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Archived - Strengthening health research in Newfoundland and Labrador

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SUPPORT Unit builds foundation for patient-oriented research

November 27, 2014 – St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, along with partner IBM, today announced the launch of the Newfoundland and Labrador SUPPORT Unit for patient-oriented research.

SUPPORT (Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials) Units are provincial or regional centres that connect patients, researchers, policy makers, funders, and health care professionals to facilitate patient-oriented research and to help attract, train, and mentor patient-oriented researchers.

Ultimately, the SUPPORT Units are about improving health outcomes for patients. They will provide the guidance and resources needed for health research to improve health care practices, therapies, and policies.  They will ensure new and innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches are applied when and where needed, and best practices are shared across jurisdictions for the benefit of Canadian patients.

Quick Facts

  • The Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (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.
  • SPOR is about ensuring that the right patient receives the right treatment at the right time.
  • The Newfoundland and Labrador SUPPORT Unit will receive $19.8 million from CIHR, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and private-sector partner IBM, which is providing both financial and in-kind support. The funding will help the SUPPORT Unit to improve health care practices, therapies, and policies to better improve patient care.
  • SUPPORT Units help lead system changes to respond to locally-driven health care needs, and also support the development of new and innovative research methods.
  • Data platforms will be put in place by each SUPPORT Unit to ensure that researchers have access to quality data.
  • All provinces and territories are working collaboratively on this cross-Canada initiative, with SUPPORT Units to be established in regions throughout the country.
  • The Government of Canada is the largest single investor in health research in Canada and the largest single investor in SPOR. Currently, CIHR is supporting more than 13,200 health researchers and trainees across Canada.
  • The Government of Canada has also provided funding of $3 million through the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) towards Memorial University's Translational and Personalized Medicine Initiative (TPMI) to connect its researchers through IBM's high performance computing capacity to develop personalized medicine tools for improved healthcare delivery.


"Our Government is pleased to support both the Translational and Personalized Medicine Initiative as well as the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research and the roll-out of the SUPPORT Units across the country. These centres of research expertise reflect our Government's commitment to improving health outcomes for patients through research innovation."
David Wells
Senator for Newfoundland and Labrador, on behalf of Minister Rona Ambrose and Minister of State Rob Moore

"Memorial University will be working with our community to bring about true change in the planning and delivery of health care services, and ensure that those changes respond to the needs of the public. The priorities for this important new initiative will be developed in consultation with the people of Newfoundland and Labrador."
Paul Davis
Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

"The SPOR SUPPORT Units provide a vehicle for sharing best practices between jurisdictions. With Newfoundland and Labrador now on board, we have taken another step toward a cohesive national partnership that will see evidenced-based research embedded in health care delivery and patient care."
Dr. Jane E. Aubin
Chief Scientific Officer and Vice-President Research, Knowledge Translation, and Ethics,
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

"This collaboration is a terrific example of government, business and academia teaming to meet important economic and social needs through advanced research and innovation. This collaborative model will provide researchers with IBM big data and analytics technology and expertise to more quickly manage and analyze massive data sets around critical healthcare challenges and ultimately, help improve patient outcomes.
Ralph Chapman
Vice-President, Public Sector
IBM in Canada

"By involving citizens in the priority setting process and providing high levels of support to health care researchers, the NL SUPPORT Unit will allow us to influence health care policy and practice in areas that matter to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador."
Dr. Brendan Barrett
Newfoundland and Labrador SUPPORT Unit Lead

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Michael Bolkenius
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of the Health

Kelsie Corey
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Rob Moore
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's health research investment agency. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened health care system for Canadians. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 13,200 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

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