Developing Capacity in Patient-Oriented Research

Capacity for patient-oriented research means all partners – patients, researchers, health system professionals, policymakers, and more – are trained and working collaboratively towards the common goal of high quality health care and improved patient outcomes within an integrated learning health system.

In line with CIHR’s Capacity Development Framework, AbSPORU offers diverse, responsive and integrated training opportunities designed to create a culture of learning and collaboration within Alberta’s health system and research communities. Our training environment includes a suite of eLearning modules, certificate courses, graduate studentships, an annual conference, and more.

eLearning Modules and Videos

AbSPORU’s collection of eLearning modules and videos provide introductory literacy, skills and knowledge on key topics in patient-oriented research.

2023 NorthWest SPOR Collaborative Forum (Annual Conference)

Join us for the 2023 NorthWest SPOR Collaborative Forum on Patient-Oriented Research, hosted by the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit. This year’s theme is “Your Stories: Creating Impact Through Patient-Oriented Research“. This hybrid (in-person and online) event will include plenary panel sessions, workshop presentations, networking activities, a poster session, highlighted oral abstract presentations, and much more!

AbSPORU Graduate Studentship in Patient-Oriented Research

The highly competitive AbSPORU Graduate Studentship funds Master’s and PhD students to train in patient-oriented research. The program provides an award of $30,000 towards a thesis-based degree, along with a comprehensive year-long training component. Through embedded learning and mentorship, recipients gain the knowledge, experience, and connections needed to build exciting careers that leverage their expertise in patient-oriented research.

Certificate Courses and Patient-Oriented Research Microcredential

Our certificate courses provide a deeper dive into patient-oriented research topics and approaches. Delivered primarily online, each course concentrates on a specific content area and offers practical and applied learning for you to advance patient-oriented research in practice. Participants benefit from opportunities for networking, mentoring and connecting with others across the research and health system community. Courses are offered annually and vary in length from 2 to 6 months.

Receive a Certificate of Completion for each course you successfully complete. Complete all of our certificate courses to earn the AbSPORU Leadership in Patient-Oriented Research Microcredential.

AbSPORU Foundations of Patient-Oriented Research (POR) Certificate

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Principles and Practices Certificate

Patient Engagement in Patient-Oriented Research Certificate

Implementation Science in Patient-Oriented Research Certificate

Pragmatic Clinical Trials

Data for Health Analytics Certificate

Graduate Courses in Patient-Oriented Research

SPH 566: Fundamentals of Patient-Oriented Research Graduate Course

This 3-credit graduate course is offered each Spring/Summer semester by the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. The course is open to graduate students outside the School of Public Health. Students not enrolled at the University of Alberta may register for this course through the Western Deans’ Agreement.

SPH 566 provides a critical bridge between general research skills and the challenges of patient-oriented research. Explore theoretical foundations and practical implications, as well as research design principles, concepts, methods and applications of patient-oriented research. Learning content includes weekly synchronous (i.e., live) live webinars and asynchronous activities (e.g., eLearning modules, journal assignments).

NOTE: This course aligns in part with the AbSPORU Foundations of Patient-Oriented Research Certificate course. If you complete SPH 566, you are automatically eligible to request and receive the AbSPORU Foundations of Patient-Oriented Research Certificate of Completion.

MDCH 700: Public and Patient Engagement in Health Research Graduate Course

This 3-credit course is offered at the University of Calgary. Eligible University of Calgary students may enrol, and graduate students outside the University of Calgary may be eligible to enrol in this course through the Western Dean Agreement process.

This course provides a theoretical overview of patient and community engaged health research, and shares considerations for engaging patients and community members in health research projects. Students will also have many opportunities throughout the term to learn directly from many experts, including patient research partners, academic and clinician researchers and others working in the public and patient engagement space.

Next Course Dates: September 2024 – December 2024
For more details, email Maria Santana:


NOTE: This course aligns in part with the AbSPORU Foundations of Patient-Oriented Research Certificate course. If you complete MDCH 700, you are automatically eligible to request and receive the AbSPORU Patient Engagement in Patient-Oriented Research Certificate of Completion

Annual Patient-Oriented Research (POR) Webinar Series

Each year our webinar series focuses on a priority area in POR. We collaborate with researchers, health-system stakeholders, patient partners, and POR experts across Canada to explore emerging topics and advance POR principles and practices through our webinars.

For 2021 and 2022 our webinar series focus is Shaping POR Research Environments Through Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Shaping Patient-Oriented Research Environments through Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
AbSPORU Impact for All_ EDI and KT in POR Webinar
(Episode 3) EDI, Two Eyed Seeing & Strengths based Indigenous Patient-Oriented Research
Equity in Kidney Health_ What Does This Mean and How Do We Get There​

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University of Calgary Foothills Campus
3330 Hospital Dr NW
Calgary, AB T2N 4N1


College Plaza
1702, 8215 112 St NW
Edmonton, AB T6G 2C8

Land Acknowledgment

The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit operates on and acknowledges the lands that are the traditional and ancestral territory of many peoples, presently subject to Treaties 6, 7, and 8. Namely: the Blackfoot Confederacy – Kainai, Piikani, and Siksika – the Cree, Dene, Saulteaux, Nakota Sioux, Stoney Nakoda, and the Tsuu T’ina Nation and the Métis People of Alberta. This includes the Métis Settlements and the Métis Nation of Alberta. We acknowledge the many First Nations, Métis and Inuit who have lived in and cared for these lands for generations. We make this acknowledgment as a reaffirmation of our shared commitment towards reconciliation, and as part of AbSPORU’s mandate towards fostering health system transformation.