SPOR Update

May 2017

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Do you have questions about SPOR? Let us know: spor-srap@cihr-irsc.gc.ca

SPOR Update is a report on the latest news and developments regarding Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research.



The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit Summer Institute (June 25-27) at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, will put patient-oriented research in the spotlight. A key aspect of the conference is connecting and collaborating with patients and showcasing the research of 2016 SPOR graduate studentship recipients including Colin Weaver, a Masters Student at the University of Calgary who is partnering with an Alberta Strategic Clinical Network to look at data as a way of predicting acute health care services. Anyone can attend the event by registering. Keynote presentations will be posted on the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit (AbSPORU) website. The Summer Institute is one of many ways AbSPORU is contributing to knowledge and training in patient-oriented research. From August 2015-August 2016 over 1,500 Albertans participated in patient-oriented training and capacity building events hosted by AbSPORU.

British Columbia

How is the BC SUPPORT Unit connected to data? One of the provincial goals is to increase the availability and utility of data and related services to support high quality patient-oriented research.

This collaborative work is being undertaken by eight partners who are all part of the SUPPORT Unit Data Advisory Committee. A webinar held on May 15, 2017 provided an overview of the seven data-related objectives, and highlighted projects underway and new services that will be offered. If you are a health researcher, patient, decision-maker or health care provider, you'll be interested in viewing this session. Watch the webinar.


The George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation (CHI) Knowledge Translation (KT) Platform has been running their Knowledge Nudge blog since 2015. Knowledge Nudge is updated weekly with posts relevant to the world of knowledge translation with emphasis on the topics of patient engagement, the science of KT as well as media and dissemination. The site educates stakeholders about KT, foster relationships within the KT community, and promotes the work being done by CHI's KT platform.

The Manitoba Statistical and Health Sciences (MB-SAHS) Collaborating Centre was launched April 1, 2017 and is one of seven newly designated Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute Health Sciences Collaborating Centres across Canada. The MB-SAHS Collaborating Centre is an initiative of faculty members at the University of Manitoba and is made up of investigators and trainees committed to collaborative research in Manitoba that bridges the statistical and health sciences disciplines. The Collaborating Centre is hosted CHI at the University of Manitoba.


December 2016 marked an important milestone in the Nova Scotia Health Atlas project: the launch of both the community cluster health planning geographies and the Nova Scotia Health Atlas website. The Health Atlas is an interactive, web-based mapping tool that provides timely information pertaining to the distribution of health-related indicators across different geographic areas of Nova Scotia. The Community Clusters Report [ PDF (5.5 MB) - external link ], available on the MSSU website, details the process of developing a set of geographic area units for health service planning, particularly planning for primary health care services. 


ACCESS Open Minds

Influencing change in youth mental health systems across Canada is one of the main goals of the ACCESS Open Minds network; this is starting with the creation of innovative, evidence- and stakeholder-informed tools to support the design and delivery of quality youth mental health services across the country. Two initial guides are being shared, with thanks to the entire network for their input: the Early Identification Guide and the Community Mapping Guide were created with multi-stakeholder involvement, and are available for download.

BRIC NS (Nova Scotia PIHCI Network)

BRIC NS is pleased to share its success in two of the recent SPOR funding opportunities:

  • Dr. Grace Warner and her team, including partners from PEI, received a Knowledge Synthesis grant titled, "Integrating end of life care to help people stay in the community: The essentials for success".
  • Dr. Alix Carter and her team, including partners from British Columbia, received a Comparative Program and Policy Analysis grant titled, "Integrating Paramedics and Primary and Palliative teams to Optimize Patient Time in the Community at the End-of-Life". Read more about these projects.

Both studies are focused on community-based supports for people nearing or at the end of life, and were developed through a series of Project Incubator events. Project Incubator events are designed to bring together researchers, clinicians, policy makers, and patient representatives to foster research ideas and support their development for the targeted PIHCI funding opportunities. Read more about the Project Incubators in the fall newsletter and spring newsletter.

Can-SOLVE Chronic Kidney Disease Network

Access to health care is a right all Canadians hold dear, and it is a core element of the Can-SOLVE CKD Network's vision. Through its 18 research projects, the Network is committed to ensuring that all Canadians with or at high risk of kidney disease receive the best available care.

A new initiative led by University of Manitoba researchers will improve screening for diabetes and chronic kidney disease in Indigenous communities across Western Canada. The project aims to bring point-of-care screening to 4,000 individuals in rural and remote settings.

The IMAGINE Network

On April 26, the IMAGINE Network joined Crohn's and Colitis Canada for a free event at McMaster University as part of their 2017 Gutsy Learning Series. IMAGINE's Executive Director, Aida Fernandes, gave attendees an overview of the importance of patient engagement and how patient-oriented research works. IMAGINE's Principal Investigator, Dr. Paul Moayyedi, talked about the exciting research IMAGINE is working on including a five-year study focused on microbiome changes in people with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), and their associated mental health disorders, that will follow 8,000 adults and children. Dr. Mike Surette, IMAGINE's Co-Investigator presented on the exciting work going on in microbiome and fecal transplantation.

Over 500 people watched this event via webcast, while 30 attendees joined in person. The webcast will be available for viewing on the Crohn's and Colitis Canada and Ontario Telemedicine Network websites.

Developing Capacity

Patient-Oriented Research Collaboration Grants

In September 2016, CIHR launched the Patient-Oriented Research Collaboration Grants to support research that aligns with the SPOR Capacity Development Framework and the SPOR Patient Engagement Framework. These one-year grants encourage multi-stakeholder teams of researchers, patients, health care professionals and/or policymakers to work on POR projects. In total, CIHR funded 42 grants. Read more about the funded projects.

Foundations in Patient-Oriented Research

The Foundations in Patient-Oriented Research curriculum continues to be piloted across Canada. To date, SUPPORT Units and Networks have rolled out more than 40 sessions – including four in French – in 17 locations spanning all ten provinces and over 400 participants. For more information on upcoming sessions, please contact your local SPOR SUPPORT Unit.

Patient Engagement

CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Transformation: Patient Engagement - Dr. Charlotte Loppie

Congratulations to Dr. Charlotte Loppie for winning the 2016 CIHR Gold Leaf Prize for Transformation: Patient Engagement. This SPOR-sponsored prize is awarded to an individual or team that collaborates with patients, advances patient engagement as a priority and focuses on outcomes that are important to patients. Dr. Loppie was awarded the inaugural prize for her leadership role in partnering with First Nation communities, regional and national Indigenous organizations, health charities and government bodies on a range of projects.

Learn more about Dr. Loppie and the other CIHR Gold Leaf Prize winners.

Improving our Competitiveness in Conducting Clinical Trials

Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre

The Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre (CCTCC) continues to enhance the Canadian Clinical Trial Asset Map (CCTAM), which was launched in June 2015. The CCTCC's Patient Registries Project is complimentary to the CCTAM. A criterion for identifying active patient registries able to assist in clinical trial recruitment efforts was developed. Descriptions and contact information for such patient registries is being sought and listed into the CCTAM.

For more information, please contact cctam@cctcc.ca or info@cctcc.ca.

Innovative Clinical Trials

The SPOR Innovative Clinical Trials (iCT) Initiative aims to contribute to increasing Canadian competitiveness in iCT research and provide a stimulus for trialists to adopt new methodologies. It also encourages collaboration with various stakeholders, including patients, decision makers and other key stakeholders involved in other elements of SPOR, such as the Networks and the SUPPORT Units. Learn more about the SPOR iCT Initiative

In 2016 the first three iCT funding opportunities were launched with funding started in March 2017. Results of the competitions are found below:

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