Government of Canada and the Northwest Territories Announce Significant Investments to Improve Health Care for Patients in the Northwest Territories

Minister Philpott visits Yellowknife to announce health funding and meet with researchers.

YELLOWKNIFE, July 19, 2017 /CNW/ - Canadians benefit from a health care system that is responsive to their unique health needs, which is why investments in research targeted to advance patient care is essential.

The Honourable Jane Philpott, Canada's Minister of Health, and Robert C. McLeod, Deputy Premier, Minister of Finance, and Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Government of the Northwest Territories, today announced an important collaboration in research that will improve patient care and Indigenous Peoples' health outcomes in the Northwest Territories. The Government of Canada, the Government of the Northwest Territories, and its partners signed an agreement with the Tlicho Government to provide $24.9 million in funding and in-kind contributions to establish a NWT Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Unit – Hotıì ts'eeda.

Hotıì ts'eeda means working together for good health. The vision for the Unit is to support health research and training that is rooted in Dene, Inuvialuit and Métis knowledge - research that is relevant and responds to the needs of patients, communities and governments to build capacity, creating a culturally competent health system and improved health. It aims to facilitate information sharing to ensure patient-centered and culturally appropriate approaches are applied when and where needed.

Hotıì ts'eeda responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action through its governance approach, which integrates Indigenous knowledge holders, researchers, and the health and social services system and residents of the NWT. With this announcement, SPOR SUPPORT Units have now been established in all provinces and the NWT.

While in Yellowknife, the Minister met with representatives of the Tlicho Government to discuss the health priorities of the Tlicho peoples and Northerners. She also visited the Institute for Circumpolar Health Research, where she had an opportunity to meet with researchers and community members working on projects related to climate change, health systems stewardship in the High Arctic, and promising practices in suicide prevention in the North.


"I applaud this important investment in the health of people living in the Northwest Territories, in particular, for its emphasis on engaging patients in managing their own health, and for embracing Indigenous ways of knowing. This marks the ninth SPOR SUPPORT Unit to have been established – an important step in putting patients at the heart of our health care system."
The Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

"The Northwest Territories SPOR SUPPORT Unit will coordinate the research efforts taking place in the Northwest Territories and allow patients to benefit from culturally appropriate approaches. CIHR is pleased to work in partnership with Indigenous governments, the Northwest Territories, its academic institutions, stakeholders and Indigenous communities on this important initiative that will ultimately improve health care and its delivery."
Roderick R. McInnes, C.M., O.Ont., M.D., Ph.D., MSRC
Acting President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

"Hotıì ts'eeda in the Northwest Territories will assist key stakeholders, including researchers, patients, health practitioners, and health policy makers, in pursuing research and building capacity for local and Indigenous research methodologies. This research will lead to greater health outcomes for all residents in the Northwest Territories."
The Honourable Glen Abernethy
Minister of Health and Social Services, Government of the Northwest Territories

"The Tlicho Government is very pleased to host this important NWT research project funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. I think it is a great opportunity to work together with other partners to encourage a better understanding of the importance of culture and community in the delivery of our health care. We look forward to being part of this work to improve the relevance of northern health care research by focusing on patients in the remotest northern communities. We are also pleased to be part of a project that fosters partnerships between indigenous governments and public governments, and a partnership which we believe is going to improve health care outcomes for our people."
Grand Chief Eddie Erasmus, Tlicho Government

"The Inuvialuit have been very interested in health research, such as the Inuit Health Survey, and gathering Inuvialuit statistics and data to have clear evidence of Inuvialuit social, cultural and economic conditions. This evidence is extremely important in developing interventions that will improve the Inuvialuit social, cultural and economic conditions in a manner whereby the Inuvialuit are able to participate in the northern and national economy and society and preserve Inuvialuit cultural identify and values. We look forward to working with the GNWT and other Indigenous peoples in directing research that is relevant to our culture and communities."
Duane Ningaqsiq Smith, Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation

Quick Facts

  • SPOR is a pan-Canadian coalition of partners from the public and private sector, non-profit and philanthropic organizations – all dedicated to the integration of research into care.
  • Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Units are one of the core elements of SPOR. These Units provide the resources, services and expertise necessary to pursue patient-oriented research and help lead reforms in response to locally driven health care needs.

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Canada's Strategy on Patient-Oriented Research

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.


Northwest Territories SPOR SUPPORT Unit


SUPPORT Units (Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials Units) are a core element of Canada's national Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

SUPPORT Units are locally accessible, multidisciplinary clusters of specialized research resources, policy knowledge, and patient perspectives.

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.

Specific objectives:

  • Identify and address the needs of patients and knowledge users by facilitating patient-oriented research
  • Provide specialized and multidisciplinary methodological expertise in patient-oriented research and its application
  • Assist decision makers and researchers to 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

NWT SUPPORT Unit – Advancing Patient-Oriented Research

Funding and In-Kind Support

  • Government of Canada funding: $8.1 million
  • Northwest Territories partner funding: $16.8 million
  • Total funding: $24.9 million, over five years

The NWT SUPPORT Unit is made possible through a broad collaboration of partners:

Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Government of the Northwest Territories
Aurora Research Institute
Dehcho First Nations
Délı̨nę Got'ı̨nę Government
Northwest Territories Department of Health and Social Services
FOXY (Fostering Open eXpression among Youth)
Gwich'in Social and Cultural Institute
Gwich'in Tribal Council
Gwichya Gwich'in Council
Indigenous and Global Health Research Group
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
Tetlit Gwich'in Council
Tides Canada
Tłįchǫ Government

Structure and Operations
The NWT SUPPORT Unit (the Unit) is a multi-partner organization created to support, streamline and increase patient-oriented research throughout the Northwest Territories.

We define patient-oriented research as research that engages patients as partners and focuses on patient-identified priorities with the goals of improving patient experiences, health outcomes and the health system.

The Unit is one of several SUPPORT Units established across the country as part of Canada's Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

The Unit has two main roles: providing services to researchers, patients, health care providers and health system decision makers, and facilitating initiatives identified as territorial priorities.

NWT SUPPORT Unit Mission
To support the conduct and implementation of high-quality patient-oriented research to improve the health of people living in the Northwest Territories.


SOURCE Canadian Institutes of Health Research

For further information: Media Relations, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 613-941-4563,; Jhillian Adams, Department of Executive and Indigenous Affairs, Government of the Northwest Territories, 867-767-9140 ext. 11096,


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