Patient-oriented research strategy underway

22 November 2012

The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) is working with the BC Ministry of Health on BC’s application to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Units.

Stakeholders from BC’s health care and health research communities will be invited to participate in the process in the coming weeks.

SUPPORT Units are intended to be regional centres of excellence that will stimulate, facilitate, support and enhance the conduct of patient-oriented research. Several units are planned across the country, including one that serves BC. The goals of the SUPPORT Units are:

  • Provide a critical mass of highly specialized and multi-disciplinary methodological expertise in patient-oriented research and its application.
  • Assist decision-makers and investigators to identify, design and carry out relevant research studies, conduct biostatistical analyses, manage data, provide and teach project management skills and ensure studies meet all relevant regulatory standards.
  • Advance methods and training in comparative effectiveness research and develop the next generation of methodologists.
  • Provide timely access to linked data and integrate existing or new databases.

SUPPORT Units are one component of a larger CIHR program to implement a national strategy for patient-oriented research (SPOR). The intent of SPOR is to improve health outcomes and enhance patients' health-care experience through integration of evidence at all levels in the health-care system.

A second component of SPOR is a series of national research and knowledge translation networks that will generate evidence to advance clinical practices, service delivery arrangements and policy, while accelerating the translation of discoveries into clinical applications.

While BC’s SUPPORT Unit application is currently in the early stages, we are committed to ensuring that it builds on the province’s existing strengths and addresses gaps related to patient-oriented research, and that it reflects the diverse needs of stakeholders across the province. To this end, we are planning several opportunities for input and will communicate about these soon.

If you have questions about the SPOR SUPPORT Unit application, please contact Bev Holmes at