Manitoba SUPPORT Unit Announcement - Speech by Dr. Alain Beaudet, President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Delivered at the University of Manitoba
February 21, 2014

(Check against delivery)

I am honoured to be here with Minister Ambrose and Minister Selby.

I want to thank both of you, Ministers, for your remarks, which remind us of the critical role played by research and innovation in resolving some of the most pressing issues in health care today.

You also both stressed the importance of partnerships for identifying and resolving these issues.

Both of these elements are at the core of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research or SPOR.

Fundamentally, SPOR is about improving our capacity to translate health research results into innovative preventive, diagnostic or therapeutic approaches for improving health outcomes.

It's about making patients and decision makers an integral part of the health research agenda.

It's about ensuring evidence-based policy and practice.

It's about research that matters.

For instance, the type of research carried out by Dr. Terry Klassen and his team here in Manitoba, which has led to improved health outcomes for acutely ill and injured children visiting pediatric emergency departments across Canada – and indeed in countries throughout the world.

The SUPPORT units, such as the one announced here today, form the backbone of the Patient-Oriented Research Strategy.

They represent catalytic hubs of innovation that will provide the knowledge and assistance needed to develop truly innovative approaches to health care.

We are talking about centres of expertise that will facilitate decision-making within a health services setting, foster the implementation of best practices, and promote collaboration among researchers and clinicians.

As with all leading-edge organizations, the success of the SUPPORT units depends on their human capital. Their objective will be to mobilize all actors, including patients, researchers, health professionals and decision makers, and enable each of them to identify, evaluate and implement innovative solutions to improve our health system.

We expect as well that these SUPPORT units will serve as a unique tool for the sharing of data and best practices between different regions in Canada.

In some sense, they will form the anchor of a coherent national strategy for the integration of research into care.

And speaking of regions, this is the second SUPPORT unit to be mentioned in a ministerial announcement. The first was announced in Alberta last November, with other announcements expected over the coming months.

Let me conclude my remarks by thanking both Ministers for their support for health research and SPOR.

Minister Ambrose, your government's ongoing support of CIHR and its efforts to set up a national strategy for patient-oriented research reflects its steadfast commitment to improved health outcomes for patients across this country.

Thank you for your investments in CIHR and in SPOR, and for your own spearheading of a vision for innovative health care delivery in Canada.

Minister Selby, Manitoba was one of the first to engage around SPOR, and with the launch of this SUPPORT unit, is poised to realize the establishment of a strong framework for evidence-based decision-making in Manitobans' health care.

Thank you for your leadership and for Manitoba's participation in this important initiative. I look forward to working with you in the days and months ahead to make patient-oriented research a true focus of Manitobans' health care reality.

Thank you.

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