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Government strengthens health research in Alberta

Mari-Len De   

Features Research

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.

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.

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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