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Innovative partnerships are at the heart of what we do at Southlake. Through collaboration with our partners, including our staff members and physicians, Southlake is focusing on key research activities to champion a culture of exemplary care and deliver clinical excellence.

In addition to clinical trials and population health research, Southlake is home to a healthcare-focused innovation centre, called CreateIT Now. Through this centre  we support those who are developing the products, services and technologies that can solve today’s healthcare challenges.

Visit the CreateIT Now at Southlake website at

If you are interested in a research-related student placement at Southlake, please contact the Research Office at 905-895-4521, ext. 6638.

For information on the Research Ethics Board, including forms and templates, click here.

While COVID-19 continues to be a challenge around the world, Southlake and other hospitals in Ontario are taking a careful and slow resumption of healthcare programs and services following provincial guidance and best practices.

We are using the same conservative approach with our research activity using several key principles including:

  • patient/staff safety
  • priority resuming previously suspended research vs new research
  • collaboration with study sponsors

We are putting in place specific practices to facilitate the gradual, safe return to research activity over the next weeks and months. Please feel free to chat with your physician, trial coordinator if you have any questions or contact Sharon Villani, Research Department at 905-895-4521 ext. 6638 for further information.

Research Makes us Better

Health research is critical to the day-to-day work of Southlake. Research at Southlake provides greater opportunities for patients to access leading-edge treatments and procedures closer to home.  

The culture of innovation and research at Southlake has attracted internationally recognized physician researchers who continuously integrate and apply their expertise into the lives of our patients each day.  

As a large community hospital that delivers regional programs, Southlake has been focused on generating new knowledge and its application to improve healthcare outcomes of our patients for more than 30 years.  

Conducting a variety of research at our hospital helps us and researchers around the world to better understand disease and illness, which treatments work best and why the best ways to deliver health care and helps us understand the costs and benefits of a given health care intervention compared to another. Although much of the research is developed and funded by industry partners such as pharmaceutical companies, Southlake is proud to support academic and grant-funded research that comes from the minds of our own physicians and staff.

Southlake also collaborates in the research we do.  We collaborate with a variety of other hospitals throughout Canada and academic partners like York University, Ontario Tech University, University of Toronto and McMaster University not only to tackle important questions about health and healthcare but also to support a new generation of student learners and researchers.

Staff, students and clinicians have been conducting research at Southlake for more than 30 years. As a snapshot of current research activity at Southlake, here is a brief overview of some of our current activity:

  • 200+  current active research projects.
  • 80-100 new research studies are submitted to the Research Ethics Board each year.
  • As of March 2019, 68% of research conducted at Southlake was related to our Regional Cancer and Cardiac Programs. 

Journals, magazines, newspapers, conferences, poster presentations, web publications are sources of information in all disciplines. We are pleased to offer a listing of Southlake staff, physician and student publications and presentations. 

Please follow this link to our repository.

Research We Thrive On

Southlake is interested in a wide variety of research, from clinical trials to grant-funded, investigator-initiated and academic research. We are proud to say we have been involved in all of these types of research activities.  

Broadly, we have defined a variety of research areas of interest and look for opportunities to conduct research in each of these particular areas:

  • Remote monitoring
  • Devices
  • Adaptive aids
  • Advanced interventional techniques
  • Advanced imaging and diagnostics
  • Predictive medicine
  • Personalized medicine
  • Medications and device trials

Study Title: Anti-Coronavirus Therapies to prevent COVID-19 progression (ACT) Trial

SRHC Principal Investigator: Dr. Carter Thorne

Summary:  The goal of this study is to test whether certain drugs can prevent disease progression. The drugs being tested are hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, which are commonly used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus; azithromycin, which is an antibiotic that is used to treat bacterial infections and interferon beta, which is commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis.

Study Population: COVID-19 positive inpatients and outpatients


Study Title: Assessing the psychological, social, and economic impacts of an emerging pandemic (C19 Online Survey)

SRHC Principal Investigator: Janet Jeffrey, RN, PhD

Summary: To examine the psychological, social, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic at various stages of the outbreak. Special attention will be given to social isolation, as well as family and work related factors.

