About Us

YSPOR full color logo

YSPOR supports health research through training, capacity development, knowledge sharing and translation, so that People with Lived Experience, their families and caregivers, and communities are empowered to shape health care and research in the Territory.

We are committed to ensuring the research we support is conducted ethically and inclusively.

We value and honour Indigenous ways of knowing, doing and being in everything we do.

We develop and nurture partnerships across Canada with health care providers, communities, non-government organizations, and governments to share our experiences, learn from others, and build resilience together.

Launched in 2011, the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) is about providing patient-focused evidence needed to inform the development of health policies and improve the health care system.

“Patient-oriented research refers to a continuum of research that engages patients as partners, with focus on patient-identified priorities and improves patient outcomes. This research, conducted by multidisciplinary teams in partnership with relevant stakeholders, aims to apply the knowledge generated to improve healthcare systems and practices.” (CIHR, 2019, p. 5). YSPOR applies a broad understanding of the term “patient”, including not only people with lived experience (PWLE) of the health system and their families or caregivers, but also communities, with an emphasis on Yukon First Nations communities. Our goal is to help improve health outcomes for all Yukon people by learning from those with lived experience. We hope to amplify the voices of people and communities by engaging them as partners in research.

Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Units consist of multidisciplinary researchers and facilitators specialized in research methods, policy development, and patient engagement. SPOR SUPPORT Units can be found in hubs across Canada to connect research to patients, caregivers, families, policy-makers and healthcare providers. YSPOR is one of 11 Units, providing expertise and support to patient-oriented research in the Yukon, as well as assist with decision-making in health services. YSPOR welcomes requests from other SPOR entities to work on joint initiatives. Please email YSPOR’s Scientific Director, Michelle Leach, to discuss your request.

Learn more about CIHR’s SPOR Strategy

SPOR is guided by the following principles:

  • Patients need to be engaged in all aspects of research to ensure questions and results are relevant;
  • Decision-makers and clinicians need to be involved throughout the entire research process to ensure integration into policy and practice;
  • Funding under SPOR is based on a 1:1 matching formula with non-federal government partners to ensure relevance and applicability;
  • Effective patient-oriented research requires a multi-disciplinary approach; and,
  • SPOR is outcome-driven and incorporates performance measurement and evaluation as integral components of the initiative.

To help catalyze patient-oriented research across Canada, SPOR:

SPOR Networks and Other SPOR Initiatives

SPOR Networks are groups of patients, researchers, policy-makers and health services providers who work together across Canada to conduct research that is effective in addressing patient needs in targeted areas. There is a requirement for SUPPORT Units in their second phase to allocate at least 50% of their annual CIHR funding to support service needs of other SPOR-funded entities including but not limited to: SPOR Networks, SPOR Innovative Clinical Trials grantees and the SPOR Evidence Alliance, the SPOR National Training Entity and SPOR Collaboration Grantees.

There are currently seven funded networks: CHILD-BRIGHT Network; Chronic Pain Network; Diabetes Action Canada; IMAGINE-SPOR Chronic Disease Network; Can-SOLVE CKD; ACCESS Open Minds; and, the Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations (PIHCI).

The SPOR Evidence Alliance involves more than 175 members across Canada in creating a coordinating centre to which knowledge-users can submit health research questions, which will then be matched to experts who will conduct systematic reviews and knowledge synthesis research to address the topic.

The Health Research Data Network Canada provides a single portal through which researchers will be able to request access to a multitude of administrative, clinical, and social data from various sources from across the country.

The Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre (CCTCC) brings stakeholders together to strengthen the Canadian clinical trials environment and promote Canada as a leading destination for clinical trials globally through policy development, advocacy, standardization, and evaluation.

Yukon Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (YSPOR) is housed at Yukon University and funded through a five-year operating grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Founded in 2021, we are Canada’s newest SPOR SUPPORT Unit, with units established in every province and territory except Nunavut, which is currently in development.

SPOR SUPPORT Units were created through CIHR as a collaboration between federal and provincial/territorial governments with the goal of establishing infrastructure for patient-oriented research in the provinces and territories of Canada. All SPOR units collaborate with one another and research partners across Canada, but their focus and priorities lie within their respective province/territory. That is to say, our focus is people who reside in the Yukon.

Ultimate accountability for YSPOR outcomes, achievement of milestones, and completion of deliverables rests with the YSPOR Oversight Committee.  The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) requires that SPOR Units be governed by collaborative, multi-party teams that include patients, health policy decision-makers, and researchers.  Our host organization, Yukon University is accountable to CIHR for financial oversight. The Oversight Committee provides guidance to the Scientific Director about resource allocation, strategic priorities, and partnerships.


Members of the YSPOR Oversight Committee standing outside in nature in front of a forest

YSPOR Oversight Committee

We envision Yukon as a recognized leader in co-created health research, grounded in partnership among Indigenous and non-Indigenous government and non-government institutions that brings together all ways of knowing to help people in the Yukon face shared challenges, improving patient experiences and health outcomes for all Yukon people.

YSPOR Strategic Plan – Goals and Objectives

  1. Build and strengthen relationships.
  2. Build YSPOR’s operational foundation ( i.e. establish YSPOR policies/procedures, staffing/training, etc.).
  3. Support effective sharing of health data and results.
  4. Build awareness and support of YSPOR.
  5. Increase capacity in community-based health research that honours lived experience.

YSPOR Values

Table made of colorful blocks, with each block detailing one of YSPOR’s values.