Richard Sawatzky, PhD, RN

Professor of Nursing; Canada Research Chair in Equitable People-Centred Health Measurement
Throughout my career as a registered nurse, researcher, and educator, I have been motivated by a desire to find ways of reorienting system-driven health care that focuses on what works for most people to people-centred health care that pays attention to those whose needs are not being met and that promotes greater agency to patients in identifying priorities for their own healthcare.

Sawatzky joined the TWU School of Nursing in 2001, he is also an affiliate Professor at the prestigious Sahlgrenska Academy & Centre for Person-Centred Care at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, head of the Patient-Reported Outcomes program at the Centre for Advancing Health Outcomes, and scientific advisor with the British Columbia Ministry of Health Office of Patient-Centred Measurement.

As a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) at Trinity Western University, Sawatzky leads a team of patients, healthcare providers and researchers who work together to advance a new paradigm of equitable people-centred health measurement (EPHM). This research program focuses on developing and evaluating novel, comprehensive approaches for unbiased measurements of diverse people’s perspectives of their healthcare needs, outcomes, and experiences. This includes a range of quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, and integrated knowledge translation projects to:

  1. Advance methods for equitably measuring diverse perspectives of health and healthcare experiences
  2. Integrate equitable people-centred health measurement into digital health record systems
  3. Support quality of life assessments in healthcare for people living with chronic conditions and their family caregivers

Dr. Sawatzky’s clinical background is in palliative care. He has taught undergraduate courses on nursing research, medical and surgical nursing, nursing care of older adults, and health assessment as well as graduate courses on knowledge synthesis, quantitative research methods, and research methodology in the Master of Science and Doctoral programs at the School of Nursing.
Find out more about research by Dr. Sawatzky and his team at, including links to introductory resources and videos on:

  1. Equitable people-centred health measurement methodology
  2. Applications in healthcare, including quality assessments for older adults and family caregivers, and people living with kidney disease


  • Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (University of British Columbia, School of Nursing, Vancouver, BC, Canada; 2007) - Dissertation: The Measurement of Quality of Life and its Relationship with Perceived Health Status in Adolescents.
  • Master of Science in Nursing (University of British Columbia, School of Nursing, Vancouver, BC, Canada; 2002) - Thesis: A Meta-Analysis of the Relationship between Spirituality and Quality of life.
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Trinity Western University, Langley, BC, Canada; 1999)


Sawatzky’s expertise lies in the practical, theoretical, and methodological foundations of health-related quality of life, patient-reported outcome, and patient-reported experience measures in healthcare. Methods include quantitative analysis (psychometrics), mixed methods research, research synthesis, and knowledge translation.

Research Interests: Equitable people-centred health measurement and quality of life assessment, with a focus on people living with chronic conditions and family caregivers.

Research Experience Summary: validation of health an healthcare experience measures; computer adaptive health measurement; longitudinal measurement of health and quality of life; use of quality of life assessment tools; a palliative approach; social determinants of health; person-centred care.

Research Specialization Key Words: Patient-reported outcomes, health-related quality of life, palliative approach, measurement validity, psychometrics, knowledge synthesis, spirituality and health.

Research Centres: Centre for Advancing Health Outcomes – University of British Columbia & Providence Health Care; Institute on Aging & Lifelong Health – University of Victoria; Sahlgrenska Academy & Centre for Person-Centred Care – University of Gothenburg.

Funded Research

Led or co-led by Dr. Sawatzky (see CV for further details and other research projects).

