OSSU Research Initiatives



OSSU’s eight Research Initiatives offer world leading expertise in data access, methodological and research services, knowledge translation, clinical trials, capacity building and more. These organizations work together, and in concert with the Coordinating Centre, to provide Ontario’s health system stakeholders with the infrastructure, scientific knowledge and technical support needed to conduct patient-oriented research, and to inform and implement more effective health policy and clinical practices throughout the province.

Digital Health & Implementation Science InitiativeTop

Understanding how to implement a new initiative can help increase the uptake, impact, and sustainability of your work. The Office of Spread and Scale (OSS), a multi-disciplinary team from the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto, can help. Our team provides coaching and consultation services to help you plan for sustainability, spread, and scale by incorporating principles of implementation science into project plans and grant proposals. We also have expertise in digital health, and can help you to consider sustainability, spread and scale within your digital health evaluations.

Our team holds expertise in:

  • implementation science
  • sustaining, spreading and scaling effective interventions
  • evaluation
  • health services research
  • health equity
  • digital health
  • dissemination
  • strategic communications
  • public policy

Guided by the values of collaboration, health equity, and evidence-informed decision-making, the OSS prioritizes patient-oriented research and application of practices likely to achieve impact.

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Fairness is Excellence InitiativeTop

The Fairness is Excellence initiative can help ensure health research promotes equity or fairness. We can provide researchers with advice on how to conduct research that promotes health equity and how to ensure the research enterprise is itself equitable. We can help connect researchers with a supportive community centred advancing health equity through events and by facilitating collaborations. Our equity framework explains principles and practices for promoting equity in patient-oriented research, and the equity-related requirements for researchers working with the Ontario SPOR Support Unit.

Selected Publications

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First Nations Research and Data Management InitiativeTop

The First Nations Research and Data Management initiative (FNRDMI) is mandated by the Chiefs of Ontario (COO). COO is the political forum and secretariat for collective decision-making, action, and advocacy for the 133 First Nations communities located within the boundaries of the province of Ontario.  FNRDMI is dedicated to promoting First Nations’ health and wellbeing through meaningful research, strong data platforms, and adherence to the principles of OCAP®, which specifies First Nations Ownership, Control, Access and Possession of First Nations data and information.

The primary focus for the FNRDMI is capacity building, in a manner that strengthens First Nations patient oriented research efforts and aligns with national instruments such as: a)  the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People (RCAP) b) the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous People (UNDRIP); and c)initiatives such as the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) recommendations. Capacity building in this regard necessitates recognizing and advancing patient-oriented research in the context of First Nations rights, issues specific to health equity, and data sovereignty.

FNRDMI seeks the evolvement of the First Nations health research agenda through community based input; expansion of alliances, collaborations, and partnership, and the strengthening of data platforms through exploration in data governance and relationship protocols

Selected Publications

  • Campbell, R. J., Sutherland, R., Khan, S., Doliszny, K. M., Hooper, P. L., Slater, M.,& Green, M. E. (2020). Diabetes-induced eye disease among First Nations people in Ontario: a longitudinal, population-based cohort study. CMAJ open8(2), E282.
  • Chu, A., Han, L., Roifman, I., Lee, DS., Green, ME., Jacklin, K., Walker, J., Sutherland, R., Khan, S., Frymire, E., Tu, J., Shah, B. (2019) Trends in cardiovascular care and event rates among First Nations and other people with diabetes in Ontario, Canada, 1996-2015. CMAJ, 191 (47): doi: https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.190899.
  • Kapral, M., Shah, B., Green, M,, Porter, J., Griffiths, R., Frymire, E., Slater, M., Jacklin, K., Sutherland, R. & Walker, J. (2020). Hospital admission for stroke or transient ischemic attack among First Nations people with diabetes in Ontario: a population-based cohort study. CMAJ open8(1), E156.
  • Shah, B. R., Slater, M., Frymire, E., Jacklin, K., Sutherland, R., Khan, Walker, J. & Green, M.. (2020). Use of the health care system by Ontario First Nations people with diabetes: a population-based study. CMAJ open8(2), E313.
  • Slater, M., Green, M. E., Shah, B., Khan, S., Jones, C. R., Sutherland, R., Jacklin, K., & Walker, J. D. (2019). First Nations people with diabetes in Ontario: methods for a longitudinal population-based cohort study. CMAJ open7(4), E680.
  • Slater, M., Jacklin, K., Sutherland, R., Jones, C., Blind, M., Warry, W., & Walker, J. (2020). Understanding aging, frailty, and resilience in Ontario First Nations. Canadian Journal on Aging/La Revue canadienne du vieillissement, 1-6.
  • Vélez, M. P., Slater, M., Griffiths, R., Shah, B. R., Sutherland, R., Jones, C, Jacklin, K., Walker, J. & Green, M.. (2020). Diabetes during pregnancy and perinatal outcomes among First Nations women in Ontario, 2002/03–2014/15: a population-based cohort study. CMAJ open8(1), E214.
  • Walker, J., Andrew, M., Bronskill, S.,  Smylie, J., Warry, W., Henry, D., Loft, D., Jones, C., Sutherland, R., Blind, M., Slater, M., Pitawanakwat, K., Mecredy, G.,&  Jacklin, K. (2019).  Ontario First Nations Aging Study: Overview and Report.
  • Walker, J., Lovett, R., Kukutai, T., Jones, C., & Henry, D. (2017). Indigenous health data and the path to healing. Lancet390(10107), 2022-2023.
  • Walker, J., Pyper, E., Jones, C., Khan, S., Chong, N., Legge, D., Schull, M., & Henry, D. (2018). Unlocking First Nations health information through data linkage. International Journal of Population Data Science3(1). Doi : https://doi.org/10.23889/ijpds.v3i1.450
  • Walker, J., Rowe, R., & Jones, C. (2018). Describing the process of ethical conduct of research in an Ontario-wide First Nations diabetes research project. CMAJ190(Suppl), S19-S20.
  • Walker, J., Slater, M., Jones, C., Shah, B., Frymire, E., Khan, S., Jacklin, K. & Green, M. E. (2020). Diabetes prevalence, incidence and mortality in First Nations and other people in Ontario, 1995–2014: a population-based study using linked administrative data. Cmaj192(6), E128-E135

