Peer Researchers


In community-based research the involvement of communities or people who share a common experience or identity with the group being researched is of great importance. The involvement of these individuals, often referred to as “peers,” in research teams and processes is a common practice and, peers are increasingly hired into roles as “Peer Research Assistants” or “Community Research Associates.” Below are some resources for community-based research teams to use in applying this model.



  • The GIPA/MIPA principles (Greater/Meaningful Involvement of People Living with HIV/AIDS) is an important pillar in HIV community-based research. This principle recognizes the rights and responsibilities of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHIV), including their right to self determination. Read the UNAIDS GIPA policy brief for an overview of the principle.
  • The “Nothing About Us Without Us” principles outline the greater, meaningful involvement of people who use illegal drugs in policy, research, and services/programs.
  • OCAP principles (ownership, control, access and possession) are essential to consider when considering the involvement of Indigenous people and communities in community based research.



PAN’s Checklist for for CBR teams- what needs to be in place to support peer researchers (2019)

The Universities Without Walls eLearning for HIV– The UWW e-learning site guides you through the many facets of community-based research (CBR) using interactive educational modules to support the work of emerging HIV/AIDS research teams. The CBR 101 resources are of particular interest to new peer researchers to CBR.

HIV CBR Ethics Fact Sheet #8: Supporting Peer Research Assistants (2014) – Fact sheet authored by Adrian Guta, Sarah Flicker, Robb Travers, Sarah Switzer, Vicky Bungay, Winston Husbands, Renée Masching, Jesse Thistle, and Catherine Worthington. Four key issues are addressed in this fact sheet: the benefits of a peer research assistant (PRA) approach, training PRAs, supporting PRAs, and planning for study closure.

Peer Research in Action:  These working papers from the Wellesley Institute, Brenda Roche along with Sarah Flicker and Adrian Guta present Peer Research in Action in three parts: Models of Practice; Management, Support and Supervision; and, Ethical Issues.

CHIWOS Peer Researcher training guides: The Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Cohort Study (CHIWOS) is a Canadian community-based research study that has hired peer researchers in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec and prioritizes the leadership and values the experiences of the diverse women who are themselves living with HIV. They have shared their PRA Training Manual and  4-Day PRA Training Facilitators’ Guides so that others may benefit from their work to develop tools that support and facilitate the involvement of peers in research.

Peer Research Associate Learning Modules: Created by the Dr. Peter Centre, the purpose of these modules is to to assist organizations navigate the process of recruiting, hiring, training, orientating, supervising, and mentoring peer researchers.

Peer Worker Support Project: Developing Industry Support Standards for Peer Workers Living with HIV: Created by Terry Howard (former Director of Community-Based Research at Positive Living BC), this resource is a “living” document outlining support options for peer workers and those who employ them.



See the Peer Worker Support and Compensation page in the general Resources section.

CBR Tip Sheet – Compensating Peer Researchers: In community-based research, compensating people with lived experience to participate actively in the research process is a common practice. This document was developed by the Pacific AIDS Network with a provincial working group made up of members of the CBR Quarterly Meetings. It outlines some important considerations to take into account when developing compensation plans and policies for community-based research.

Payment for Involvement: A guide for making payments to members of the public actively involved in NHS, public health, and social care research (2010) – Guide published by Involve, an organization that supports greater public involvement in health research in the UK.


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  • Hepatitis C (HCV) is a viral infection just as HIV is a viral infection. Unlike HIV, however, HCV can be treated and cured.  Treatment for HCV is available to anyone living with hepatitis C in BC.   Explore in Detail: Hepatitis C: Epidemiology, testing, treatment, resources HCV Manifesto Hepatitis C Treatment Options Expand in BC

  • The Evaluation News blog covers our work within PAN and with organizations in the community.  Learn about different kinds of evaluation like Realist Evaluation, learn how other organizations are using evaluation approaches, meet evaluators on the job, and find out about how you can help in community evaluation. Explore in detail:  Evaluation News blog Evaluation… Read more »

  • People with HIV can live long and healthy lives if they access to treatment and social support as needed. As people with HIV age, however, complications of aging can compound challenges of living with HIV. Concerns for people with HIV who are aging can include income security, stigma, safe and affordable housing, aging in place,… Read more »

  • Our Fall Conference, AGM, PLHIV Forum and ED Summit gathers people from across the province who share their programs and services, learn about new developments in public health, and help build a vibrant and supportive community. We also offer Regional conferences to customize capacity building-needs for different service areas in BC. After the events, with permission… Read more »

  • We offer our KnowledgeConnect webinars to reach our  member organizations as well as community leaders and stakeholders. Information is available when our viewers have the opportunity to connect. Watch for news on upcoming webinars in the blog. Follow the blog for news on upcoming webinars   Explore webinars by theme: Advocacy, Policy, Public Health Health Determinants… Read more »

  • In April 2016 BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall declared the overdose epidemic in BC a public health emergency.  Despite committed efforts, the epidemic continues, as overdose statistics show.  This has significant impact on first responders, including frontline staff at Pacific AIDS Network (PAN) member and allied organizations, and especially people with lived experience… Read more »

  • In April 2016 BC’s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Perry Kendall declared the overdose epidemic in BC a public health emergency in April 2016.  Despite committed efforts, the epidemic continues, as overdose statistics show.  This has significant impact on first responders, including frontline staff at Pacific AIDS Network (PAN) member and allied organizations, and especially people… Read more »

  • Information about the law and the rights of people with HIV  Having HIV is not a crime, but law can impact heavily on the lives of people with HIV. The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network “is one of the world’s leading organizations tackling the legal and human rights issues related to HIV, and advocating at both… Read more »

  • Evaluation can help guide your organization or group to make decisions about programs, services, research, and more. Participatory research is just what it sounds like- people and communities take part in decision-making about what is evaluated, rather than being told what they “should” evaluate. Community is central to evaluation work and we can help you… Read more »


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