Welcome to the Alberta Strategy for Patient Oriented Research SUPPORT Unit (AbSPORU)

AbSPORU is dedicated to transforming health outcomes in Alberta through Patient-Oriented Research (POR). 

POR actively engages patients and other stakeholders in research that focuses on patient-identified priorities and improves patient outcomes.

As we move forward with AbSPORU, we are concentrating on bridging the gaps among data, research evidence and health care practice. The collaborations between AbSPORU and AHS Strategic Clinical Networks™ (SCNs), Alberta Health, Alberta Innovates plus other learning health system proponents will continue to contribute to our collective success.

Our Alberta - Ursula Krohl Photography

Why is Patient-Oriented Research (POR) Important?

POR is a new direction in health research that requires meaningful and active collaboration of patients in studies that matter to them. This means more clearly focusing on patient-identified priorities and better patient-outcomes.

Patients participate in any or all phases of POR. Along with families, caregivers and communities many other stakeholders also participate in POR including researchers, students, clinicians as well as health and policy leaders.

Alberta needs POR teams that engage patients, have the skills and knowledge to carry out the research, as well as integrate the study findings into practice.

AbSPORU provides expertise in Data and Services, Capacity Development (Training), Patient Engagement and Knowledge Translation to support this important change.

Through Patient Oriented Research (POR) we contribute to transforming health research and services in Alberta and to improving patient outcomes. Watch for stories of our impact and successes featured on this website.

The AbSPORU focuses on four areas that enable our stakeholders to actively participate and engage in POR.

Data & Services

Many sources and types of health data are available in Alberta. The Data & Services Team facilitates access to these data as well as consultation services to support researchers in Patient-Oriented Research.

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Capacity Development & Events

The Capacity Development Team develop training and opportunities to build stakeholder capacity to engage in Patient-Oriented Research. Our POR stakeholders include patients, families, community partners, researchers, students, clinicians, and policy-makers.

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Patient Engagement

The Patient Engagement Team works with stakeholders to include patients at all stages of the research process  including to identify research priorities, conduct data collection and analysis as well as share results.

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Knowledge Translation

The Knowledge Translation Team works with stakeholders to develop knowledge translation strategies in their research plans and integrate research knowledge into practice.

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About Us

Learn more about our team, partners and funding


Resource Library

Learn more about a wide range of resources for people new to POR, as well as for those with more experience.

Our annual flagship Summer Institute event brings together researchers, patients, clinicians, students, policymakers and more, to share insights, connect with colleagues and promote patient-oriented research (POR). Each year, the Summer Institute delivers a dynamic training experience featuring expert speakers, interactive workshops, networking opportunities, and more. We aim to facilitate training, growth and support of POR practice throughout Alberta, and to showcase and celebrate POR innovations, talent and partnerships. Our objective is to improve the quantity and quality of research that will have direct impacts on health services and patient outcomes. In response to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s Summer Institute will take place online as a Virtual Institute over 6 weeks this fall, and will provide the same dynamic experience.

- AbSPORU Virtual Institute 2020

How is AbSPORU funded?

Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) initiated a Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research SUPPORT Units across Canada. CIHR’s goals were to more directly involve patients and their families in determining priorities for health research as well as participating in the research itself.

AbSPORU is co-funded by CIHR and Alberta Innovates (AI). AI is a provincially funded corporation with a mandate to deliver 21st-century solutions to Albertans by building on our province’s health research and technology efforts in patient and health outcomes.