February 2024 Newsletter

February 2024 Newsletter

February MSSU News+

Just launched: New MSSU website

The Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit (MSSU) is excited to announce the official launch of its redesigned website, marking a significant milestone in enhancing accessibility, usability and engagement for its online visitors. Key features of the new site include a modern and intuitive design, concise calls to action and improved accessibility features.

We will continue to develop new features and make tweaks based on your feedback, so our website will only get better with time. Reach out to with any questions or comments. 

Explore the new website

Funding opportunity open for Maritime trainees

Open to Master’s, Doctoral, or Postdoctoral Fellows pursuing patient-oriented research in the Maritimes

The 2024-2025 Trainee Support Program launched on January 29. A new requirement for this year’s program is for applications to address a health research priority in the province in which they attend university.

“Supporting new researchers is crucial for advancing patient engagement and improving the landscape of health research in the Maritimes. By empowering these individuals, we are investing in a future where research not only addresses the pressing health issues of our region but actively involves and benefits the patients and communities it aims to serve,” said Dr. Daniel Dutton, MSSU Science Lead for Capacity Development. 

Deadline for applications: March 22, 2024 at 2 p.m. Watch the Information Session video for tips on applying for the program or hear from past recipients in this Tips for Success video. If you a MSSU Scientist and are interested in volunteering for the Selection Committee, please contact

Learn more and apply

The survey says: Short and sweet

Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in our recent survey about the MSSU newsletter. Your valuable feedback is important to us and will play a vital role in shaping future improvements.

What we heard

We heard you want to keep it short, hear more about our expertise and tips on how to do patient-oriented research and incorporate more diverse and accessible content. Based on the responses, the newsletter will continue to be issued quarterly. 

MSSU Patient/Public Partner authors journal article: A journey through tapering

MSSU Patient/Public Partner Linda Wilhelm recently published her personal story with tapering in the Journal of Patient Experience. In it, she describes her experience with tapering off the opioid prescription she had used to manage her Rheumatoid Arthritis for the past 30 years. Her paper highlights some difficulties people may experience when tapering their prescriptions and provides recommendations for consideration.

Linda has been engaged in health research for decades and has been a strong advocate for patients with chronic pain.

Read the journal article
Woman with chin length blond hair wearing glasses standing at a podium and microphone smiling.


MSSU Releases Report to Community | November 28, 2023

Have your say in the SPOR Refresh Strategy



How can we make research as valuable to patients as we can?

Dr. Tony Reiman is the Lead for the Saint John site of the Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit and a medical oncologist at the Saint John Regional Hospital, involved in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Dr. Reiman has a special interest in involving patients in research to improve their care. We sat down with Dr. Reiman to ask him about his experiences with patient-oriented research, and its relevance to current research. 

How did you become involved in patient-oriented research?

Ever since I’ve been involved in clinical trials, we’ve had patient representatives on some of the Canadian Cancer Clinical Trials committees. We value the perspective of patients as we design and implement these studies, to answer questions like what would a patient think about participating in this study, what would be the benefits and what would be the drawbacks, and how could we make this as valuable to patients as we can, both in terms of the experience of the patient research participants, and also in terms of the results of the research and how they might impact future patients. But there’s been a movement to try and have a patient partner on your research team for as much of your patient-oriented research as you can so that you can get that perspective. So, we’ve now included patients as partners on our lab research team to get their input on lab research projects, and really any kind of research that involves patients.

Do you have any advice to healthcare providers or clinicians looking to get involved in patient-oriented research or how they might do that?

For individuals who are new to research, or who are experienced in research looking to get involved in patient-oriented research, my main advice would be to start with the Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit which has built expertise in patient-oriented research. The MSSU can provide support for research that engages patients and provides training to people on how to do patient-oriented research.

You don’t necessarily have to be a career researcher or a trained researcher to come up with important questions that could be addressed with research and to partner with researchers and research teams to look at those questions. Certainly, it’s a commitment and you have to find the resources, and sometimes the funding, the expertise, the team to do the work, and patients are an important part of that team. I think the movement to engage patients as partners on the research teams is a good one, and I’d encourage anyone getting into patient-focused research to do that.


The MSSU Patient-Oriented Research Training Practicum builds on the on the modules of the CIHR-IMHA’s e-learning: A How-to-Guide to Patient Engagement. In our free, 2.5-hour workshop, you will put the theory from the CIHR e-learning modules into practice. This workshop is co-led by a Patient/Public Partner who shares valuable insight into the evolution and practice of patient engagement in research.

Next Sessions

April 11: 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

May 9: 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

To register, email

Data Services at Health Data Nova Scotia (HDNS)

In this seminar we will provide an overview of the data services and data available at HDNS and share information about the anticipated CLSA and Atlantic PATH data.

WHEN: April 25, 12 p.m.- 1 p.m. AT


Register Now

Keeping up With Knowledge Translation (KT): Vitalité Health Network Learning Communities

In 2023, the Vitalité Health Network adopted a continuous learning-based strategic planning model anchored on patient and provider experience and focused on building closer ties with communities. In this session, we’ll learn about this unique approach to health system transformation and hear how it is put into practice through Learning Communities.

WHEN: March 15, 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. AT


Register Now

Register Now


Authored by MSSU Patient/Public Partner Linda Wilhelm

A Journey Through Tapering | Journal of Patient Experience

Read the article

Co-authored by MSSU Science Lead, Patient Engagement Dr. Robin Urquhart

Co-creation of a patient engagement strategy in cancer research funding

Read the paper

Co-authored by MSSU staff Leah Boulos, Implementation Science Lead Dr. Janet Curran, Patient/Public Partner Trudy Flynn

Effectiveness of face masks for reducing transmission of SARS-CoV2: A rapid systematic review | The Royal Society Journal

Read the review

If we’ve supported your research and/or you’ve published your findings, let us know by emailing to include in our next newsletter.

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February 2024 Newsletter