Learning Health System Co-Lead – (AbSPORU)


The SPOR (Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research) is a coalition of federal, provincial and territorial partners comprised of Networks and Support for People and Patient-Oriented Research and Trials (SUPPORT) Units. The SPOR Units are specialized, multidisciplinary research service centres located across Canada working with provincial or territorial health services that support the use of research evidence in decision-making and inform best practices. The goal of SPOR is to help transform the role of patient from a passive receptor of services to a proactive partner who helps shape health research and, as a result, health care.


This is a contract position with Alberta Innovates.



Responsibilities require a minimum two-year commitment to support stability and continuity as well as an estimated 1 day/week of dedicated effort to meet AbSPORU expectations. Flexibility is required and the details can be negotiated with the current employer(s).

Review of performance would occur annually with the possibility for a one-term renewal.



  • Master’s or doctoral degree in a relevant discipline (e.g., health science [medicine, nursing, pharmacy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy], health administration or public health, adult education, or business)
  • Minimum of 10 years of proven experience in knowledge translation research and/or mobilization and minimum of five years in leadership/management roles
  • Faculty Appointment with an Alberta university, with the authority to administer resourcesand knowledge of university policies, processes, and procedures with regard to hiring and managing staff in a university context, including relevant collective agreements
  • Expertise in all aspects of knowledge mobilization (e.g., generation, synthesis, critical appraisal, product development, knowledge translation, dissemination, exchange, management and evaluation) and partnership development and engagement
  • Extensive research and stakeholder engagement experience (mandatory).
  • Demonstrated innovative methodological expertise and effectiveness in applying knowledge related to knowledge translation and a learning health system
  • Strong willingness to take risks and tolerance for ambiguity and setbacks
  • Ability to create a shared understanding and vision
  • Prior experience in multi-disciplinary teams involving working and communicating regularly with the other SPOR networks or the equivalent
  • Superior networking skills
  • Strong innovation management skills including creativity, problem solving and continuous improvement; risk management/risk-taking skills; relationship building skills and implementation skills.



If Interested please attach a letter of interest, CV and a one-page proposal.

This competition is open until a successful candidate is found.


Interested candidates should highlight the following in their proposal:

  • Vision statement for Knowledge Translation and LHS activities within AbSPORU
  • Why is patient oriented research and meaningfully engaging patients and citizens important
  • Where you see the needs, future direction and opportunities for a learning health system locally, nationally, and internationally
  • How this opportunity builds upon your existing achievements and will integrate with your current professional responsibilities
  • Your aims and objectives for AbSPORU Knowledge Translation and how you propose to advance patient-oriented research and impacts in health system performance
  • Identify real and perceived conflicts of interest
  • Provide ideas for sustainability of the Unit


As one of the AbSPORU Leads, the successful candidate will champion, develop and facilitate patient oriented research, health system and patient care innovation in collaboration with patients and caregivers, researchers, clinicians, health system program managers, and health system decision makers (in keeping with Equity, Diversity and Inclusiveness principles and Indigenous paradigms).  The purpose is to positively impact health policies, health outcomes, health care efficiency, and patient/provider experiences.


The Learning Health System (LHS) Co-Lead will provide services to AbSPORU clients (researchers, clinicians, patients, industry, decision-makers, policy makers) working in patient-oriented research to facilitate the acceleration of positive change and transformation of the health care system through supporting 1) researchers, non-researchers and industry partners who generate practice-relevant and/or policy-relevant evidence to address care gaps and 2) policy makers and clinicians who integrate that research evidence into practice (the push/pull model of change).


Knowledge translation (KT) is an important part of research and healthcare. It is about doing research with the people who use it, connecting people with health evidence, and helping them use that health evidence. The successful candidate will bring a strong record of achievement as a leader in knowledge translation, knowledge synthesis and implementation science including application to health systems in acute and community settings. Working with the LHS Co-Lead – Health System, the successful candidate will support clients on how and where patients and citizens can participate in health research/health care, and specifically use knowledge translation methodology that promotes the use of evidence to transform and implement a learning health system directly relevant to the vision and mission of AbSPORU and the priorities of Alberta.


The LHS Co-Lead draws upon a strong sense of public service, is responsible for the strategic and tactical goals for AbSPORU, and will be responsible for but not limited to:  

