Health researchers and policy-makers in Ontario are in the fortunate position of having high-quality expertise to draw upon through OSSU’s research centres and its new research initiatives. From equity, diversity and inclusion, sex and gender, francophone engagement, mental health and addictions and more, stakeholders in Ontario’s health system can find support and resources to conduct patient-oriented research. Read about these eight initiatives and how they might help you.
The Sex and Gender+ Research Support Service at Women’s College Hospital views health research through a unique sex and gender lens (SGBA+). It provides expertise to research and policy groups in Ontario on how to effectively integrate sex, gender and other determinants of health in studies from start to finish. Priorities in OSSU’s next phase include recruiting a diverse group of patient partners to ensure equity, diversity and inclusion, capacity building of trainees, students and researchers, and expanding the Health Researchers Toolkit to include modules on sex and age.
To help with sustainability and rollout, the Office of Spread & Scale offers research expertise in implementation science to help scale programs. Recent activities include training and coaching support, grant writing for SPOR Primary Care Research Network and CHILD-BRIGHT Network and more.
Under the leadership of Dr. Nav Persaud, OSSU’s Fairness is Excellence initiative aims to embed equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) into patient-oriented research in Ontario. To promote fairness and health equity, it’s essential to involve people who face discrimination or disadvantage in patient engagement in research as it shapes health care systems and practices.
The Fairness is Excellence Initiative can help health researchers promote equity or fairness with advice on how to conduct equitable research, ensure diverse engagement and help build capacity.
The initiative provides an equity framework with 4 components:
- Fair collection and use of data (Data Platform and Services)
- An equitable Learning Health System
- Developing capacity for fairness in research excellence
- Inclusion from the start in patient engagement
The First Nations Research and Data Management initiative (FNRDMI) is focused on capacity building in patient-oriented research to support First Nations’ health and well-being. In addition to expanding data capacity, FNRDMI is working on research on opioid use, ageing, the cost of COVID-19, vaccine and testing data and other topics in First Nations communities.
The Métis and Inuit-Indigenous Initiative supports patient-oriented research for Métis and Inuit stakeholders, communities and researchers. Coordinated by the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research (CRaNHR), it recognizes Métis and Inuit-led visions for knowledge co-creation and translation. Activities include Métis and Inuit-led capacity building, patient-partnership, research and data management and more.
To support increasing interest from the public and health researchers in the impact of mental health and addictions in Ontario, the Mental Health and Addictions Research Initiative provides a broad range of expertise in this important area. For researchers with mental health and/or addictions components in their projects, the Initiative’s expertise can support the integration of patient partners and families with lived experience, help generate evidence to guide solutions to increase access and quality of services, and help with knowledge translation.
For researchers seeking to integrate Francophone patients into their projects, the Ontario Francophone Communities Research Initiative can engage Francophone communities, link research teams with Francophone patient partners, validate French language tools and materials and build capacity for research in this community. Recent activities include creating grant application templates and training modules for patient partners, contributing to the Find a Physician Project that identifies physicians by languages spoken in eastern Ontario, and expanding work in the Francophone patient partner network.
How do you measure the impact of patient partners in health system policy-making and health research? The Public and Patient Engagement Collaborative (PPEC) is an international leader in patient engagement evaluation with a range of tools to help researchers and policy-makers. The PPEC team offers consultation and support to researchers and health system groups who are implementing and evaluating engagement activities. The focus for OSSU’s next phase is on supports and initiatives to engage and partner with diverse populations.
Empowering research teams to engage patient partners and conduct patient-oriented research is the aim of OSSU’s Training and Capacity Development Initiative (TCDI). Through online and in-person training, workshops and resources, the initiative gives researchers, trainees and policy-makers the skills to embed patient engagement in research in Ontario.