The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT unit has seven province-wide core functions (called platforms) that will develop expertise and offer services and resources for patient-oriented research. The Unit’s goal is to create robust, sustainable infrastructure to help researchers succeed in their efforts to improve the health of Albertans.

The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT unit’s seven province-wide platforms are:

  1. Patient Engagement
  2. Data
  3. Methods Support and Development
  4. Pragmatic Clinical Trials
  5. Knowledge Translation
  6. Career Development in Methods and Health Services Research
  7. Consultation and Research Services

More information about their activities will be coming soon.

Patient Engagement Platform

The goal of the Patient Engagement Platform is to support meaningful engagement of patients and researchers at one or more stages across the health research process to promote patient-oriented research. The platform offers a variety of services including project refinement and feasibility, project support, mobilization and matching, assessment/orientation/education and facilitation/mentorship among others. Read more.

Platform lead: Dr. Virginia Vandall-Walker

Data Platform

The Data Platform has been established to provide a collaborative opportunity to generate patient-oriented, health-systems research involving secondary analysis of existing large datasets. The focus of this platform is on Alberta’s administrative databases. The Data Platform has statistical, methodological and database expertise.  The Data Platform works with researchers to design a research plan, manage data, develop and execute biostatistical plan to answer the research question and generate training opportunities. Read more.

Platform lead: Dr. Finlay McAlister

Methods Support & Development Platform

The goal of the Methods Support & Development Platform is to support researchers in developing innovative research methods.  We are interested in creating “Tools for Better Health”. We have experience using administrative data, electronic medical records (EMR) data and national surveys, and skills around risk adjustment and measuring patient-centered care. We bring our expertise in a wide variety of research methods and in-depth knowledge to provide advice in helping researchers with their research studies. Read more.

Platform lead: Dr. Hude Quan

Pragmatic Clinical Trials Platform

The Pragmatic Clinical Trials Platform builds on the successes of two existing provincial initiatives:

  1. The Alberta Clinical Research Consortium is the first collaborative effort between clinical researchers from academic institutions, community-based physicians, and representatives from the healthcare systems in Alberta that looks at reducing barriers and streamlining administrative processes for conducting clinical research.
  2. The Health Research Ethics Harmonization initiative is implementing a one application/one review/one approval process for multi-site health research in Alberta. The collaboration comprises the province’s three Health Information Act-designated research ethics boards, among others.

Platform lead: Dr.Michael Hill

Knowledge Translation Platform

The Knowledge Translation Platform aims to catalyze relationships between researchers and knowledge users with the goal of putting knowledge into action. Alberta has a pre-existing Knowledge Translation “pipeline” in the Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs). These are research and clinical teams embedded in the health and academic systems that are aligned to Alberta Health Services’ quality and healthcare improvement framework. The SCNs identify front-line health care needs requiring research, develop a research approach to provide solutions, and move the solutions into uptake and use in care to improve health and health system outcomes.

The Knowledge Translation Platform will work with and support the SCNs and other provincial activity that focuses on patient-oriented research and care. Additionally, knowledge translation is a cross-cutting theme essential for the uptake and use of created knowledge. This will be reflected in all of the platforms’ activities. Read More.

Platform lead: Dr. Lisa Hartling

Career Development in Methods & Health Services Research Platform

The Career Development in Methods and Health Services Research Platform plays a critical role in training and career development in patient-oriented research (POR) for researchers, graduate students, and other stakeholders from across Alberta.  The Career Development Platform (CD Platform) is developing and implementing a wide range of learning experiences and training activities in POR that will create opportunities for patients, researchers, students, and health practitioners to learn and work together and expand POR work across Alberta. Read more.

Platform leads: Dr. Marilynne Hebert & Dr. Dean Eurich

Consultation & Research Services Platform

The goal of the Consultation & Research Services Platform is to support researchers with specialized expertise around the logistics of completing a trial focused on patient-oriented, clinical, health services and outcome research. The platform has access to a range of experts in the field such as study coordinators, project managers, data managers, methodologists and statisticians who can assist you with tools and database development, data management, data collection management processes and completion. Read more.

Platform lead: Dr. Ross Tsuyuki


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For more information:
Tim Murphy, MBA, Vice President, Alberta Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) SUPPORT Unit & Provincial Platforms

Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit Platform Leads

Dr. Virginia Vandall-Walker
Dr. Finlay A. McAlister
Dr. Hude Quan
Dr. Michael Hill
Dr. Lisa Hartling
Dr. Marilynne Hebert
Dr. Dean Eurich
Dr. Ross Tsuyuki





Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit events

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