Yukon Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (YSPOR)

2023 YSPOR Health Summit – Registration Now Live!

Taking place on November 15th and 16th, this hybrid event offers both online participation and limited in-person attendance at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre in Whitehorse. We are also excited to provide interactive hubs at the SOVA room in Dawson and at the YukonU Alice Frost campus in Old Crow. There are many great activities and speakers planned, including keynotes by Jocelyn Joe-Strack and Chief Pauline Frost. This is an event you won't want to miss.

Register now

Poster promoting YSPOR Health Summit 2023. November 15-16, 2023, 8:30am-4:30pm. Hybrid event with limited in-person attendance at KDCC and interactive hubs in Dawson City and Old Crow.

YSPOR supports health research done in partnership with people with lived experience in the Yukon. Our goal is to help improve health outcomes for all Yukon people by learning from those who have lived experience. We are based at Yukon University and are funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research. We are committed to ensuring the research we support is conducted ethically and inclusively. We value and honour Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing in everything we do. We develop and nurture partnerships across Canada with health care providers, communities, NGOs and governments to share our experiences, learn from others, and build resilience together.

Yukon SPOR Unit vision: Yukon can become 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 our shared challenges, leading to an improved patient experience and improved health outcomes for all Yukon residents

To learn more please visit YSPOR.ca, and sign up for our newsletter.

What we do

We want to give voices to people and the community; we want them to be partners in the research process. The way we achieve this is through our multiple levels of engagement:

Inform: to provide stakeholders with balanced and objective information to assist them in understanding the problem, alternatives, opportunities and/or solutions

Consult: to obtain stakeholder feedback on analysis, alternatives and/or decisions

Involve: to work directly with stakeholders throughout the process to ensure that concerns and aspirations are consistently understood and considered

Collaborate: to partner with stakeholders in each aspect of the decision including the development of alternatives and the identification of the preferred solution     

Empower: to place final decision-making in the hands of stakeholders.

We’re here to make sure that the health research happening in our Territory matters to those that call it home.

SPOR Support Units exist in every province and territory except Nunavut, which is currently in development. We are currently funded through a 5-year operating grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). All the SPOR entities collaborate with one another and research partners across Canada, but their focus and priorities lie with their respective province/territory. That is to say, our focus is with the Yukon and its residents.


Why is the unit named ‘SPOR’?

Currently, the unit is named SPOR, an acronym that stands for:

Strategy for




However, we are changing our name and identity to better suite our Yukon community this fall.

What exactly is ‘patient-oriented research’?

The Yukon SPOR unit reflects a broad understanding of the concept of “patient”, including not only individual persons with lived experience of the health system and their families or caregivers, but also communities, with an emphasis on Indigenous communities, and Yukon First Nations.

The direct definition from our funder, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), is as follows:

“Patient-oriented research refers to a continuum of research that engages patients as partners, focusses 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.”

If you’d like to read more about CIHR and patient-oriented research, you can visit this link.

Our commitment to all ways of knowing, being and doing

We are committed to working towards continued reconciliation in our work. It is our intent that all our initiatives demonstrate our utmost respect and adherence to Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing. 

Who we are

The SPOR team is led by the YukonU Scientific Director, Dr. Michelle Leach. Discover the Yukon SPOR team in our directory.



Ultimate accountability for Yukon SPOR Unit outcomes, achievement of milestones, and completion of deliverables, rests with the Oversight Committee.  This Committee reflects the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) requirements that SPOR Units be governed by collaborative, multi-party teams that include patients, health policy decision-makers, and researchers.  Yukon University, as the host organization, is accountable to CIHR for financial oversight and ensuring that deliverables as required in the Funding Agreement are completed and reported upon; but it is the Oversight Committee that will provide guidance to the Scientific Director and make high-level decisions with respect to resource allocation, strategic priorities, and partnerships. 



YSPOR has five funding program streams that are outlined on YukonU’s research funding webpages. Applicants are encouraged to reach out to discuss their projects and get assistance in filling out the applications. If you have a project idea for your community, we want to hear from you!

Learn more