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  • Cindy Owl, Knowledge Translator/Coordinator, (416) 597-1266

Indigenous (Inuit/Métis) InitiativeTop

The Métis and Inuit-Indigenous Initiative is led by OSSU’s northern Research Centre, the Centre for Rural and Northern Health Research (CRaNHR). The Initiative supports the development of, and enhanced capacity for POR among Métis and Inuit stakeholders, communities and researchers. CRaNHR supports cross cutting POR needs that are sensitive to equity, diversity and inclusion, and Métis and Inuit-led visions for knowledge co-creation and translation.

The Initiative’s activities support: Indigenous-driven POR capacity building for Métis and Inuit stakeholders and trainees; enhanced capacity for Métis and Inuit-led research and information/data management; connections between Métis and Inuit stakeholders and other SPOR entities; Métis and Inuit-led components for a learning health system and patient partnership; and Métis and Inuit-Indigenous representation in OSSU’s governance structure.

CRaNHR acts as the coordinating point of contact for the Initiative, and guiding support efforts is explicit recognition of the inherent sovereignty of Indigenous communities with full right of self-governance and self-determination.

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Mental Health & Addictions Research InitiativeTop

To address the growing need for mental health and addictions patient-oriented research in Ontario, existing resources and expertise in Ontario has been organized into a network of supports culminating in a Mental Health and Addictions Research Initiative. This new initiative will provide infrastructure, expertise and support to people engaged in mental health and addictions patient-oriented research. It will work with existing resources within and outside the mental health and addictions sector to promote knowledge transfer and exchange of evidence generated by the OSSU-supported research. With the establishment of the Mental Health and Addictions Centre of Excellence, including its alignment with the Mental Health and Addictions Division within the Ministry of Health, there will be opportunities for the research supported by this new initiative to have a direct input into the development of mental health policy.

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Ontario Francophone Communities Research InitiativeTop

Ontario Francophone Communities Research Initiative (OFCRI) is a representative consultative group of researchers and health planners from across the province.  The OFCRI can support the advancement and integration of Francophone communities in patient-oriented research (POR) by identifying challenges and priorities for Francophone health in Ontario. The Initiative provides support by linking researchers with relevant resources to integrate a Francophone component to their study, developing and disseminating research support tools, and consolidating evidence for informed decision making. The Initiative also seeks to expand collaboration among Francophone researchers in the province of Ontario and broaden Francophone POR across provinces/territories in Canada. Specifically, the OFCRI can:

  1. assist with incorporating and analysing data related to the needs of Francophone communities;
  2. facilitate incorporating Francophone patient representatives in all aspects of research projects;
  3. ensure research participation and findings are available to a wider audience;
  4. validate French training modules or frameworks and e) participate in the development of large-scale research projects.

The OFCRI is based at l’Institut du Savoir Montfort. For more information and French resources, please visit;  https://savoirmontfort.ca/en/6266-2/.

