Dr. Virginia Vandall-Walker named lead of patient engagement for Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit

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Dr. Virginia Vandall-Walker in her back yard.

Dr. Virginia Vandall-Walker in her back yard.

Dr. Virginia Vandall-Walker, an associate professor in Athabasca University’s Centre for Nursing and Health Studies, has been named lead for the Patient Engagement platform of the Alberta SPOR (Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research) SUPPORT Unit.

“I am extremely pleased to welcome Virginia into this critical leadership role and platform,” said Tim Murphy, executive director of the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit. “Along with the other platform leads, she will be advancing the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT model in the months ahead, moving towards operational readiness.”

The Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit is a multidisciplinary health care research centre created to support patient-oriented research. Organized and funded by Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions (AIHS) and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), the Alberta unit was launched in November 2013 and is the first such provincial unit opened to support SPOR , a national initiative led by CIHR.

The “SUPPORT” in the name is an acronym for Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials.

Seven province-wide platforms will operate under the umbrella of the Alberta unit, offering resources for researchers in areas such as data services, knowledge translation and clinical trials. The patient engagement platform led by Vandall-Walker will focus on engaging Alberta patients and their families as full partners in health care research.

Vandall-Walker, who joined AU in 1995, will continue thesis supervision and course leadership at the university but will stop teaching courses to make room for her new work as patient engagement platform lead.