Study Population: All individuals who are at least 12 years of age

Link to Survey: COVID-19 Online Survey       


  • Clinical outcomes related to diagnostic and treatment procedures
  • Examination of delivery models against health and non-health outcomes (cost, accessibility)
  • Population health (supporting new models of health care delivery like OHT’s and Southlake@Home)
  • Health data analysis
  • Personalized medicine
  • Predictive medicine
  • Digital and Information Technology innovation
  • Networked health
  • Participatory medicine
  • Health economics
  • Resource management, efficiencies and effectiveness
  • Health decision-making
  • Assessment of teaching or learning models
  • Outcomes of interprofessional education on care delivery and practitioner satisfaction and competence

Leading EDGE Research Program

Southlake is committed to advancing research to champion a culture of exemplary care and deliver clinical excellence.

As part of conducting research at the hospital, the Leading Edge Research Program (LERP) was created to provide more opportunities for our patients and researchers to connect.

The hospital maintains records of the care provided to every patient who receives care.  As part of this research program, authorized hospital staff members, upon request from a researcher, will review health records, (including your records) to identify past or present patients who may be eligible to join a research study. Only health records of individuals registered at the hospital for care on or after October 7, 2020 will be included in any of these reviews.

Only authorized Southlake staff will review you records prior to contacting you about a study you may be eligible to join. If the research is being conducted by a Southlake researcher, you will be contacted directly by study personnel to see if you are interested in learning more about a study.

LERP also enables authorized external researchers from universities and healthcare institutions to connect with Southlake patients.  If the study is being conducted by one of these third-parties, a Southlake staff member would contact you and ask your permission to share your name and contact information with the researcher.

We safeguard your privacy and will not release any of your personal contact information outside of Southlake without your permission.

It is always your choice to participate or not in a research study. A researcher is not permitted by law to review your health record unless you consent to participate in research that has been approved by the hospital.

Research is very specific. Not all patients qualify to be enrolled in a particular research study. Individual characteristics, such as age, diagnosis, gender and overall health history, are considered when determining participant eligibility.

LERP involves internal streamlined processes that enables us to screen thousands of health records against various study criteria. This results in offering more patients research opportunities while continuing to protect your rights to privacy and confidentiality.

If you do not wish to be considered for any research, simply tell the registration clerk. We will not look at your health information for research purposes if you ask us not to. You can also call the Research Office anytime afterwards at 905-895-4521 ext. 6638.

Remember, research participation is strictly voluntary and you can decline to be considered for future studies through LERP at any time.

Personal health information will not be released to external researchers or collected by Southlake researchers without your explicit consent to participate in a study that has been approved by the Southlake Research Ethics Board.

For more information, contact the Research Office at Southlake at 905-895-4521, ext. 6638.

About the Southlake Regional Health Centre Research Ethics Board (SRHC REB)

The SRHC REB is an autonomous body that has been established and granted authority by the Institution (the hospital) to protect the rights, safety and well-being of study participants (including patients, staff, physicians, volunteers) who participate in research conducted under the auspices of Southlake Regional Health Centre.

In 2016, SRHC REB was the first Ontario community hospital to achieve CTO (Clinical Trials Ontario) Qualification status and may act as the REB of Record for multi-centre studies across the Province.

For your convenience, we have included all the links to Southlake’s Research Ethics Board (REB) forms. 

The REB is comprised of scientific and non-scientific members. This would typically include physicians, clinical staff, non-affiliated community members/lawyers, and individuals that are knowledgeable in ethics and privacy, relevant to research involving humans.

If you are interested in volunteering as an REB member, please contact Sharon Villani at 905-895-4521 ext. 6638 or by email at   

We are currently recruiting for additional physician members (active or retired).

REB Membership Lists (PDF Format)


The SRHC REB is organized and operates in accordance with the Tri-Council Policy Statement on Ethical Conduct of Research Involving Humans (TCPS2 2018); Clinical Trials Ontario (CTO) REB Qualification Standards, the International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH) Good Clinical Practice Guidelines (GCP); Part C, Division 5 of the Food and Drug Regulations of Canada; Part 4 of the Natural Health Product Regulations; Medical Devices Regulations, and the provisions within the Ontario Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA) and all other applicable laws and regulations.  The Southlake Regional Health Centre REB is registered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office for Human Research Protection (OHRP).

