by first-responders and health care professionals to restore normal breathing and consciousness during an overdose. In response to this request, MSFHR funded Dr. Roy Purssell and his colleagues to study optimal naloxone dosing. The outcomes of this study, expected in the fall of 2018, will help inform the optimal clinical management of overdoses, form part of the province’s broader response to protect those at risk, and potentially save lives.

By supporting projects such as the provincial government’s response to the overdose crisis, MSFHR is helping build capacity to support the use of research evidence in health care policy, planning, and practice, an area of growing importance to government, health authorities, and others in the health system in BC and globally.

Further information about the performance evaluation, eligibility requirements and details on how to apply are available here.

Proposals will be accepted from experienced researchers or research teams affiliated with a BC host institution that is eligible to hold MSFHR funds, or experienced BC-based private, for-profit or not-for-profit researchers, research teams and organizations.

For questions related to this request for proposals please contact Director, Strategy, Zena Sharman.