  • A realist evaluation: Why, for whom, in what circumstances does CBT work for people with depressive symptoms receiving dialysis? K. Schick-Makaroff (principal investigator); J. Greenhalgh, R. Sawatzky, H. Wong, (co-principal applicants); D. Cukor, S. Ahmed, C. Bohm, C., M. Elliott, C. Harris, J. Hingwala, S. Klarenbach, E. Kusi-Appiah, JY. Kwon, SH. Lo, P. Mharapara, I. Mucsi, J. Öhlen, N. Pannu, F. Reintjes, K. Ryz, M. Smith, S. Thompson (co-applicants). Funder: Alberta Innovates, LevMax – Health Relaunch, $1,000,000. Partners: Cambian Business Services. (2023/03 - 2026/3)
  • Novel Methods for Equitable People-Centred Health Measurement. R. Sawatzky (principal investigator); L. Cuthbertson, L. Lix, M. Santana, A. Salmon, K. Schick-Makaroff, J. Valderas, S. Zelinsky, B. Zumbo (co-principal applicants).  M. Antonio, S. Clelland, K. Courtney, C. Falk, F. Fischer, A. Gadermann, C. Gibbons, M. Hawkins, J. Jackson, S. Klarenbach, J. Kopec, JY. Kwon, F. Lau, J. Liu, A. Mehdipour, J. Öhlén, J. O'Rourke, A. Pinto, P. Ratner, L. Russell, T. Sajobi, J. Valderas, M Verdam, A. Wolff, H. Wong (co-applicants). Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Project Grant, $761,176. Partners: Cambian Business Services; BC Office of Patient-Centred Measurement. (2022/4 - 2026/3)
  • Social Determinants and Quality of Life Measurement Framework for Indigenous Digital Health Systems. R. Sawatzky (principal investigator); K. Rieger (co-principal investigator); Ayumi Sasaki, Kathleen Lounsbury, Monica Friesen (fellows). Funding provided through the Indigenous Digital Health Ecosystem (IDHE) - Digital Supercluster. (2022/9 - 2024/4)

  • Person-Centred e-Health Information System. R. Sawatzky (principal investigator). Funder: Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), John R. Evans Leaders Fund, $ 169,795. (2018/6 – 2023/5)

  • Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on health outcomes and healthcare experiences as reported by frail older adults who are living at home, and their family caregivers. R. Sawatzky, K. Schick-Makaroff (principal investigators); B. Fominoff, C. Beach (principal knowledge users). Funder: BC Academic Health Science Network Society, COVID-19 Grant, $ 46,186. (2020/4 – 2021/3)

  • Including Patient Voice in Healthcare System Performance: Development of Patient-Centred Care Indicators. P. Lopez (M. Jose), H. Quan, & R. Sawatzky (principal investigators); S. E. Brien, B. M. Lashewicz, K. H. Leeb, D. Lorenzetti, M. Lu, K. Manalili, M. O'Beirne, T. T. Sajobi, V. W. Yiu, & S. Zelinsky (co-investigators). Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Project Grant, $ 252,450 (2018/2 - 2021/2)

  • No one size fits all for measuring what matters: Supporting the use of PRO data in healthcare. R. Sawatzky, J-Y. Kwon (principal investigators); E. Stringham (Decision Maker). Funder: Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Canadian Institutes of Health Research, REACH Grant, $ 15,000 (2019/9 - 2020/8)

  • Supporting Quality of Life Assessments of Frail Older Adults and their Family Caregivers. R. Sawatzky & K. Schick-Makaroff (principal investigators); R. Cohen, L. Cuthbertson, N. Hilliard, E. Laforest, J. Ohlen, L. Russell, K. Stajduhar, T. Stephen, L. Terblanche & A. Wolff (co-investigators); J. Carlson, S. Cory, J. Gerke, M. Karimi-Dehkordi, M. Kuo, M. Mancuso, B. MacLean, J. McLean & B. McLeod (collaborators); G. Cowman, J. Huang, M. Luk, & A. Maybee (patient collaborators); B. Forde, E. Stringham, & L. Zetes-Zanatta (decision makers); L. Chung, D. Duquette & T. Lepp (HQPs). Funder: Canadian Fraility Network, 2018 Catalyst Grant Competition, $99,937 (2018-2020)

  • Including Patient Voice in Healthcare System Performance: Development of Patient-Centred Care Indicators. P. Lopez (M. Jose), H. Quan, & R. Sawatzky (principal investigators); S. E. Brien, B. M. Lashewicz, K. H. Leeb, D. Lorenzetti, M. Lu, K. Manalili, M. O'Beirne, T. T. Sajobi, V. W. Yiu, & S. Zelinsky (co-investigators). Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Project Grant, $ 252,450 (2018-2021)

  • Statistical Methods for Patient-Reported Outcome Measures. R. Sawatzky, & T.T. Sajobi (principal investigators); E.R. Bohm, S. Bryan, A.M. Gadermann, W. Hopman, J. Liu, L. Lix, N.E. Mayo, K.M. Sibley, & X. Wu (co-investigators); L.N. Cuthbertson, & G.K. Webster (knowledge users). Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Operational Grant Program; $309,764. (2015-2018).

