Rural Research spotlight

The SRPC Research Committee is dedicated to improving the accessibility and awareness of Canadian and International rural health research to SRPC members at any stage in their career. This page outlines important aspects of current rural health research in Canada, including research opportunities, upcoming research events, and highlights of recent publications. 

research Opportunities

Master of Medical Studies program - Northern Ontario School of Medicine

Opportunity Type: Master of Medical Studies

Where: Northern Ontario School of Medicine

Posted on SRPC website: 26-Jul-2021

More Information: The Master of Medical Studies (MMS) program will provide foundational research skills for physicians who want to develop a robust approach to answering health care questions. The program will focus on developing the necessary skills to acquire grant funding, obtain ethics approval, develop a research question and appropriate methodology, complete the research study, and finally write and present the results at conferences and in publication. Our goal is for learners to focus on health care problems in the north to improve the health status of all people in northern, rural, and remote communities. The MMS uses an asynchronous model to deliver the course material, the courses will be available online. Students can complete this program remotely with a flexible schedule. There is no in person requirement for this program.


Medical Student Research Opportunity

Opportunity Type: Research Assistant

Principle Investigator: Dr. Sarah Lespérance

Posted on SRPC website: 29-Apr-2021

More Information: Are you a medical student interested in rural research, resilience, and generalism? A research study related to systemic challenges and resilience protectors, in relation to scope of practice of rural physicians, is looking to hire a student to help with knowledge translation work, as well as possible development of further research proposals in this domain. The timeframe would be to complete work between now and July 31, 2021 due to grant deadlines. If you might be interested in learning more about this opportunity, please email

Funding is available for graduate students and health professionals who are interested in conducting patient-oriented research

NL SUPPORT and Quality of Care NL are excited to announce that funding is available for graduate students and health professionals who are interested in conducting patient-oriented research. At least one grant for each funding opportunity will be designated for research led by an Indigenous student/health professional or in partnership with an Indigenous community:


NL SUPPORT’s annual educational funding competition has reopened for new or current graduate students with an interest in translational, applied or other patient-oriented research. Funding is available for up to two years for an MSc and three years for a PhD student, beginning January 2022. The value of this award will be for a maximum of $14,000/year for Masters’ students and $18,000/year for PhDs. For details, guidelines and application materials, visit


NL SUPPORT invites health professionals working actively in a clinical role who would like to move into research or have a specific question with a patient-oriented research focus to apply to our annual health professional-led funding competition. Up to five grants of up to $10,000 each will be awarded. For details, guidelines and application materials, visit

Inquiries about these funding opportunities?

Contact: NL SUPPORT’s  Julia Elizabeth Burt

Would you like to promote a Canadian rural health research opportunity? We'd love to hear about it. Please connect with us at

Upcoming research Events

    • 23-Sep-2021
    • 31-Dec-2021
    • Ottawa, ON

    Call for Abstracts - Rural & Remote 2022

    The Rural & Remote 2022 Planning Committee is currently accepting abstracts for presentations.  We have our fingers crossed for an in-person event scheduled to take place in Ottawa, Ontario, April 21st – 23rd, 2022. 

    The committee is accepting abstracts for three types of presentations related to any aspect of health and healthcare in a rural and remote setting.

    • Session / Workshop Presentation
    • Research Oral Presentation
    • Research Poster Presentation

    All abstract submissions will undergo peer review by the Planning Committee and/or SRPC Research Committee.


    Session / Workshop Presentation – September 30th, 2021

    Research Oral Presentation – September 30th, 2021

    Research Poster Presentation – December 31st, 2021


    Additional Information

    Session / Workshop: These sessions should focus on clinical skills and knowledge development related to rural practice. Sessions / Workshops will be 60 minutes in duration and should be interactive and engaging.

    Research Oral Presentation: Share information or results from a proposed, ongoing, or completed research project. Oral presentations will include 10 minutes to present and 5 minutes for Q&A.

    Research Poster Presentation: Share information or results from a proposed, ongoing, or completed research project. Posters will be presented during a dedicated poster and networking session at the conference.

    Prefer to Email Your Submission?

    Abstracts may be submitted via email to using the following guidelines.

    • Abstracts are limited to one page (maximum 300 words) not including title, author names and affiliations, or key words and the required information is listed below.

    • The name of the presenting author should be asterisked (*).