The Southlake REB has adopted the N2 CAREB REB SOPs.

Physicians and staff can access all other research-related SOPs on Southlake’s Intranet.

Participating in a Clinical Trial may save a life! We know that the advances in medicine, and broadly speaking healthcare in general, have come from the work of health care researchers and from people like you who have been willing to try new pharmaceuticals and new medical devices to prove their worth and value. However, not all clinical trials are about drugs, medical devices or treatments. Clinical trials have helped develop screening processes and prevention methods to find diseases earlier or prevent them altogether. The value of lifestyle changes like exercise and diet are studied through clinical trials, and more often, people are surviving diseases like cancer due to clinical trials and other research efforts.

Southlake encourages you to consider becoming a research participant so that the knowledge gained from clinical trials and other types of studies will benefit generations to come. Ask your doctor or clinician if there is a study available that you may be eligible to join, or for general inquiries call the Research Office:

c/o Sharon Villani, REB Administrator
Telephone 905-895-4521, ext. 6638

For more information on participation in a clinical trial and to be better informed about your rights and responsibilities when it comes to being a participant in a clinical trial, follow this link: “It Starts With Me” The video was provided by and is used with permission of N2 ©N2.

The Research Office at Southlake is the starting point for your research journey.

Services and support by the Research Office:

  • We will provide you with information on policies and procedures when doing research at Southlake.
  • We will offer you assistance with the Research Ethics Board process and getting your research study approved by the hospital.
  • We can assist researchers when applying for grants, submitting papers for publication and statistical analysis.
  • We work with applicants on overseeing research grants, including the process of applying for and receiving grants and the disbursement and tracking of funds.
  • We advise and facilitate general training and courses to physicians and clinicians looking to make a start in research.
  • We will assist you in obtaining legal expertise for review of clinical trial agreements or advising on the commercialization of intellectual property.
  • We will provide support to researchers through our research scientist for the development of new research initiatives.
  • We will help researchers determine the resources required/costs to conduct a study and facilitate the overall hospital approval process for the research to proceed.

Contact Information:

Sharon Villani
Manager, Corporate Research Support Services
call 905-895-4521, ext. 6638

Summer Research Projects

For over six years, Southlake Regional Health Centre has run our Summer Research Volunteer Program.  This program matches 2nd, 3rd and 4th-year University students and other individuals with equivalent life experiences with discovery, research and quality improvement projects developed by Southlake staff and physicians.  The Summer Research Volunteer Program allows our Summer Volunteers to participate in project selection that best meets their interests and develop real-world research and quality improvement skills in executing those projects over the summer months. Under the supervision of our Southlake Research Scientist, Summer Volunteers help develop research proposals, complete Research Ethics Board applications, conduct research, analyze data and help develop a final report.  Opportunities for publication and presentations also exist for some of the summer projects. The focus of these projects varies from year to year and from program to program. 

The questions posed by the research projects are often about:

  • The efficacy of a particular treatment or intervention
  • Describing a particular patient population
  • Evaluating data to identify trends or characteristics of a patient group

The quality improvement projects seek to understand more about the services we deliver and the effectiveness of what we do. This project work is conducted between May to August each year under the supervision of a Southlake lead.

Note: we do not have wet labs, animal labs and do not conduct research on new molecules.

Return on Investment
As a Summer Research Volunteer, we believe this experience helps to provide you with significant insight into a large community hospital and the complexities of conducting research and quality assurance activities in a controlled environment. We will provide you with a great hands-on experience, the ability to work with clinical teams, potentially with patients and families, and to do meaningful work that will impact the lives of others. These experience are key in helping prepare for further educational pursuits and the opportunity to present/publish (for select projects) is invaluable.  

Once you have completed your project, we will also ask for your feedback on how to improve the Summer Research Volunteer Program and we will provide you with proof of attendance and contribution.

Benefits for Southlake

From the Hospital’s point of view, we are delighted each year with the quality of the research and quality assurance projects that come forward and the outstanding quality of the final project reports. Southlake staff and physicians are able to gather new information, identify new trends, and understand problems and solutions more clearly. They are also often able to implement changes based on the data that comes forward from summer projects.

