Explore research projects led by BC Children's Hospital and BC Women's Hospital researchers that are focused on investigating heath care delivery and policy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Click on the study titles below for more information. 

Understanding the effects of public health outbreak control policies and implementation on individuals and communities: a path to improving COVID-19 policy effectiveness

Julie Bettinger, Principal Investigator

This project will examine the cultural dimensions of the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic such as examining how individuals and communities understand and react to the disease, studying the response of public health, and exploring how public health policy affects individuals and communities.

While public health policies are required to control an infectious disease outbreak, these policies can adversely affect individuals and communities. Quarantine, limitations in movement and public gathering, and other restrictive measures can put a social and economic burden on individuals, which may be disproportionate, depending on their socioeconomic status and other factors. Healthcare providers are both involved in administering the policy but are also put at grave risk in caring for patients. This will be a multiprovince, multicountry study in Canada (British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia), Bangladesh, and China (Guangdong).

We will use qualitative methodology (document review, key informant interviews, focus groups) and quantitative methods (surveys) to examine policy and implementation from the public health/policy perspective as well perspectives of the media, communities, healthcare providers, patients and their caregivers, and members of the general public. These data will be used to improve the process by which public health policies are created and implemented.

Learn more here

Study of Health Outcomes in Neonates Exposed to COVID-19 in British Columbia (SHiNE-BC)

Joseph Ting, Principal Investigator

The long-term health challenges and needs of babies born in British Columbia during the COVID-19 pandemic are unknown. Babies can be exposed to the disease by their mother before birth or infected by the virus that causes COVID-19 after birth. The SHiNE-BC project will use information collected provincially to understand the health effects within the first year of life after exposure to COVID-19.

Health outcomes including diagnoses of infections and conditions affecting the lungs, visits to doctors or emergency departments, hospital stays, and prescription medications will be studied and compared among different geographical regions of BC. This vital information helps doctors improve care for these infants and assists decision-makers to address the changing needs within the health system.

Tracking Pediatric Emergency Department Visits During a Pandemic

Ran Goldman, Principal Investigator

It is important to understand health-services seeking behaviors in times of a pandemic. The balancing act of perceptions about maintaining social distancing and during a pandemic versus the need to visit a health care provider when most physicians' offices are closed, may lead families to choose how they care for their sick children. We plan to review Pediatric Emergency data,  to determine what families are doing during the COVID-19 pandemic. We will also determine if children arriving to emergency are sicker than in the past, possibly representing delay in care due to the pandemic.

What Families Think and Do ? - A Survey for Families Visiting the Pediatric Emergency Department

Ran Goldman, Principal Investigator

The objective of this study is to understand what families think and do in regards to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) illness in Global communities. Parents arriving to emergency departments all around Canada, United States, Australia, Switzerland, Israel, Japan and Spain are responding to the same survey in regards to their concerns, thoughts and actions during COVID-19 with their children. Understanding parents considerations and actions will help respond to this pandemic and future needs.

Emergency providers’ experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic: a qualitative study of Canadian pediatric emergency departments

Ran Goldman, Principal Investigator

EARL - nCOV Researchers

Srinivas Murthy, Principal Investigator

The current nCOV outbreak poses a number of challenges. One of the main ones is conducting research to better improve clinical care of infected patients. Conducting research during a pandemic is hard, and associated with a number of pitfalls, including very busy staff, scared patients, and concerns for infection control. At the same time, the public shows that they are supportive of participating in randomized trials during a pandemic, perceiving that the benefit obtained outweighs the risks. Balancing these challenges, operationally, has proven difficult, and this current outbreak poses a unique opportunity to better understand these issues, as well as overcome them.

Safety and perception of health care workers in a COVID19 outbreak

Srinivas Murthy, Principal Investigator

COVID-19 Immunology Consortium-BC (CIC-BC)

Manish Sadarangani, Principal Investigator


1. Construct a universal, coordinated strategy for COVID-19 immunology research across BC, via collaboration, and establish (inter)national leadership.
2.  Establish a detailed plan of COVID-19 immunology research and education that will have a direct impact on patient care and/or policy in BC, across Canada and internationally;
3.  Enhance translational immunology educational opportunities for UBC students.

Learn more here

Impact of COVID-19 on pediatric orthopedic surgery practice

Kishore Mulpuri, Principal Investigator

The primary purpose of this study is to investigate the impacts of Coronoavirus (COVID-19) on pediatric orthopaedic practice across the globe. This study will involve an international online survey of pediatric orthopaedic surgeons. Data will be collected anonymously and/or be de-identified.

Predicting severe pneumonia in children: A global study of the pediatric emergency research network

Quynh Doan, Principal Investigator

Purpose Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is one of the most common serious childhood infections and a frequent and costly cause of Emergency Department (ED) visits and hospitalizations. However, there is a lack of an evidence-based clinical prediction rule for assessing CAP severity in children. The purpose of this study is to develop accurate, objective models of prognosis in pediatric CAP using a global cohort of pediatric emergency departments.

Hypothesis The primary hypotheses are: (1) a history of previous pneumonia, retractions on examination, tachypnea, and hypoxia at presentation will be associated with severe outcomes, and (2) historical and physical examination factors will be able to differentiate between patients with low, moderate, or high disease severity in pediatric CAP.

The sub-primary hypothesis is: (1) predictors of disease severity for pediatric COVID-19 will be similar to those for pediatric CAP.