    • All co-authors and primary affiliations should be listed.

    • The SRPC encourages speakers to consider a student or resident to co-present.

    • Abstracts must be submitted in a Word document.

    • Abstracts must disclose any conflicts of interest.

    Session / Workshop Presentation (300 words maximum)


    Presenter(s) and contact information (email, phone number)

    Learning Objectives

    Description of the talk

    Research Oral and Research Poster Presentations (300 words maximum)


    Author(s) and contact information (email, phone number)

    Presentation format preference (oral or poster)

    IMRaD Format (Introduction, Methods, Results, and Discussion)


    • 23-Nov-2021
    • (PST)
    • Zoom

    BC Rural Health Research Exchange (BCRHRx)

    After a very successful inaugural event, the Rural Coordination Centre of BC (RCCbc) and Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues (JSC) are pleased to support the second BC Rural Health Research Exchange (BCRHRx), a virtual half-day event filled with brief rapid-style presentations designed to inform, engage and share current rural research in British Columbia. This is not your grandparents’ stodgy academic conference (elbow patches and tweed jackets are optional)! At this event, we want to find out together: “What sort of rural research is happening in BC?”

    Date: November 23, 2021 - 8:30 am to 12 pm PST

    More Info & Registration:

    • 21-Apr-2022
    • 23-Apr-2022
    • Ottawa, ON

    SAVE THE DATE - April 21-23, 2022

    The 29th Annual Rural and Remote Medicine Course

    Plan to join us in person in Ottawa, Ontario

    Event details are being added below as they become available. Registration in be open in the fall.

    Now Accepting Abstracts

    The Rural & Remote 2022 Planning Committee is currently accepting abstracts for presentations. Do you have an exciting presentation that would be a great addition to our program? All of the details are available online. REGISTER YOUR ABSTRACT ONLINE HERE


    The SRPC has arranged discounted hotel room rates at your choice of THREE locations. Please note the cut-off dates. If you need to reserve a room after, you'll need to call the hotel directly, and the group rate will not be guaranteed.

    • Fairmont Château Laurier 

    (Reserve by Sunday, March 20th, 2022)
    Check-in as early as April 16th and check-out as late as April 28th.
    (4 min walk to Shaw Centre) Room rates start at $235

    1 Rideau Street
    Ottawa ON K1N 8S7
    Online Booking Here

    Book by phone at 1-800-441-1414 (Booking code srpc0422)
    *Parking $50.00 CAN/day for valet or $40 for outdoor self-parking with unlimited in/out access. 

    • Novotel Ottawa City Centre

    (Reserve by Monday, March 21st, 2022)
    Check-in as early as April 20th and check-out as late as April 24th. 
    (6 min walk to Shaw Centre) Room rates start at $189

    33 Nicholas Street
    Ottawa ON K1N 9M7
    Online Booking to come

    Book by phone at 1-855-677-3033 (Booking code 1020952)
    Parking in public lot $28/day - See Hotel front desk for pass for
    unlimited in/out access.

    • Les Suites Hotel 

    (Reserve by Friday, March 4th, 2022)
    Check-in as early as April 15th and check-out as late as April 27th.
    (8 min walk to Shaw Centre) 

    Premiere One Bedroom Suites: $189.00/night (single/double)
    Premiere Two Bedroom Suites: $299.00/night (1-4 persons) 

    130 rue Besserer Street,
    Ottawa, Ontario, K1N 9M9
    Online Booking here
     (Booking code 235932) 

    Book by phone at 613-232-2000 or Toll-free: 1-800-267-1989
    *Parking $28.00 CAN/day with unlimited in/out access.


    Air Canada:  Book online and use discount code C3UQKUQ1

    • The booking is to be made to the following city: Ottawa, YOW (ON)
    • The travel period begins Thursday, April 14, 2022 and ends Saturday, April 30, 2022.
    • Travel is valid Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
    • No discount will apply to Standard bookings for travel within Canada or between Canada and the U.S. For International travel (destinations outside North America), discounts apply to all fares including Standard. 

    WestJet: Book online and use discount codeD28AF75

    • The booking is to be made to the following city: YOW – Ottawa, ON
    • The travel period begins: April 14-30, 2022
    • No discount will apply to Basic or Business class bookings. 

    Offer:  5% off Econo* and 10% off EconoFlex and Premium fares for travel within Canada and 2% off Econo*, 5% off EconoFlex and 10% off Premium base fares for guests traveling Trans-border into and out of Ottawa.