  • Electronic Patient-Reported Outcomes in Clinical Kidney Practice (ePRO Kidney). K. Schick-Makaroff & R. Sawatzky (principal investigators); S. Klarenbach (principal knowledge user); R. Cohen, S. Palfreyman, & R. Pauly (co-investigators); L. Cuthbertson, J. MacRae, R. Quinn, F. Reintjes, & J. Wu (knowledge-users); B. Forde, L. Lee, F. Robles, G.Vitale, & J. Voth (collaborators). Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Project Grant; $424,298. (2016-2019).

  • Integrating a Quality of Life Assessment and Practice Support System in Homecare Services for Older Adults with Life-limiting Illness and Their Families. R. Sawatzky (principal investigator); R. Cohen, K. Schick-Makaroff, & K. Stajduhar (co-principal investigators); N. Hilliard (clinician lead/principal knowledge user); L. Zetes-Zanatta (decision maker/ principal knowledge user); Bottorff, S. Bryan, P. Dodek, K. Fraser, A. Gadermann, E. Laforest, M. Parrilla Lopez, S. Reimer-Kirkham, P.A. Ratner, L. Russell, H. Tsang, M. Santana, & D. Whitehurst (co-investigators); T. Edwards, G. Ewing, G. Grande, & J. Öhlén (international collaborators); S. Baxter, S. Brown, J. Carlson, S. Cory, L. Cuthbertson, J. Gerke, B. McLeod, C. Paul, J. Resin, D. Roberts, C. Tayler, D. Williscroft, & J. Warneboldt (knowledge users). Partners: Fraser Health; Cambian Business Services, Inc; J. Voth & Intogrey Research and Development. This research is supported by: Geoff Cowman, CARP (Richmond/Delta.; Barb MacLean, Family Caregivers of British Columbia (; Canadian Hospice Palliative Care Association (; The Canadian Virtual Hospice; Mary Lok, Alies Maybee, & Catherine Yau (patient/family caregiver representatives). Funder: Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Electronic Health Innovation Partnership Program; C$749,816. (2015-2019).

  • Impacts of a Palliative Approach for Nursing (iPANEL). K. I. Stadjuhar, & C. Tayler (co-principal investigators); R. Sawatzky, A. Syme, B. McLeod, B. Pesut, D. Roberts, G. Doane, M. Funk, … (co-investigators).  Funder:  Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, BCNRI Investigative Team; $940,307. (2010-2017). See:

Awards & Honors

  • Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Equitable People-Centred Health Measurement. Granting Council: CIHR. (2023 – present)
  • Barer-Flood Prize in Health Services and Policy Research. Granting Council: CIHR. Recognizing and supporting research excellence among Canadian Senior-Career Investigators working within Health Services and Policy Research (2021)
  • Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Nursing (FCAN; 2020)
  • Centenary Medal of Distinction. Presented by the University of British Columbia, School of Nursing (2019)
  • Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Person-Centred Outcomes (Title prior to 2017 – Patient-Reported Outcomes). Granting Council:  CIHR. (2013 – 2023)
  • Excellence in Advancing Nursing Knowledge and Research Award. Presented by the Association of Registered Nurses of British Columbia (2016)

Recent Publications

Please see publications listed in GOOGLE SCHOLAR | PUBMED | PROFILE | RESEARCHERID


Access Sawatzky’s publications map

Program of Research Topics

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    Affiliations & Memberships

    • Scientific Advisor, British Columbia Ministry of Health, Office of Patient-Centred Measurement, Vancouver, BC (2020 – present)

    • Affiliate Professor, University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg, Sweden (2018 – present)

    • Program Head in Patient-Reported Outcomes, University of British Columbia – Centre for Advancing Health Outcomes, Vancouver, BC (2017 – present)

    • Research Affiliate, University of Victoria – Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health, Victoria, BC (2016 – present)

    • Adjunct Faculty Member, University of Victoria - School of Nursing, Victoria, BC (2012 – present)

    Undergraduate Courses Taught to Date:

    • NURS 116            Health Assessment
    • NURS 245            Nursing Care of Older Adults 
    • NURS 332            Nursing Research
    • NURS 482            Consolidation of Nursing Practice

    Master's Courses Taught to Date:

    • NURS 520            Knowledge Synthesis
    • NURS 540            Nursing Inquiry II (quantitative methods)
    • NURS 692/693     Knowledge Translation

    Doctoral Courses Taught to Date:

    • NURS 700            Doctoral Seminars
    • NURS 720            Advanced Research Methodology