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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:

  • Approximately 150 current active studies.
  • As of April 2023, 77% of research conducted at Southlake was related to our Regional Cancer and Cardiac Programs. 

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 svillani@southlake.ca.

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 2022); 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).

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 email researchsupport@southlake.ca

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 study coordinator services and guidance on conducting a clinical trial.
  • 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.

For more information, contact:

Catherine McPherson, Manager
Clinical Corporate Research
905-895-4521 ext. 5148

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


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. 

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

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.