SPOR SUPPORT Unit builds foundation for patient-oriented research

Nov. 8, 2013

(Edmonton, Alberta) November 8, 2013…Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose was joined by Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne, Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Dr. Cy Frank, President & CEO of Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions, and Jean Miller, a patient involved in osteoarthritis research, to announce the launch of the Alberta SUPPORT Unit for patient-oriented research.

SUPPORT (Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials) Units are provincial or regional centres designed to support those engaged in patient-oriented research. They are locally accessible, multi-disciplinary clusters of research resources, policy knowledge, and patient perspective. They provide the necessary expertise to pursue patient-oriented research and help lead reforms in response to locally-driven health care needs.

“The launch of the Alberta SUPPORT Unit marks the first step in laying the foundation of patient-oriented research in Canada,” said Minister Ambrose. “These centres of expertise will be located throughout Canada. They will allow all provinces and territories to share health research evidence, innovations, and best practices – for the ultimate benefit of Canadian patients.”

“Alberta’s investment in families and communities has particular resonance in health care. Having patients at the centre of research and care in our province and across Canada is one of the most effective ways to ensure that the needs of patients are a primary consideration in medical research and that we achieve a truly patient-powered system,” says Fred Horne, Minister of Health for Alberta.

All provinces and territories are working collaboratively on this pan-Canadian initiative, with SUPPORT Units to be established in regions throughout the country. Together, these interconnected SUPPORT Units will provide a foundation to strengthen patient-oriented research across Canada.

“Patient-oriented research is about bringing research evidence to the point of care,” said Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of CIHR. “The SUPPORT Units will create the infrastructure that will allow patient-oriented research to thrive throughout the country. On behalf of Canada’s health research community, I commend the provinces and territories for their desire to work collaboratively to improve health outcomes for all Canadians.”

The SUPPORT Units are part of Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR). SPOR is a national coalition of federal, provincial and territorial partners (patient advocates, provincial health authorities, academic health centres, charities, philanthropic organizations, pharmaceutical sector, etc.) dedicated to the integration of research into care – the right patient receives the right treatment at the right time.

“Alberta has an exceptional health research and innovation community that is engaged in activity from bench to bedside to the community. The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit will help health researchers in two important ways. It will develop capacity for engagement with patients and end-users of research evidence to improve patient outcomes. And, it offers a competitive advantage to the research community that we hope will translate into increased funding, partnerships, and innovations that will transform health, the health system, and wellbeing,” says Dr. Cy Frank, President and CEO of Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions.

Patient-oriented research focuses on patient-identified priorities. It produces information for decision makers and health care providers that will improve health care practices, therapies and policies. It ensures that new and innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches are applied when and where needed.

For more information about SPOR and SUPPORT Units, visit: www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/spor.html

Further information:

AIHS supports research and innovation activities to improve the health and wellbeing of Albertans and create, through innovation, health related social and economic benefits for Albertans. It provides leadership for Alberta’s health research and innovation enterprise by directing, coordinating, reviewing, funding and supporting research and innovation.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada’s health research investment agency. CIHR’s mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened health care system for Canadians. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 14,100 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

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