We know our patients benefit as well, through our better understanding of what works best.

Research volunteers are undergraduate university students who have completed at least their second year of university, or individuals with a particular interest and or background that includes an interest in pursuing research and quality improvement projects.

Volunteers submit an application form briefly outlining areas of interest and availability. Southlake’s Volunteer Services staff will contact selected candidates regarding the next step in the Summer Research Volunteer recruitment process, which includes a phone interview. 

Once selected for the program, volunteers are connected with the Research and Innovation Department where they meet with a Southlake Research Scientist to better understand the nature and variety of projects available and to find the best fit possible between the volunteer’s interests and Southlake project needs.

Volunteers normally begin their project work in May and finish in mid to late August. 

To apply to the Summer Research Volunteer Program you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be a university student who will have completed at least their second year of university by May, or have other equitable work and or life experiences.
  • Be able to commit one full eight hour day per week, or two four hour half days per week, between May to August during normal business hours (Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). 
  • Meet all of Southlake’s Volunteer Services requirements (i.e. phone interview, vulnerable sector check, immunizations, etc.).
  • Have an understanding of research methodology.
  • Have relevant experience with research, academic, volunteer and or work experience.
  • Be detail-oriented.
  • Be punctual.
  • Have excellent computer skills, including Microsoft Excel.
  • Have the ability to perform literature searches.
  • Be comfortable working with data.

Getting Started
To apply for a Summer Research Volunteer position click here. We do receive more applications than there are projects available, so it is best to apply early. Applications are accepted November 1 to November 30 of each year. 

Contact Us
For questions about the volunteer process, call 905-895-4521 ext. 2763
For questions about the Summer Research Volunteer Program, contact

Southlake and its academic partners have a long history of partnership and collaboration, bringing the academic and research power of several of Ontario’s leading universities to Southlake staff, physicians and our patients.  Likewise, Southlake has been able to provide to researchers, academics and students across several Ontario Universities opportunities to ground their scholarly and research pursuits in the lived real-life experience of patients, families and the hospital environment. This mixing of academics, researchers, clinicians, patients and families sets the stage for the best possible experiences and for meaningful discovery. 

In addition, Southlake offers an in-house Research Scientist to support our staff and physicians in developing their research interests, helping to design research protocols, navigate the Research Ethics Board process, conduct their research, gather and analyze data and develop final reports for internal use and/or external publication or presentation. 

Projects can be wide-ranging but often fall into the following areas:

  • biomedical research
  • patient-oriented research
  • health policies and systems
  • population and  community health

For further information on research collaborations and accessing our Research Scientist, contact Jessica Kerr at 905 895 4521, ext. 2763 or

Study Title: Anti-Coronavirus Therapies to prevent COVID-19 progression (ACT) Trial

SRHC Principal Investigator: Dr. Carter Thorne

Summary:  The goal of this study is to test whether certain drugs can prevent disease progression. The drugs being tested are hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine, which are commonly used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis or lupus; azithromycin, which is an antibiotic that is used to treat bacterial infections and interferon beta, which is commonly used to treat multiple sclerosis.

Study Population: COVID-19 positive inpatients and outpatients


Study Title: Assessing the psychological, social, and economic impacts of an emerging pandemic (C19 Online Survey)

SRHC Principal Investigator: Janet Jeffrey, RN, PhD

Summary: To examine the psychological, social, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic at various stages of the outbreak. Special attention will be given to social isolation, as well as family and work related factors.

Study Population: All individuals who are at least 12 years of age

Link to Survey: COVID-19 Online Survey       


Study Title:  Risk of death or respiratory failure in patients with COVID-19 who received an ACE inhibitor, ARB, or NSAID: A Multicentre Cohort study [COVID-ACE/ARB/NSAID]

SRHC Principal Investigator: Dr. Yaariv Khayin

Summary: A retrospective study investigating the association between use of ACE inhibitors, ARBs, or NSAIDs with all-cause mortality, intensive care unit (ICU) admission or respiratory failure requiring mechanical ventilation among hospitalized patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19.

Study Population: COVID-19 positive adults 40 years and older