Government of Canada and Alberta are putting patients first with new research investment

News release

August 31, 2022 – Edmonton, Alberta – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Patients and their families are best placed to know what is important and what is not when receiving health care services. That’s why patient-oriented research and care is so vital. Through their lived experience, patients bring valuable firsthand perspectives to research that help lead to new and better ways of delivering care that ultimately improve the health of all people in Canada.

Today, the Honourable Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance, announced, on behalf of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, a joint investment of more than $36 million over five years from the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta, and other provincial partners to continue the work of the Alberta SPOR Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Unit to connect research with patient needs so that evidence-based solutions can be applied to health care.

AbSPORU is dedicated to improving health outcomes for all Albertans through patient-oriented research. Throughout the pandemic, the SUPPORT Unit has collaborated with the Alberta Health Services Emergency Coordination Centre to support modelling, case reporting, capacity planning, and addressing research evidence gaps needed for policy decision making to help guide decisions on health service operations and patient care options. AbSPORU has also continued to help students, researchers, clinicians, health system administrators, patients and others learn more about patient-oriented research as well as educate its stakeholders on the learning health system, its benefits, and the latest innovations in the field through its annual SPOR Northwest Virtual Institute training conference.

This investment is provided as part of Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR), a pan-Canadian initiative dedicated to integrating the voices of patients in research and health care. SPOR is led by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) with support from partners across the country. 


“To provide Canadians with high-quality health care, we need research evidence to tell us what works. Patients, caregivers, and families help get at this evidence by adding their lived experience to the research process. Through this collaboration with the provinces and territories, we are strengthening health care systems across the country and improving patient care for Canadians.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

“Alberta is a proven leader in health research. The patient-focused approach from the Alberta SUPPORT Unit has provided significant data and insights to improve the health services received by Albertans across the province. Today’s investment continues this work, keeping patients at the centre of our health system and improving the care they receive.”

The Honourable Randy Boissonnault
Minister of Tourism and Associate Minister of Finance

“Our work at CIHR has made patient-oriented research no longer just a concept in Canada. Patients and researchers are working together to produce measurable improvements in service delivery and health care practice across the country. Patient-oriented research wouldn’t be where it is today without the ongoing support and contributions from all SPOR-funded entities and their steadfast commitment to patient-oriented research in each of their communities.”

Dr. Michael J. Strong
President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

“Health research in Alberta is a vital part of ensuring quality health care to everyone in the province. AbSPORU has been a valuable part of our province’s health research by giving patients a voice to inform policy decisions and improve overall care. I am glad to see continued investment in the important work AbSPORU does to facilitate better health care for all Canadians.”

Jason Copping
Minister of Health, Government of Alberta

“AbSPORU will focus on a learning health system during Phase II, working to actively move research into practice with our partners.”

Dr. Finlay McAlister
Scientific Director, Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit

Quick facts

  • SPOR is a pan-Canadian coalition of the federal government, provinces, territories, philanthropic organizations, academic institutions, and health charities with the goal of achieving better patient outcomes.

  • SPOR Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Units, or SPOR SUPPORT Units, are provincial and territorial-based centres that provide access to health data, apply knowledge generated through research to improve health care practices, provide training on conducting and using patient-oriented research and engaging patients as active partners throughout the entire research process.

  • There are also SPOR SUPPORT Units located in British Columbia, Saskatchewan Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, the Maritimes, Newfoundland and Labrador, the Northwest Territories, and Yukon. Discussions are underway to establish a SUPPORT Unit in Nunavut.

  • The Government of Canada, through the CIHR, and provincial partners in Alberta are providing a joint investment of more than $36M over five years to help the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit continue its important work.

Associated links


Marie-France Proulx
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health 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.

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