    Porter Air:

    Book online and use discount code. (TBD)

    Offer detail to come...


    Book online Participants must reference the event’s VIA convention discount code: 14180.

    VALID:    April 18th 2022 to April 27th 2022
    From all stations throughout the VIA system to Ottawa, Ontario and return.

    • Fare applies to a maximum of two passengers per booking.
    • One complimentary stopover is allowed at no additional charge.
    • For travel on all fare plans in Business class, the first stopover is allowed at no additional charge, provided that this stopover takes place in Toronto, Montreal or Ottawa only.

    DISCOUNT:  10% off the best available fare in Economy, Economy Plus, Business, Business Plus, Sleeper class. "Subject to the conditions and restrictions of the fare plan to which the additional discount is being applied." Discount does not apply in any Escape fares and Prestige Class.

    Transportation Options:

    From Ottawa International Airport (YOW) you have a few options to get down town.  Details here

    Bus : $3.65  will be a 25 minute ride + 7-10 min walk

    Private transportation/Taxi : approx $30.00

    OC Transpo’s info (Bus, O-Trian, LTR) - passes and rates: Get around the city with 1-7 day ride pass. Details here.  Let the family explore the city and  plan day trips or tour Ottawa pre or post-conference

    Ottawa Tourism:

    Making R&R a family trip or a couples getaway? Start planning now. Show your conference badge to any of the participating businesses and receive VIP offers designed exclusively for attendees and their companions.  Discover Ottawa and surrounding areas Look over the Ottawa Attraction Guide and the Ottawa Restaurant Guide.

    Did you know that Ottawa's Shaw Centre was named world’s best convention centre? This award is in recognition of the highest rating on client surveys received by a convention centre. Consider Shaw Centre for your next event! Read the Press Release.

    Alternative resources:

    Follow Ottawa Tourism on social media (Twitter; Facebook; Instagram) to see more of Ottawa and to plan your next visit! 

Hosting or aware of a rural health research event and would like to add it to our calendar?  Send us an email


Rural family physician perspectives on communication with urban specialists: a qualitative study 

Authors: Wilson MM, Devasahayam AJ, Pollock NJ, Dubrowski A, Renouf T 

Journal: BMJ Open (2021)

Summary & Impact: Communication between rural family physicians and urban specialists is a vital aspect of patient care in rural Canadian contexts. This qualitative study explored the perspectives of rural family physicians in Newfoundland and Labrador on communication with urban specialists during patient transfers and referrals. 11 family physicians practicing in rural communities (i.e., outside of the St. John’s metropolitan area) participated in semi-structured interviews and key themes were identified using thematic analysis. Important aspects of communication between rural physicians and urban specialists included a mutual understanding of the rural context, such as the sparsity of resources and the complexity of patient-physician relationships in rural areas, discussing the logistical and social challenges of transferring patients between rural and urban areas, and fostering a respectful professional discourse. Participants discussed individual- and system-level strategies that could be used to facilitate communication between rural and urban physicians, including improved use of telemedicine technologies. The results form this study provide key insights into how communication between rural and urban physicians can be improved to facilitate high-quality patient care in rural contexts.


Meet the Corresponding Author

Dr. Margo Wilson is a staff physician in the Emergency Medicine Program at Eastern Health (St. John’s, NL) and an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Memorial University. Dr. Wilson completed an MD degree at the University of Ottawa in 2007 followed by Family Medicine and Enhanced Skills in Emergency Medicine residencies at Memorial University in 2009 and 2010, respectively. Dr. Wilson completed her family medicine training in the Northern Family Medicine (NorFAM) Training Program in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador, where she then practiced as a staff physician from 2011 to 2017. Dr. Wilson has been a locum physician in multiple rural communities in Newfoundland and was the co-chair of the SRPC Rural & Remote Medicine National Conference in 2018 and 2019.

Question: Why is studying rural and remote health in Canada important to you? 

Dr. Wilson: Rural research is vital to generate evidence that is specific to the context of rural and remote communities. People living in rural communities face unique conditions and stressors, and those conditions might not be reflected in evidence that is generated in urban academic centers. If we want patient-centered and community-specific care, rural research is essential.

Photo: Margo Wilson

Check out past Research Features: Past Research Features.pdf

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