New UBC research partnership connects patients with virtual health communities

The Stronger Together project connects patients with expert resources, online counselling, daily health trackers and opportunities to build social connections with Canadians experiencing similar health circumstances.

The Stronger Together project connects patients with expert resources, online counselling, daily health trackers and opportunities to build social connections with Canadians experiencing similar health circumstances.

Free online health resources, coaching and peer-to-peer support

Researchers with the UBC Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention and Management (CCDPM) have teamed up with digital health company Curatio to provide Canadians with virtual health support during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Stronger Together project harnesses Curatio’s social networking health app to connect patients with expert resources, online counselling, daily health trackers and opportunities to build social connections with Canadians experiencing similar health circumstances.

“Patients are facing unique challenges accessing health care resources during the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Kathleen Martin Ginis, director with the UBC Okanagan-based CCDPM. “We need to bridge these gaps and help patients build social connections that can improve their health and well-being.”

In addition to contributing expert content, CCDPM researchers will assist with program evaluation for the platform’s nine different public communities-which are cardiovascular health and well-being, disability and physical activity, stroke recovery, keeping mentally strong with multiple myeloma, respiratory health and well-being, prostate cancer, 4+2 diabetes reversal, plan to move your kids and parenting during COVID-19.

Curatio CEO Lynda Brown-Ganzert stresses the importance of helping patients stay healthy from their own home while also reducing the burden on an already-strained health care system.

“By providing daily virtual support to patients, we can help improve the lives of Canadians and support the important work of our dedicated health care professionals,” says Brown-Ganzert. “Current participants have already seen improvements in their health literacy and outcomes by using our private and secure platform, not to mention the enjoyment of making social connections with people going through the same thing.”

Individuals can register for free access at www.curatio.me/strongertogether. By joining the platform, participants will assist researchers in learning how to best offer virtual health support and contribute to Curatio’s program development.

“We are thrilled to offer this new online resource that will contribute to the health of Canadians and the health care system as a whole,” adds Martin Ginis.

The Stronger Together project is supported by an investment from the Digital Technology Supercluster which brings together private and public sector organizations of all sizes to address challenges facing Canada’s economic sectors including health care, natural resources, manufacturing and transportation.

About UBC’s Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC-ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities-the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley.

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