SPOR Update

August 2014

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Welcome to SPOR Update – an e-bulletin providing the latest news on Canada’s Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR)!


Network in Youth and Adolescent Mental Health

On June 12-13, as part of the Transformational Research in Adolescent Mental Health (TRAM) partnership, CIHR and the Graham Boeckh Foundation (GBF) formally announced the launch of ACCESS Canada, the successful SPOR Network in Youth and Adolescent Mental Health. The Network is led by Dr. Ashok Malla, of the Douglas Mental Health University Institute, in Montreal. ACCESS Canada's goal is to use research evidence to bring about positive change, within five years, to the care of young people with mental illness.

Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations

The pan-Canadian SPOR Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations will build on provincial and territorial networks to support the evidence-informed transformation of health care in Canada. It will support the delivery of more cost-effective and integrated health care to improve clinical services, population health, health equity, and health systems.

A strengthening workshop involving the tri-partite leadership from the 11 network development grant recipients, partners, support Units, and CIHR staff was held April 30 - May 2, in Toronto. The workshop objectives were to:

  1. Increase the shared understanding of the goals, objectives, and phased implementation approach of the Network;
  2. Provide support and advice to member Networks in meeting their membership requirements;
  3. Provide an opportunity for stakeholders to interact and exchange ideas on how to build and strengthen the Network; and
  4. Initiate a priority-setting process that will lead to the identification of cross-jurisdictional research priorities for the Network.

The ideas and outcomes that emerged from the workshop are feeding into the development of the next phase of the Network. The launch of the next phase is planned for fall 2014.

Future SPOR Networks

A funding opportunity for networks in the broad area of chronic diseases is being developed and is anticipated to be launched in fall 2014. The multi-phase process will include Registration, Letter of Intent, Strengthening Workshop, and Full Application phases. A pre-launch communication will be released in September with further details regarding the funding opportunity.

support Units

On February 21, the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Canada's Minister of Health, and the Honourable Erin Selby, Manitoba's Minister of Health, announced the launch of the Manitoba SUPPORT Unit for patient-oriented research. The event was held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and also included Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of CIHR, and Dr. Digvir Jayas, Vice-President Research, University of Manitoba.

This federal-provincial partnership is supported by an investment of $11.2 million from the Government of Manitoba, the University of Manitoba, and the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority. The Government of Canada (through CIHR) is providing matching funds, for a total of $22.4 million.

The Manitoba SUPPORT Unit will provide unprecedented, province-wide support to health care researchers and clinicians through the University of Manitoba's George and Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation. It will foster patient engagement, advance the quality and quantity of clinical research within Manitoba, and ultimately improve patient care.

support Units in other jurisdictions across the country are in varying stages of development and implementation. Contact information for each SUPPORT Unit can be found on the CIHR website.

Developing Capacity

On March 31, CIHR held a workshop on Training and Capacity Development for SPOR, in Toronto. The purpose of the workshop was to develop a coherent and coordinated approach to training and capacity building. Participants included patients, CIHR representatives, SUPPORT Unit leads, and a number of key stakeholders and experts in the area of training and capacity building in patient-oriented research, including patients.

The objectives of the workshop were to:

  1. Identify shared and unique capacity challenges across SPOR initiatives;
  2. Choose priorities which would most benefit from collective or connected approaches;
  3. Identify specific actions, next steps, and leads for each priority; and
  4. Establish a common vision for training and career development in SPOR.

The outcomes of this meeting have informed the development of a SPOR Capacity Development Framework, which will articulate the vision and guiding principles for patient-oriented research and help foster a culture where patients, researchers, health professionals, and other stakeholders are empowered, trained, and prepared to work collaboratively and learn from one another.

Improving our Competitiveness in Conducting Clinical Trials

On April 24, the Government of Canada announced the creation of the Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre (CCTCC) – a collaborative effort of CIHR, Canada's Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D), and the Canadian Healthcare Association/Association of Canadian Academic Healthcare Organizations (CHA/ACAHO) – now HealthCareCAN.

The CCTCC will improve the coordination of clinical trial activities and streamline regulatory processes for companies and researchers. This will be achieved by implementing the recommendations produced by an extensive stakeholder consultation, which are summarized in the report To Your Health and Prosperity – An Action Plan to Help Attract More Clinical Trials to Canada [ PDF (278 KB) - external link ].

The establishment of the CCTCC also aligns with the recommendations made by the Science Technology and Innovation Council to the Minister of Industry in 2009, and the more recent Senate Report on Clinical Trials. CIHR's funding of the CCTCC falls under the SPOR element of Improving our Competitiveness in Conducting Clinical Trials in Canada.

For general inquiries on the CCTCC, please visit the CCTCC website or contact info@cctcc.ca. For specific questions, please contact Belinda Vandersluis, Director, Implementation, at bvandersluis@cctcc.ca.

Patient Engagement

In early 2014, CIHR completed a series of consultations for the development of a SPOR Patient Engagement Framework. The Framework aims to facilitate meaningful patient involvement in the development and implementation of SPOR. It also identifies objectives, principles, and mechanisms for the realization of an active collaboration between patients and researchers, health care providers, and decision-makers.

A key component of the consultation process was the Patient Engagement Workshop held on January 9. This workshop convened a cross-section of patients and patient engagement experts, providing a venue to share experiences, knowledge, and lessons learned that could be applied to SPOR. Simon Denegri, Chair of involve, a national advisory group for the promotion and support of public involvement in research funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) in the United Kingdom, delivered a keynote presentation, Mr. Denegri demonstrated how patient and public engagement has evolved over the years at the NIHR, and offered suggestions on how to set the stage for a successful patient engagement strategy.

The SPOR Patient Engagement Framework has been shared with SPOR partners and stakeholders. An Implementation Strategy is also under development that includes new funding opportunities for patient engagement as well as new resources and tools to support CIHR, key partners, researchers, and patients.

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