Work We Support


The Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit (OSSU) helps patients, researchers, health care providers and policy-makers to engage with patient-oriented research by:

  • Providing advice/consultations and access to resources. This includes supporting all stakeholders to develop, deliver and disseminate patient-oriented research that is effective, efficient, uses the best tools and resources available, and meaningfully engages patients and other stakeholders to provide impactful research studies.
  • Supporting demonstration and research projects that showcase how patient-oriented research improves Ontario’s health care system, health policies and the health of Ontarians.  Projects include clinical trials, population health studies, implementation research and knowledge translation and synthesis;
  • Supporting the development and dissemination of new specialized research expertise, resources and tools to build Ontario’s patient-oriented research capacity;
  • Developing capacity of stakeholders in Ontario’s patient-oriented research community through training and career development opportunities; and,
  • Bringing new patient-oriented research discoveries and interventions to the people who need them most to improve health outcomes, experiences, health policies and health care delivery.

Advice/Consultations and Resources

OSSU, through its network of 13 research centres across Ontario, offers resources, training and world-renowned expertise to help researchers conduct patient-oriented research. Through these centres, researchers can access advanced support in the six areas outlined by SPOR: 


In addition to these six areas, at the outset of OSSU, the SUPPORT Unit worked with stakeholders across the province and identified three other key cross-cutting areas of support for patient-oriented research.


Demonstration and Research Projects

OSSU funds special demonstration projects that use a patient-oriented research approach to investigate issues relevant to Ontarians. Two demonstration projects were funded, along with 17 IMPACT Awards.

Demonstration Projects

  • Patients Canada Demonstration Project
  • Ontario Stroke Network Demonstration Project

IMPACT Awards

IMPACT Award projects are real-world examples of patient-oriented research. Each project brings together diverse stakeholders – patients, clinicians, researchers, policy-makers, knowledge users, industry and other health sector participants – to conduct promising research designed to improve patient health and the health system. These research projects were selected to be: Innovative; Measurable; Patient-oriented; Appropriate; Collaborative; and, Transformative.

Click here for descriptions and complete list of IMPACT Awards.

Improving childhood concussion care
Improved care and prevention
  • Preventing childhood obesity
  • Patient-engagement in rapid surgery for hip fracture (HIP ATTACK)
  • Patient and caregiver involvement in a hemodialysis trial (MyTemp)
  • Understanding diabetes in First Nations communities
  • Better pain management for newborns
  • Involving men with lived experience in suicide prevention research
  • Better access to essential medicines (CLEAN Meds)
  • Improving childhood concussion care
Improving youth access to mental health and addiction services
Care in the community and at home
  • Francophone community health service access in Ontario
  • Engaging older adults as partners in transitional care research
  • Mental health services for on-reserve Aboriginal youth
Improving heart failure care
Health system integration and sustainability
  • Improving care for kids with complex medical conditions
  • Improving Ontario’s health system
  • Improving heart failure care for patients
  • Youth engagement in mental health and addiction services (YouthCan IMPACT)
  • Transporting patients with cervical spine (C-spine) injury
  • Improving emergency department care using patient perspectives on outcomes

EMPOWER Awards

OSSU’s EMPOWER (Engaging Multi-stakeholders for Patient Oriented-research Wider Effects and Reach) Awards are designed to support research teams who can demonstrate the patient oriented research they have undertaken with patient partners in the last 2 years that would benefit from an injection of end of grant funding to empower the research to impacts in the province.

For full details on the OSSU EMPOWER Awards click here.

Four EMPOWER Awards have initially been funded, with plans to run additional competitions in the future.

  • EMPOWER Retinoblastoma: Engaging Patient Partners in Solving the Top 10 Priorities for Eye Cancer Research in Canada. Dr. Helen Dimaras, SickKids Hospital.
  • #PartneringForPain: Taking Action Together on Family-Identified Priorities in Pediatric Chronic Pain. Dr. Jennifer Stinson, SickKids Hospital.
  • Partner Early, Partner Often: Building a platform for meaningful patient partnership to accelerate “bench-to-bedside” translation of promising new therapies. Dr. Manoj Lalu, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.
  • Participatory ALC: Co‐Designing Strategies to Address Alternate Level of Care (ALC) Challenges – Building Capacity across Ontario. Kerry Kuluski, Sinai Health System.