What would family practice be able to deliver, if we think outside the box?

Vancouver Citizens Health Initiative is a non-profit organization, grounded in community and dedicated to the future of accessible and sustainable primary care for all residents of BC.   We know that  primary care can deliver more of what patients and providers both want:  dramatically increasing the number of people who have a family doctor, improving the quality of care and reducing system costs.

Our purpose is to involve citizens and clinicians in building a healthcare system that is accessible to all for generations to come.  Our main tool is the power of relationships, and we work towards two objectives:

1.  We plan, develop and operate primary care clinics where relationships are the foundation for whole-person care and a collaborative culture.   We draw our inspiration from  clinical care providers who work as a team, integrate technology and help patients to achieve and maintain wellness.   We believe that by involving clinicians and citizens in designing great care settings, we can provide better and more convenient care for more people, within the fee for service system. 

2. We involve citizens in improving health care.  We know that everyone who has contact with the healthcare system in BC has a role to play in improving it.  We are moving the conversation past a phase of "patient engagement" to engaging citizens in all our complexity and diversity.  By engaging citizens in reflecting on healthcare relationships, we will build a sense of collective responsibility so we can continue to have a universally-affordable, high-quality system in the future.

We know that the world is changing - people want a strong and continuous relationship with a family doctor that they can access conveniently.  Clinicians want satisfaction, work-life balance and a shift towards prevention.   By asking citizens and clinicians about what really matters to them, we have developed a vision for primary care that can meet the demands of generations to come.  We invite you to be part of the conversation.


" I’m personally inspired how we could mobilize upstream interventions, like using community gardens, art and social programs to prevent illness"
                                                           Dr. Kristy Williams, BC Family Physician Resident

Why now?

We believe that the conditions are present for the emergence of a universally (and conveniently) accessible and sustainable primary care system.   

There is a recognition that primary care should be a focus of innovation.  Research shows that a strong relationship with a family doctor improves health and reduces system costs.  See the research

We know that using a team approach to provide care is a proven way to improve the quality of care and satisfaction for clinicians. 

We believe that a culture shift among clinicians has the potential to enable our health care system to deliver more and improved care.   We think that if we bring together community and clinicians to design the doctor's office, we become partners in building a health care system that will be sustainable for many generations.

Who are we?

We are a group of citizens who are highly motivated to improve primary care so that people can get more convenient access, more complete care, at a reduced cost for the system and all of us.  We're starting small and are looking to involve more citizens and clinicians on our Board of Directors, as well as developing a forward-thinking Advisory Board interested in helping us to ensure access and quality.  Tell us if you'd like to learn more about participating in this work.

Michael Sit

Michael Sit is a board member and operational lead for Vancouver Citizens Health Initiative.  He has worked in the credit union movement for 18 years - linking citizens with the resources they need to achieve their dreams.  Michael has also worked with community groups such as Lookout Emergency Aid Society; Atira Women’s and Housing Society;  EMBERS;  The Kettle Society;  JustWork; Mount Pleasant/Little Mountain Neighborhood houses and numerous other groups through his career.  This work has given him the ability to understand the concerns and needs of the communities that he has worked in and allowed him to find ways to support them through his work.   Michael holds a BA degree in Political Science from SFU and is  a Certified Financial Planner.  Michael believes in the need for all to have access to a consistent primary healthcare professional and services.  Michael is the point person for VanCHI's work in building relationships and identifying opportunities.

Kyle Pearce

Kyle Pearce is owner of think: act consulting services, and has planned and implemented innovative clinics that improve access to health services.  Kyle led the provincial prototype phase of the A GP for Me program, and led the physician- and citizen-engagement phase of that program for Vancouver.  Kyle has led development and implementation of sustainable clinical innovations that remove barriers to access using a social enterprise lens, including:

  • Strathcona Community Dental Clinic for low income children and families, Vancouver BC
  • G8 Primary Care Model, Surrey BC
  • Keys Dental Clinic for low income adults, Surrey BC

As a consultant, Kyle designs collaborative processes for corporate and non-profit organizations so they can develop and deliver enterprises that merge values with profitable business models.

Samiran Lakshman

Samiran had always been interested in effecting social justice on a macro and micro level.

From the time he started law school he was drawn to being an advocate for those who needed it most. While in law school he had the privilege of working full time as a student in a legal aid clinic helping those who had no where else to turn.

As a prosecutor for over 18 years he is determined to advance justice one file at a time while knowing and working on the larger systemic forces that influence every case.

In heath care, Samiran passionately wants a better system to serve ordinary British Columbians who struggle to acquire and retain effective health care from a regular family physician.  He is committed to forwarding innovative delivery models to achieve better outcomes and more efficient care.


Dr. Sabrina Wong

Dr. Wong’s research examines the organization and delivery of health care services within the context of primary health care. A recognized leader in research involving patient-reported quality of care, her work contributes to informing practice and system level interventions that seek to decrease health inequalities among Canadian residents, including people who face multiple disadvantages in accessing and using the health care system such as those who have language barriers and live in poverty. Her long-standing commitment to research has significantly contributed to further understanding and application of primary health care in helping to reduce health and health care inequalities.

Brett Sparks

Mr. Brett Sparks's professional role is VP, People at Hootsuite.  He has a track record of creating effective partnerships and the ability to implement world-class people strategies in complex environments. Brett is passionate about building enduring organizations which achieve operational goals, and provide purpose, meaning and impact for their members.

Brett holds an MBA from the University of British Columbia and his work experience spans multiple industries and organizations from start-ups and early stage growth to established global companies. In addition to his consulting work, he has held several senior leadership roles for international high tech companies. He has been a trusted partner and advisor to successful clients across private, public and charitable organizations, including: Electronic Arts, Activplant Corporation, Ernst and Young, Southwestern Ontario ElderCare, Encana and Nortel Networks.

Brett lives with his family in East Vancouver, is an avid hockey fan and enjoys canoeing in BC’s natural beauty.


Dr. Julia Langton

Julia is a Psychologist and health services researcher with experience in health care performance reporting and academic research. She has worked with UBC CHSPR and currently is with Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.  Julia brings expertise in comparative health systems, mental health, highly developed skills in project management and communication across different mediums and contexts.


Acting Medical Director

Dr. Rita McCracken



Dr. Matthew Chow



Click here if you'd like to be involved in some way!