Gap Analysis


Many rural community residents in British Columbia feel that their healthcare needs are not being met as healthcare planning and policies often done through an urban lens. This does not acknowledge the unique context of rural communities including their geographies, population demographics, proximity to other health services and histories.

This is compounded by a lack of well-established processes for community engagement in British Columbia and an undefined pathway for integrating community voices into policy and planning discussions . To address this challenge, the UBC Centre for Rural Health Research (CRHR) and the BC Rural Health Network (BCRHN) are partnering on a study funded by the Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC). The purpose of this ‘gap analysis’ study is to understand and document rural residents’ and communities’ experiences of engagement with health care decision-making at a regional and provincial level.

Through interviews with key stakeholders, we hope to:

  • Understand the role of community voice in health policy decision-making at regional and provincial levels of government;
  • Understand the current gaps between rural community engagement and uptake of rural community voice in regional and provincial health planning;
  • Identify what strategies are currently used to include rural community voices in policy making including factors influencing these processes; and,
  • Develop strategies to close the gaps.

In addition to the interviews, we are administering a province-wide survey on residents’ experiences of engagement in health planning.

The study is the first step to bridge the gap between rural community voices and rural health policy in BC. Understanding and addressing this disconnect is essential to foster a more inclusive, representative, and effective health policy-making process, reflective of the inclusion and needs of rural communities. Findings from this study will be used to create recommendations for enhanced community participation in rural areas of BC.


View our final report here:



The project received a grant from the Social Planning and Research Council (SPARC) of British Columbia.


Media Coverage


Learn More:

For more information or to participate in this study, contact the Research Coordinator Kate Wills,


Research Team:

Principal Investigators:

Jude Kornelsen, PhD

Associate Professor

UBC Department of Family Practice


Paul Adams

Executive Director

BC Rural Health Network


Research Coordinator:

Kate Wills, MPH

UBC Department of Family Practice