PICNIC COVID -19 study

Ashley Roberts, Principal Investigator

SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in children admitted to Canadian Hospitals: Understanding clinical spectrum and severity. A Paediatric Investigators Collaborative Network on Infections in Canada (PICNIC) study.

Retrospective chart review of all pediatric patients who are hospitalized with COVID-19, looking at the clinical spectrum of the disease and outcomes.

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Pediatric Utilisation of Canadian Emergency Departments

Neil Desai, Principal Investigator

The impact of COVID-19 on pediatric emergency health services utilization is not known. We aim to quantify and characterize the use of EDs by children and their families. Understanding and forecasting utilization of pediatric emergency services during a pandemic is critical to ED preparedness. Preparedness encapsulates resource planning, including physician, nurse, and allied healthcare staffing, reallocation of workforce, PPE distribution , and stocking of lifesaving equipment. The COVID pandemic is unprecedented in recent years. Public perceptions and actions are shaped by new influences that were not present during previous similar events.

The effect of these influences on risk perception and presentation to the pediatric emergency department are unknown. As the COVID pandemic continues to evolve, we will collect data on pediatric emergency department utilization throughout Canada, in the periods before, during, and after the COVID pandemic. Metrics will describe the volume, acuity, and disposition of pediatric ED visits. We will describe these metrics for all pediatric patients arriving to both pediatric and general EDs, for patients with COVID-confirmed and -possible illness, and those presenting with specific categories of illness. Our objective is to describe patterns of pediatric service utilization in Canadian emergency departments in the time surrounding and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The impact of COVID-19 pandemic on diagnosis, treatment and health care utilization patterns in children with cancer in the province of British Columbia

Meera Rayar, Principal Investigator

The overall aim of this study is to explore the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health care utilization patterns and outcomes of pediatric patients with cancer.

  1. There will be a drop in the number patients diagnosed with cancer during the peri-COVID 19 time period. This will be followed by an increased in diagnosis rates in the post-COVID 19 time period.
  2. Patients diagnosed in the post COVID 19 time period will have more advanced disease at time of diagnosis
  3. There will be no change in the health care utilization of pediatric oncology patients between the pre-, peri- and post- COVID 19 time periods.
Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadian youth who live with chronic pain

Tim Oberlander, Principal Investigator

Chronic pain (CP) impacts 1 in 5 Canadian youth. Youth with CP have higher levels of anxiety and depression than peers without pain, and more limitations in activities of daily life. Our team previously revealed that "access to pain care" is a top priority for youth with CP and their families. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has only made access to care more difficult. CP clinics can no longer see patients in person and only some can offer virtual care. In the meantime, youth have also lost access to counselors and social workers due to school closures and physical distancing rules have likely made their anxiety, social isolation, and stress even worse. The drastic changes caused by the pandemic offer a once-in-a-lifetime chance to improve access to CP care both now and in the future. "Stepped care" is a promising way to do this.

A good thing about stepped care is that it personalizes treatment based on how bad a person's symptoms are. Similar to a ladder, a person may start with one type of care and then "step up" or "step down" to more or less intense care depending on need. We want to hear directly from youth, families, and healthcare professionals (HCPs) in the CP community about the impacts of COVID-19. We will then create a "stepped care" program called the Kids Pain Portal. This online Portal will increase rapid access to pain care and help make sure youth get the right treatment at the right time.

Narrative as a tool for rapid knowledge translation with decision makers during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

Sarah Munro, Principal Investigator

Impact of COVID-19 and Self Isolation on Patient Burden, Acuity and Severity in Pediatric Emergency Departments: A Multicenter Study

Neil Desai, Principal Investigator

Digital Virtual Support to Cases and Contacts of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Readiness and Knowledge Sharing for Global Outbreaks (WelTel PHM)

Kathryn Armstrong, Principal Investigator

Purpose: To support patients who require regular follow-up from their Healthcare providers (e.g., pediatric cardiology)

  • Provide front line healthcare workers with a digital health solution that can assist them with providing care and communicating with patients while preventing exposing others.
  • To support and monitor patients and contacts of COVID-19 who are on home isolation (if applicable)
COVID-19 Occupational Risks, Seroprevalence and Immunity among Paramedics in Canada (CORSIP Canada)

Brian E. Grunau, Principal Investigator

The purpose of this study is to better understand COVID-19 infection, immunity and occupational risk factors among paramedics in Canada. The overall study includes two sites: BC (the lead site) and Ontario.

Understanding the disease epidemiology of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) is paramount to slow the spread of infection, minimize mortality, and provide robust evidence to inform policy making, especially pertaining to front-line healthcare workers. In response to this unprecedented public health crisis, the COVID-19 Immunity Task Force (CITF) has been given the mandate to fund studies to investigate the epidemiology of COVID-19 in Canada. These funded studies will contain a variety of data including clinical, serological, administrative, demographic, socioeconomic, cultural practices and lifestyle, and environmental data, among others. Our study will provide critical and urgently needed data to inform policy on workplace safety and the occupational risks of paramedics.

Process Outcomes in Pediatric Patients Undergoing Appendectomy during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Meta-Analysis of Case-Control Studies

Myles Cassidy, Principal Investigator

Dental emergencies- Covid 19: Dental Emergencies in academic and hospital-based settings during COVID-19

Nicholas Tong, Principal Investigators

The purpose of this study is to describe the types of dental emergencies treated during the COVID-19 pandemic in academic settings in Vancouver. I plan to collect data from dental clinics affiliated with the UBC Faculty of Dentistry that are treating dental emergencies during the COVID-19 pandemic. This data would include types of dental emergencies seen, patient demographics, follow up appointments required.