President Peter Stoicheff at the launch of SCPOR.

Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research formally launched

A partnership established to support patient-oriented research in Saskatchewan health care has been provided major funding and in-kind support for the next five years.

The announcement was made April 18 by Canada’s Minister of Health Jane Philpott at the Gordon Oakes Red Bear Student Centre at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S).

The Saskatchewan Centre for Patient-Oriented Research (SCPOR) will receive a total of $62.7 million, half of which will come from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the other half through financial and in-kind support from the province and eight Saskatchewan health care partners.

Philpott described SCPOR as an initiative that is “promoting innovation, fostering collaboration and helping ensure we address the health care needs of people from Saskatchewan.”

While the research partnership that is now SCPOR began its work about two years ago, Tuesday’s announcement was considered its official launch, according to SCPOR support unit specialist Barb Colvin. The organization has already facilitated research into nutrition at long-term care residences as well as dementia in rural Saskatchewan.

What sets patient-oriented research apart is that patients are always on the research planning team, including helping to select the questions to ensure research is more in tune with patient needs, Colvin explained.

“Having the patient at the centre of care or research is a fairly new initiative that has been much talked about,” said SCPOR executive director Helen Kenyon, appointed to the position this past March. “SCPOR makes this happen so that patients, researchers, clinicians and policy makers come together to design solutions that will positively change care and the health care system for all Saskatchewan people.”

The current focus of SCPOR is on mental health and addictions and improving indigenous health outcomes, a research focus which fits with the Saskatchewan government’s health care priorities and will advance efforts “to put our patients first,” according to Saskatchewan Health Minister Jim Reiter.

SCPOR has developed Indigenous research and engagement platform to ensure members of Indigenous communities are included to help identify research needs and priorities in their communities and also ensure the research is culturally sensitive.

“This in particular will make a difference in Indigenous communities by ensuring that they are part of the research planning from the start,” said Peter Stoicheff, U of S president.

Administrative offices for SCPOR are located on the campus of the U of S, one of eight funding partners in Saskatchewan. Other organizations supporting SCPOR research are the University of Regina, the Saskatoon and Regina-Qu’Appelle health regions, Saskatchewan Polytechnic through its nursing program, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, the Saskatchewan Health Quality Council and eHealth Saskatchewan.                    

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