News Releases

News Release - Canada and Manitoba

February 21, 2014


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SUPPORT Unit Builds Foundation for Patient-oriented Research

Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose and Manitoba Health Minister Erin Selby were joined by Dr. Alain Beaudet, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and Dr. Digvir Jayas, Vice-President Research, University of Manitoba, to announce the launch of the Manitoba SUPPORT Unit for patient-oriented research.

SUPPORT (Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials) Units are provincial or regional centres that connect patients, researchers, policy makers, funders, and health-care professionals to help attract, train, and mentor health-care professionals and patient-oriented researchers.

Ultimately, the SUPPORT Units are about improving health outcomes for patients.  They will provide the infrastructure needed to improve health-care practices, therapies and policies.  They will ensure new and innovative diagnostic and therapeutic approaches are applied when and where needed, for the benefit of Canadian patients.

Following the announcement, Minister Ambrose attended the official opening of the JC Wilt Infectious Diseases Research Centre.  This state-of-the-art laboratory will strengthen Canada’s capacity to develop vaccines against emerging infectious diseases.  It will also be a hub of HIV/AIDS laboratory research in Canada.

Quick Facts

  • SPOR is a national coalition of federal, provincial and territorial partners (patient advocates, provincial health authorities, academic health centres, charities, philanthropic organizations, pharmaceutical sector) dedicated to the integration of research into care.
  • SPOR is about ensuring that the right patient receives the right treatment at the right time.
  • The Manitoba SUPPORT Unit will receive $22.4 million which will go towards improving health-care practices, therapies and policies to better improve patient care.
  • SUPPORT Units help lead system changes to respond to locally driven health-care needs and also support the development of new and innovative research methods. 
  • Data systems will be put in place by each SUPPORT Unit to accelerate the conduct of clinical and health services research.
  • All provinces and territories are working collaboratively on this cross-Canada initiative, with SUPPORT Units to be established in regions throughout the country.
  • The Government of Canada is the largest single investor in health research in Canada.  Currently, CIHR is supporting more than 12,600 health researchers and trainees across Canada.


“Our Government is committed to improving the health-care system and patient care through research and innovation.  Through the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research, we will bring research evidence and innovation to the front lines of health care, for the benefit of all Canadian patients.”

Rona Ambrose

Federal Minister of Health

“Research often leads to new treatments or ways of providing health-care services, directly benefiting patients.  The Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research will allow us to translate research into action and introduce innovative programs to ensure we continue to provide quality care to Manitoba families.”

Erin Selby

Manitoba Minister of Health

“SUPPORT Units are the backbone of the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research.  The Manitoba SUPPORT Unit will be a hub of innovation that will provide the knowledge and assistance needed to pursue truly transformative research.  On behalf of CIHR, I wish to thank Manitoba’s academic leaders, research funders, and provincial health authorities who have been such enthusiastic partners of this initiative.”

Dr. Alain Beaudet

President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

“We are delighted that the Province, the University of Manitoba, and the Winnipeg Health Region have come together to create this innovative partnership with CIHR.  The SUPPORT Unit will provide unprecedented, province-wide support to health-care researchers and clinicians through the George and Fay Centre for Healthcare Innovation that will foster patient engagement, advance the quality and quantity of clinical research within Manitoba, and ultimately improve patient care.”

Dr. Terry Klassen

Academic Director, George and Fay Centre for Healthcare Innovation

Background Information Attached

Associated Links


Manitoba SUPPORT Unit:

Alberta SUPPORT Unit announcement:


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Background Information -