Patient-oriented Research on Children and Youth
By Dr. Martin Osmond
CEO and Scientific Director, CHEO Research Institute (Ottawa, ON)
As part of the federal government’s recent strategy on patient-oriented research (SPOR), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Government of Ontario have invested in a Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Unit in Ontario. The goal of the Ontario SPOR SUPPORT unit (OSSU) is to promote and support high quality patient-oriented research in Ontario that will contribute directly to health system and patient care improvements.
I want to take a moment to shine a spotlight on one of twelve centres that make up the Ontario Child Health SUPPORT Unit (OCHSU), an arm of the Ontario SPOR SUPPORT unit. OCHSU’s mandate is to create better health outcomes for children and youth. The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) is proud to be co-leading this collaboration of pediatric academic sites across Ontario along with the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). Our extended network partner sites include McMaster Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre, Kingston General Hospital, and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.
The goal is to assist researchers in solving health problems that are important to children and their families. OCHSU does this by providing an integrated, province-wide clinical research infrastructure for child health researchers. By leveraging a ‘Clinical Trial hub’ at SickKids and a ‘Data Research and Database Management hub’ at CHEO, we engage our network partners to conduct world-class pediatric clinical trials that have the potential to transform our province’s healthcare system through high-impact, patient-oriented research for children and youth.
Our aim is to optimize children’s health outcomes by enhancing the efficiency, quality, and standards of child health clinical research across Ontario. We also promote the knowledge translation of clinical research into practice and policy, all with the aim of delivering cost-effective and safe healthcare.
Sounds good, but how do we do this?
We provide research consulting support and services to investigators who wish to address important questions on the health and wellbeing of Ontario’s children. Current studies include new approaches for treating concussion, novel supports for the transitioning of care for teens reaching adulthood, and determining safety profiles for drugs used frequently in children.
As part of the Data Research and Database Management hub, OCHSU experts at CHEO offer services related to clinical and health administrative data research and solutions for high quality data management in clinical trials.
As part of the Clinical Trial hub at SickKids, OCHSU experts offer support in areas such as clinical trial methods, biostatistics, health economics, and regulatory compliance.
Both hubs encourage and facilitate research opportunities where patients are involved in all stages of the design and conduct of the studies. In addition, we encourage projects that catalyze and build new stakeholder relationships, encourage new research collaboration, build capacity in child health clinical research, lead to healthcare system transformation, and develop new models for child health research.
Our collective goal is to enact major changes in policy that will improve outcomes and generate significant cost savings by the widespread implementation of the results of our research. By providing scientifically excellent, high-impact projects that tackle areas of major burden in child health, OCHSU will lead in the development of innovative research methods and will set the standards for child health research.
CHEO is one of Ontario’s 24 research hospitals that contribute to a healthier, wealthier, smarter province. Look for other RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT posts on our Healthier, Wealthier, Smarter blog. To learn more about what’s needed to support Ontario’s health research enterprise, download our Policy Platform.