Government strengthens health research in Alberta

Massage Therapy Canada staff
November 08, 2013
By Massage Therapy Canada staff
Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose and Alberta Health Minister Fred Horne have announced 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. She added the 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 Minister Horne.

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 Canadian Institutes of Health Research (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 receiving 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:

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