About Us

What is SPOR?

The Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) is a national initiative of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) that integrates funding, research and health care.

SPOR Goal: foster evidence-informed health care by bringing innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to the point of care. This contributes to greater quality, accountability and accessibility of care.

SPOR is a coalition of federal, provincial and territorial partners – all dedicated to the integration of research into patient care. SPOR has several ways of achieving goals including the Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Units and SPOR Networks.



In January 2013 a pan-Alberta consortium submitted a proposal and Business Plan to CIHR for an Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit (ASPORU). Members include the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge, Alberta Health Services, Alberta Health, and Alberta Innovates. AbSPORU’s Business Plan proposed seven province-wide platforms that would support patient-oriented research (POR).

  • Data Platforms and Service;
  • Methods Support and Development;
  • Health Systems Research, Implementation Research and Knowledge Translation;
  • Pragmatic Clinical Trials;
  • Career Development in Methods and Health Services Research;
  • Consultation and Research Services; and
  • Patient Engagement.


On November 8, 2013, Alberta’s SPOR SUPPORT Unit was the first established in Canada.

Strategic Leadership

Governance and Role of AbSPORU Steering Committee

Alberta Innovates is provincial lead of the AbSPORU and has a vested interest in the Unit’s success. AI appoints the AbSPORU Steering Committee who is accountable to the SPOR National Steering Committee and the Alberta innovates’ Board of Directors for achieving the AbSPORU goals and objectives. More… graphic AbSPORU Org Chart

AbSPORU Steering Committee Members represent the universities, healthcare delivery system, funders, government and patients, who collectively define and implement the mission, vision and values of AbSPORU. Morelink to Media 8A The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit Steering Committee

The Committee serves 3 purposes:

Provide leadership and advice on the best strategies and mechanisms to improve health outcomes and healthcare for Albertans,

Promote patient engagement in research, and

Proactively support the Unit’s development, implementation and sustainability by attracting resources and working with partners to ensure collective achievement of the AbSPORU goals.

Strategic and Operational Leadership

AbSPORU Management Committee includes Platform Leads, Vice-President, Health (AI) and Secretariat.

Platform Leadership is provided by experts in research and health. They provide management oversite and are responsible for the delivery of the services and support programs to POR clients and stakeholders provincially. More… link to Media 8B The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit Platform Leads.

Secretariat includes AI employees who collectively provide operational support to the AbSPORU. Expertise includes developing outcome measures and monitoring results, financial and administrative management.

Alberta Innovates (AI) co-funds AbSPORU and provides support for Unit governance and operations including communications, finance and performance management and evaluation. AI also provides grant management and peer review for AbSPORU’s Graduate Studentship award and is responsible for case management of the Unit’s intake portal for client service requests.

The benefit and promise of SPOR can only be achieved through collaboration and AbSPORU activity spanning all pillars of health research: biomedical; clinical; health systems and services; and population health. The Unit’s Platforms work together to address gaps and accelerate knowledge transfer in areas where infrastructure exists but needs additional support.

Dr. William Ghali (Chair)
Professor, Departments of Medicine & Community Health Sciences
University of Calgary

Dr. Alex Clark
Associate Vice President, Research
University of Alberta

Dr. Carole A. Estabrooks
Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Knowledge Translation
Faculty of Nursing
University of Alberta

Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn
Dean, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
University of Alberta

Mr. Marc Leduc
Senior Provincial Director,
Innovation & Research Management at
Alberta Health Services

Dr. Braden Manns
Associate Chief Medical Officer, SCNs
Alberta Health Services, Strategic Clinical Networks (SCNs)

Ms. Kate Murie
Director, Health Evidence and Policy
Alberta Health Services

Dr. Jay Smith
Patient Member

Dr. Marcello Tonelli
Associate VP, Vice President Health Research
University of Calgary

Dr. Diane Aubin, (Ex-Officio)
Executive Director

Dr. Finlay McAlister (ex-officio)
Scientific Director, Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit
University of Alberta

Tim Murphy (Ex-Officio)
Vice President, Health
Alberta Innovates

For More Information Contact:

Dr. Diane Aubin
Executive Director