  • Develop a mechanism for regularly collating and communicating P/T health research priorities (i.e., every six months to one year) and enabling face-to-face engagement and knowledge mobilization between researchers, knowledge users and patients.
  • Provide research support services to researchers, clinicians, policy makers, industry conducting knowledge syntheses, implementation science, comparative effectiveness research and program evaluation related to P/T priority areas through a transparent and competitive process, encouraging the use of appropriate knowledge translation and communications plans to ensure stakeholder engagement at all levels. For research related to Indigenous Peoples, the rights of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous self-determination and self-governance, must be respected.
  • Support embedded research relationships
  • Provide methodological guidance to rigorously plan and evaluate implementation projects
  • Collect and synthesize standardized implementation measurements to inform implementation guidance and best practices
  • Advance implementation science in learning health systems and innovation
  • Foster and support a vertically and horizontally integrated learning health system including participating in the Implementation Science Collaborative (which bridges the divide between academia, industry and health system decision-makers to address evidence-to-care gaps and helps bring evidence-informed research and innovation to transform patient care and the healthcare system)
  • Support academic and non-academic researchers within Alberta facilitating “Knowledge to Practice”; working with the Strategic Clinical Networks’ (SCN) leadership, and other health system care delivery and implementation organizations, on the “Practice to Data”, as well as the “Data to Knowledge” pieces of the cycle through our Data and Research Services, Learning Health Systems, Capacity Development, and Patient Engagement teams/components.
  • Assist AbSPORU clients in planning, developing and applying KT methodology that enables health system learning and innovation with diverse teams and customers. This role will require spending time working directly with clients, family/caregivers, frontline providers, leaders, and with community partners.
  • Continue to develop and mobilize capacity and build partnerships to achieve demonstrable impacts within a vertically and horizontally integrated learning health system.  Partners include Alberta Innovates, the Alberta Health Services SCNs, the Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovation Network, the Health Quality Council of Alberta, the Alberta Medical Association Physician Learning Program, and Choosing Wisely Alberta.


This position compliments the AbSPORU LHS Co-Lead – Health System, who assists and builds capacity in the “Knowledge to Action” cycle helping bridge and implement knowledge created in patient-oriented research, putting it into clinical practice.


As a recognized outstanding and innovative leader, the successful candidate will bring best practices, evidence-based rigor in knowledge translation, health system learning and transformation, and extensive experience working with key stakeholders, as well as:

  • Serve as a leader, coach, and expert in knowledge translation strategies that enable patient-oriented research and innovations including implementing digital health into health systems.  This position will support and guide the implementation of strategies aimed at enhancing client, patient, family/caregiver, staff and organizational outcomes through better communication, assessment and implementation that converts practice data into actionable knowledge which informs practice or policy change, scale, spread, sustainment, and de-implementation, etc.
  • Practice KT (facilitating the application of research into policy, practice or products) or conducting KT research
  • Understand the field of KT (including commercialization), its concepts, theories, methods and applications
  • Create and sustain partnerships for KT among the academic, policy, clinical practice, government, voluntary and private sectors
  • Act as a knowledge broker between the KT research/practice community, staff and senior management
  • Build capacity/mentoring in the science and practice of knowledge translation
  • Work with the LHS Co-Lead to set and monitor annual performance targets
  • Manage teams (managing people, finances, resources) including performance management and the development, implementation and evaluation of strategic plans
  • Work with the other Leads in AbSPORU to address and cultivate a culture of patient-oriented research, including working to sustain the Unit
  • Participate nationally on SPOR knowledge translation working groups and networks as required





Provide leadership in the continued and future development of Knowledge Translation and the learning health system within AbSPORU. This position will report to the Scientific Director, AbSPORU.


Create and communicate clarity of purpose as well as a compelling vision of the transformative goals of AbSPORU.


Promote meaningful citizen engagement in healthcare delivery model(s); withstand periods of uncertainty; confront critiques by opponents; seek areas of opportunity for improvement/progress; and adapt skillfully to change.


Working with the LHS Co-Lead – Health Systems, develop an internationally recognized unit and learning health system within AbSPORU, focused on the opportunity to meaningfully engaged patients and citizens, clinicians, researchers, and policy makers, that will generate evidenced based improvements in clinical performance to achieve the highest quality health care delivery, best health outcomes within the most cost-efficient health care system.


Build a collaborative network of researchers, research personnel, health policy makers and health delivery decision-makers, patient partners, etc. (as required by this Platform’s needs) to support and accelerate the ability of Alberta researchers, policy makers and health care decision makers to achieve measurable, citizen incorporated impact on health and health system performance through the platform’s initiatives.


Know and use diverse methods to engage, communicate and mobilize key stakeholders to achieve AbSPORU results and promote adoption of change. Lead complex multi-party discussions on issues that may have impact on program level issues or policies.


Establish and maintain bridges to people and constituencies who can enable and facilitate the success of the platform.


Serve as a leader in the creation and dissemination of new knowledge and capacities emanating from the platform’s activities.


With Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit partners and with the other Leaders, contribute to the AbSPORU business plan for the undertakings and sustainability of the Unit.




Ensure accountability for effective resource allocations to Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit platform



Provide oversight, support and direction to platform staff and participants, as well as a workplace culture that is consistent with AbSPORU’s vision and goals


Establish a financial sustainability plan for the platform services that aligns with the AbSPORU.




Advocate and establish adaptive planning within AbSPORU initiatives to act, assess results, and utilize setbacks as learning opportunities. Consistently monitor results and modify assumptions and approaches accordingly. Identify and communicate success metrics, strategic goals and objectives, and impact.


Build trust, establish partnerships and capitalize on connections among people, ideas and opportunities. Demonstrate and promote research excellence, transparency, and integrity in all activities and interactions.


Foster a climate that inspires and enables others to creatively identify and pursue excellence within and outside AbSPORU, as well as the health care system (e.g., strategic clinical networks).


Apply change management principles and build understanding and consensus within clinical networks; identify obstacles and support the transformation of health service delivery.



$15,000 per annum