Selected Publications

  • Patient-physician language concordance and quality and safety outcomes among frail home care recipients admitted to hospital in Ontario, Canada. Seale, E., Reaume, M., Batista R., Eddeen, A.B., Roberts R., Rhodes E., McIsaac, D.I., Kendall C.E., Sood M.M., Prud’homme, D., Tanuseputro, P. CMAJ 2022 July 11;194:E899-908. doi: 10.1503/cmaj.212155.
  • Timony, P.E., Waite, N., Houle, S., Violette, R., Gauthier, A.P. (2022). The Pharmacist Is In: The Availability and Distribution of French-Speaking Pharmacists in Ontario. Linguistic Minorities and Society. 18. 175-196.
  • Reaume, M., Batista, R., Talarico, R., Guerin, E., Rhodes, E., Carson, S., … & Tanuseputro, P. (2022). In-Hospital Patient Harm Across Linguistic Groups: A Retrospective Cohort Study of Home Care Recipients. Journal of Patient Safety, 18(1), e196-e204.
  • Batista R, Prud’homme D, Rhodes E, Hsu A, Talarico R, Reaume M, Guérin E, Bouchard L, Desaulniers J, Manuel D, Tanuseputro P. Quality and Safety in Long-Term Care in Ontario: The Impact of Language Discordance. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2021 Jan 9:S1525-8610(20)31056-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2020.12.007. Online ahead of print.
  • Riad K, Webber C, Batista R, Reaume M, Rhodes E, Knight B, Prud’homme D, Tanuseputro P. The impact of dementia and language on hospitalizations: a retrospective cohort of long-term care residents. BMC Geriatr. 2020 Oct 8;20(1):397. doi: 10.1186/s12877-020-01806-2.
  • Reaume M, Batista R, Talarico R, Rhodes E, Guerin E, Carson S, Prud’homme D, Tanuseputro P. The impact of hospital language on the rate of in-hospital harm. A retrospective cohort study of home care recipients in Ontario, Canada. BMC Health Services Research. 2020; 20: 340.
  • Reaume M, Batista R, Talarico R, Guerin E, Rhodes E, Carson S, Prud’homme D, Tanuseputro P. In-hospital patient harm across linguistic groups: A retrospective cohort study of home care recipients. J Patient Saf. 2020; Published Ahead of Print.
  • Sanou, B., Beaudoin, M., Gauthier, A.P., Chomienne, M-H., Prud’homme, D., & Kpazai, G. Processus de développement d’une trousse d’accompagnement pour l’examen médical des nouveaux arrivants francophones : un exemple de coopération. Diversity of Research in Health Journal. 2020; 3; 84-96.
  • Toal-Sullivan, D., Lemonde, M., Gauthier, A.P., Dahrouge, S. Theoretical and practical considerations for the adoption of a lay navigator training program in primary care. Health Educ J. 2020; https://doi.org/10.1177/0017896920959364.
  • Dahrouge, S., Gauthier, A.P., Chiocchio, F., Presseau, J., Kendall, C., Lemonde, M., Chomienne, M-H., Perna, A., Toal-Sullivan, D., Devlin, R.A., Timony, P., & Prud’homme, D. (2019). Access to resources in the community through navigation: A feasibility study protocol. JMIR Research Protocols. 8(1):e11022.
  • Dahrouge, S., James, K., Gauthier, A.P., Chiocchio, F. Engaging patients to improve equitable access to community resources. Can Med Assoc J. 2018; 190 (Suppl 1):S46-S47.
  • Guerin E, Batista R, Hsu AT, Gratton V, Chalifoux M, Prud’homme D, Tanuseputro P. Does end-of-life care differ for Anglophones and Francophones? A Retrospective Cohort Study of Decedents in Ontario, Canada. J Palliat Med. 2019; 22: 274-81.
  • Batista R, Prud’homme D, Hsu AT, Guérin E, Bouchard L, Rhodes E, Talarico R, Desaulniers J, Manuel D, Tanuseputro P. The health impact of living in a nursing home with a predominantly different spoken language. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2019; 20: 1649-51.

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Public and Patient Engagement InitiativeTop

The Public and Patient Engagement Collaborative (PPEC) was established in 2011. Led by Dr. Julia Abelson of McMaster University, the PPEC’s research and service activities focus on the role of patients and publics in health system policy making and health research, with a specific focus on the evaluation of these efforts. The PPEC are leaders in the area of patient engagement evaluation. The Public and Patient Engagement Evaluation Tool (PPEET) developed by the PPEC has been used by health system organizations and research teams internationally to evaluate their patient engagement activities. The PEEC is currently developing a tool to evaluate the impact of patient engagement across the Ontario health system. The PPEC also continues to provide consultation and support to other research teams and health system groups who are implementing and evaluating their engagement activities. For Phase II of the OSSU, the PPEC will be supporting a Community of Practice for patient engagement research and the development of supports related to engaging and partnering with diverse populations.

Selected Publications

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Training and Capacity Building InitiativeTop

The Training and Capacity Development Initiative (TCDI) of the Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit, supports the building of capacity across Ontario on the conduct and use of patient-oriented research for patients, practitioners, policy makers and managers, and researchers.

The TCDI acts as a clearing house of information on capacity building programs, through a Compendium with all of the current training programs and resources available throughout Ontario. The Masterclass on Patient-Oriented Research has run numerous times both in person and virtually and has helped to train over 100 participants from all stakeholder groups on advanced POR methodologies, understandings and skills. The Patient Engagement Resource Centre (PERC) provides POR resources, guides, articles and consultations in Ontario. The PERC website has had over 1700 unique visitors. Trillium PHC Research Day, a collaborative event held annually to showcase the work of over 100 early-career researchers, patients and policy makers. Finally, the TCDI sponsored 7 POR online training programs spread across Ontario focused for different stakeholder groups and sectors of the healthcare system; these are online and available to all. Collectively, the programs have reached over 1700 stakeholders, spread across Ontario and Canada. (187 words)

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