For the third year in a row, the Gynecologic Cancer Initiative (GCI) is excited to announce that we have been selected as one of the successful UBC Research Excellence Clusters for the 2021/22 academic year. The UBC Research Excellence Clusters are interdisciplinary networks of researchers focused on solving key challenges facing society. The GCRC was jointly created by the Vice-President, Research & Innovation and the Provost & Vice-President, Academic and is supported by UBC’s Academic Excellence Funds. 

Dr. Gavin Stuart, the GCI Strategic Lead, shares that “the UBC GCRC funding has allowed us to bring together diverse groups who knew each other but had not worked with each other in the pursuit of a common goal – reducing the impact of women’s cancer in BC. In addition to increasing our research output, by engaging with patients as partners, this has enabled an exchange of knowledge across the spectrum of those affected as well as providers. This aggregated activity has allowed trainees and learners to benefit from viewing the incredible body of work that is being done in this initiative and encourage career pathways”

These funds have supported numerous initiatives that support research and knowledge exchange with the goal of accelerating transformative research on prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship of gynecologic cancers.  It has allowed us to integrate patient-oriented research into gynecologic cancer research happening across the province through the Patient and Family Advisory Council. From partnering with researchers in clinical trial design to building knowledge exchange tools such as the GOSH Podcast, patient partners have been integral to the GCI.  

“The GCI has been incredibly impactful for me as a survivor. Since being introduced to the organization and becoming a patient partner, I’ve been able to use my voice and my experience with cervical cancer in such a meaningful way. The work we do in partnership gives space for conversations and knowledge sharing that is necessary for awareness, education and ultimately change. It also is truly healing for myself,” says Nicole Keay, a patient partner and co-host of the GOSH Podcast.

These funds have also supported the GCI Clinical Trials Group, a research hub from which innovative new ideas and studies have been carried out throughout BC by clinicians and researchers in the laboratory and in partnership with patients. To ensure equitable access to clinical studies and to promote collaboration across the province, the trials and studies have been pan-provincial, across multiple health authorities and institutions, diverse in the populations to be studied and ethical in their execution.  

In 2018, Dr. Jessica McAlpine receiving funding support for a clinical trial looking at the use of molecular classification among endometrial cancer patients. She says, “The Gynecologic Cancer Initiative’s commitment to building a clinical trial platform in BC has been transformative for our team. Through the GCI, we have secured funding, allowing us to launch our clinical trial across five BC Cancer sites. This amazing demonstration of feasibility has led to successful funding from the CIHR and engagement of the Canadian Clinical Trials Group (CCTG) for national and international expansion.”

Since 2018, the GCI has grown into a network of over 600 researchers, clinicians and patient advocates worldwide. We have been able to partner and work together across multiple institutions and foundations in British Columbia including BC Cancer, BC Cancer Foundation, BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre, BC Women’s Health Foundation, Women’s Health Research Institute, Vancouver Costal Health Research Institute, VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation, and UBC Development Office. With this funding, we can continue our mission to accelerate transformative research on the prevention, detection, treatment and survivorship of gynecologic cancers.  

“I am grateful to be part of this incredible multidisciplinary team with the vision of reducing the incidence and mortality of gynecologic cancers by 2034. Funding from the GCRC has been critical to catalyzing our joint efforts towards this vision, and for enabling trainees, patients, and external stakeholders to join us in this enterprise,” says Dr. Lori Brotto, GCI Steering Committee Member and Executive Director of the Women’s Health Research Institute. “As a GCI team member focused on addressing key survivorship questions in gynecologic cancers, I am excited about the transformative impacts that this GCRC renewal will have on survivors’ quality of life to enable ‘thriving’ beyond ‘surviving’.”

Questions about the Gynecologic Cancer Initiative? Email us at