Harper Government strengthens health research in Alberta

SUPPORT Unit builds foundation for patient-oriented research

EDMONTON, Nov. 8, 2013 /CNW/ - Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose and Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne were joined by Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Dr. Cy Frank, President and CEO of Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions (AIHS), 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.

"Our Government is committed to fostering research and innovation that will improve patient outcomes by making health care services more efficient and more effective," said Minister Ambrose. "Today's announcement is about putting the patient first to ensure the right patient receives the right treatment at the right time."

"Alberta's investment in families and communities is of particular importance to 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," said 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.

"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 working 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) 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 well-being," said 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

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.

Fact Sheet

Alberta SUPPORT (Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials)

Government of Canada Funding
CIHR: $24.3 million

Partner Funding
Government of Alberta: $24.3 million

Total Funding: $48.6 million, over five years.

Description:
Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Units are locally accessible, multidisciplinary clusters of specialized research resources, policy knowledge, and patient perspective. SUPPORT Units provide the necessary expertise to pursue patient-oriented research and help lead reforms in response to locally-driven health care needs. They also lead and facilitate decision-making within the health services setting, foster the implementation of best practices, and promote collaboration among researchers engaged in patient-oriented research.

The objectives of a SUPPORT Unit are to:

  • Identify and address the needs of patients and knowledge users by facilitating research;
  • Provide specialized and multidisciplinary methodological expertise in patient-oriented research
  • and its application;
  • Assist decision makers and investigators identify and design research studies, conduct bio-statistical analyses, manage data, provide and teach project management skills, and ensure studies meet regulatory standards;
  • Advance methods and training in comparative effectiveness research and develop the next generation of methodologists;
  • Provide timely access to data including linked datasets and integrate existing or new databases.

About the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR):
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.

SOURCE: Canadian Institutes of Health Research

For further information:

Michael Bolkenius, Office of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health 613-957-0200
David Coulombe, Media Relations, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 613-941-4563


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