June 27, 2022 —
Manitoba patients, their families and caregivers will continue to have direct input into health research and what works best in the health-care system, thanks to $6.6 million in Phase 2 funding from the pan-Canadian initiative called the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR).
The initiative, led by the federally funded Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), connects patients and researchers who work together to improve service delivery and practice.
“Our work at CIHR has made patient-oriented research no longer just a concept in Canada; patients and researchers are working together to produce measurable improvements in service delivery and health-care practice across the country,” said Dr. Michael Strong, president of CIHR.
“Patient-oriented research wouldn’t be where it is today without the ongoing support and contributions from all SPOR-funded entities and their steadfast commitment to patient-oriented research in each of their communities.”
This five-year investment will expand the capacity of the Manitoba SPOR Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Unit. The unit is housed within the George & Fay Yee Centre for Healthcare Innovation (CHI), which operates as a partnership between the University of Manitoba and Shared Health.
Additional contributions to the SPOR SUPPORT Unit from Manitoba bring the total investment to $30 million, which includes $4.9 million from the Government of Manitoba and 12.5 million from the provincial health authority Shared Health, and $6.1 million from UM.
“Inclusive patient-oriented research gives Manitobans with lived experience a voice in health research and health system decision-making,” said Audrey Gordon, provincial health minister. “Manitoba Health is proud to support the Centre for Healthcare Innovation as it enters the next phase of this important work to improve patient outcomes in Manitoba.”
“This investment will support ongoing patient-informed research that will contribute to a well-integrated, patient-centred health system for all Manitobans,” said Monika Warren, chief operating officer for provincial health services and chief nursing officer at Shared Health.
“This project aligns with our commitment to include patient feedback and the patient voice in the development of health services that offer improved access, better outcomes and experiences for patients, and improved opportunities for health-care provider learning.”
“To provide Canadians with high-quality health care, we need research evidence to tell us what works best,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, federal minister of health. “Patients, caregivers, and families help us get this evidence by adding their unique lived experiences to the research process. Through this continued collaboration with the Government of Manitoba, we are strengthening health care systems across the country and improving patient care for Manitobans.”
Dr. Digvir Jayas, vice-president (research and international) and distinguished professor at UM, noted that engaging patients as research collaborators helps to transform them from passive recipients of health services into proactive partners who help to shape health research and health care.
“Involving patients, families and communities in setting research priorities, developing research questions and disseminating the results is good science,” Jayas said. “People who live with health conditions and interact with the system have vital expertise to contribute.”
The SPOR Support Unit’s current partnership with Ongomiizwin- Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing in UM’s Rady Faculty of Health Sciences will be expanded to further incorporate Indigenous health perspectives and respond to Indigenous health needs. This includes the potential for expansion of the roles of the Indigenous Advisory Council as a forum for Indigenous patient engagement and the implementation of the soon-to-be released Indigenous Health Care Quality Framework in both research and health systems.
Recent examples of engaging patients in CHI-supported research include:
- Lauren Kelly, UM assistant professor of pharmacology and therapeutics, is working with teens to study the use of a cannabis extract to manage hard-to-treat chronic headaches. Through engaging with patients, Kelly’s team ensures that its clinical trial answers important questions using practical designs.
- Eric Bohm, UM professor of surgery, involved people who needed bilateral knee-replacement surgery in designing a national clinical trial that compares having both knees replaced simultaneously with having them replaced one at a time. This partnership will lead to a Patient Decision Aid.
“With the renewed funding from CIHR and our partners, we will continue to nurture a responsive health-care system that is continuously improving to meet Manitobans’ needs,” said Dr. Terry Klassen, scientific director of CHI, UM professor of pediatrics and child health, and Canada Research Chair in clinical trials.
“We believe that begins with a commitment to advancing a culture of inclusive patient-oriented research, with an emphasis on equity, diversity and inclusion.”
A provincial community of patient partners will be created to increase the input of diverse voices.
Angela Tessier, who lives with a chronic disease, has collaborated as a patient partner with CHI on a number of projects. As a scientist herself, she has helped to bridge gaps between the lab, the health-care system and the public.
“As a patient partner, I’m very interested to focus on addressing systemic barriers to health-care services and the need to facilitate understanding amongst all,” Tessier said.
UM Today Staff