St. Paul’s Foundation donors support MSFHR Scholars conducting drug and addiction research

As part of MSFHR’s commitment to fostering world-class health research in BC, and optimizing investments in health research, we provide opportunities for organizations to co-fund exceptional BC researchers applying for MSFHR funding. With MSFHR and partner organizations matching funding dollar-for-dollar, these partnerships allow us to effectively double our investment in health research, and enable our partners to support research in their priority areas.

Case in point is our partnership with the St. Paul’s Foundation. In 2012, when MSFHR extended our partnerships program to include Scholar awards, the St. Paul’s Foundation was one of the first organizations to partner. Since then, our two organizations have co-funded four researchers at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and BC Centre on Substance Use, studying HIV transmission, substance use among vulnerable populations, and ways to combat the opioid overdose crisis. Each of these researchers received a Scholar award, which provides salary support for up to five years to help the scholar protect time for research that will improve the health of British Columbians.

Dick Vollet, St. Paul’s Foundation president and CEO explains, “Partnering with MSFHR helps us move research forward at an exponential pace and helps us ensure we are funding the best researchers in the fields that are important to us and our patients.”

This support is made possible by St. Paul’s Foundation donors, with the two most recent co-funded researchers, Dr. M. Eugenia Socías and Dr. Nadia Fairbairn, supported in part by donor funding targeted specifically to drug and addiction research.

“In the face of unprecedented and escalating opioid crisis, we urgently need novel approaches to improve engagement in evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder,” explains Dr. Socías. “I’m grateful for the commitment of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and St. Paul’s Foundation to promote innovative science in this province. Their support will allow me to conduct transformative research that will improve the health care system’s response to the overdose crisis and help more people access safe and effective addiction care.”

For MSFHR, these partnerships mean that we’re able to fund a greater number of BC researchers, grow research capacity, and facilitate connections between researchers and leading organizations in their field. Ultimately, this helps support innovative research and promotes evidence-based practice and policy changes that improve the health and wellbeing of British Columbians.


MSFHR and the St. Paul’s Foundation have partnered to co-fund:

  • Dr. M. Eugenia Socías (2018 Scholar, 2015 Research Trainee*)
    Optimizing care for opioid use disorder in British Columbia
    BC Centre on Substance Use
  • Dr. Nadia Fairbairn (2017 Scholar)
    Opioid addiction research program to improve prescribing practices and reduce overdose
    BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS & BC Centre on Substance Use
  • Dr. Kora DeBeck (2012 Scholar, 2008 Research Trainee*)
    Responding to the health crisis among street-involved youth in Vancouver: Evidence to inform interventions and policy responses
    BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS
  • Dr. Art Poon (2012 Scholar)
    Translation of next-generation sequencing to HIV treatment and prevention in British Columbia
    BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS

*Not co-funded

Find out more about MSFHR’s partnerships and co-funding opportunities