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Ministry Status: Activation Status

Research at the Ministry of Health

Applied Health Evidence Program

The Applied Health Evidence Program (AHEP) generates and drives the use of data and evidence at all levels of the health system to improve patient care and health system performance. AHEP uses a flexible, responsive approach designed to ensure the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Long-Term Care and broader health sector have the evidence they need for decision making.

If you have questions regarding the Applied Health Evidence Program please contact the Research Planning and Management Unit at researchunit@ontario.ca.

Applied Health Evidence Program Streams include:

  • Tailored Evidence Supports – Deliver applied health evidence to support high priority initiatives. This stream provides tailored health evidence based on immediate policy needs and is responsive to emerging challenges in the health sector (e.g. Ontario Health Teams, mental health and addictions, COVID-19).
  • Federal/Provincial Partnerships – Enable AHEP to have greater impact by leveraging its investments to bring additional provincial and federal research funding into the health system, including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).
  • Provincial Evidence Infrastructure – Support health evidence infrastructure to meet critical data, evidence, and evaluation needs of the health sector in Ontario.

Tailored Evidence Supports: Currently Funded Programs

Ontario Health Teams Central Supports Program
Program Name Institution Brief Description
Rapid Improvement Support and Exchange (RISE) McMaster University RISE is the main partner providing Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) at all stages with rapid learning and improvement supports. This includes supporting collaboratives and coaching, convening events like stakeholder dialogues and preparing products like RISE briefs, sharing tools and resources through a dedicated RISE website, webinars and newsletters, and supporting the COVID-19 response with rapid-evidence profiles and with resources like the inventory of ‘best evidence syntheses’.
Patient Engagement and Evaluation (Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis [CHEPA]) McMaster University The patient engagement program team will co-create a patient engagement evaluation framework, indicators, guidance documents, tools and iKT activities for stakeholders (Ontario Health, OHTs, etc.) via a working group of patient advisors (patients, caregivers, family), academics and health system partners.

ADVANCE (Accountability, shareD leadership and goVernANCE)

University of Toronto The ADVANCE program team will provide collaborative leadership training and coaching at all stages of the OHT trajectory to enable teams to advance their shared decision-making.

Ontario Health Teams Central Evaluation and Supports; evaluation of Bundled Care and Health Links

(Health System Performance Network [HSPN])

University of Toronto

HSPN will undertake rapid cycle evaluations of implementation on site to inform OHT candidate’s real-time decisions, and provide a comparative evaluation to demonstrate performance of the integrated care model across the Province. HSPN will supply learning supports, resources and guidance materials to OHTs to improve implementation. HSPN will undertake evaluation of Bundled Care for Hip and Knee Replacements and evaluation of Health Links using the Provincial Registry of Health Links enrolled patients to assess whether programs have achieved health system goals.
Primary Health Care Supports; (INnovations Supporting PrImary Healthcare through Research [INSPIRE-PHC]) Queen’s University INSPIRE-PHC supports collaboration and vertical integration between primary health care (PHC) and health system and social care sectors, facilitates rapid early stage evaluation of PHC renewal initiatives, links PHC capacity to population health needs, and supports emerging OHTs with analysis customized to their area/populations of focus.
Ontario Drug Policy Research Network (ODPRN); high cost drugs and beneficiaries, opioids St. Michael’s Hospital ODPRN will expand its network of knowledge users to include OHT candidates; respond to OHT specific projects under an expanded Applied Health Research Question (AHRQ) program. Two research priority areas (opioids and high cost drug beneficiaries) will support OHTs in their understanding of population health costs and their drivers.

Please see the Ontario Health Teams page for the program of supports for OHTs and more information on OHTs.

Ontario Together COVID-19 Rapid Research Fund
Project Name Project Lead and Institution Brief Description
Real-time monitoring of disaster-related mental health impact of COVID-19 on Canadian children, youth and families. A collaboration of community and clinical cohorts.

Daphne Korczak

The Hospital for Sick Children
This project will bring together four research teams to determine the real-time impact of COVID-19 on the mental health and well-being of children and families in Ontario. The study will answer vital questions about the impact that COVID-19 emergency measures have had on children and parents.
Monitoring the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic Response on Mental Health and Well-being of Children, Young People and their Families in Ontario

Kathy Georgiades

McMaster University
This study will monitor the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic response on mental health and well-being of children and families in Ontario. It will help determine the magnitude, duration and distribution of adverse effects to support mitigation strategies and future policy-making.
The Longitudinal Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Mental Health of Children in Southwestern Ontario

Lance Rappaport

University of Windsor

This study will assess families in Southwestern Ontario through mid 2021 to identify the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on children’s daily lives and psychological distress (i.e., symptoms of anxiety, depressive, and posttraumatic stress disorders). This will help in the development of guidelines for the assessment of children at risk for long-term psychological harm, inform the development of targeted treatments and determine the mental health resources required to mitigate the risk to children’s mental health.

Development of a Risk Assessment Tool to Predict Outcomes in Ventilated COVID-19 Patients

Sheila Riazi

University Health Network
Through the development of an app or webpage model, this project will predict patient outcomes for individuals infected with COVID-19. Researchers will collect data on COVID-19 patients who require ventilation to help clinicians make decisions on patient management and better allocate resources during the current pandemic, possible second wave or future pandemics, leading to better overall patient outcomes.
Effectiveness of masks in limiting COVID-19 transmission

Benzhong Zhao

McMaster University
This research will provide clarity on the role of masks in stemming the spread of COVID-19. Results will aid public health officials in their decision-making, encourage and motivate the general public to voluntarily wear masks and lead to new testing standards for measuring the effectiveness of face masks in blocking disease transmission.
Adapting Anxiety Intervention for Youth with Autism for Rapid Response to COVID-19: A Research Project to Provide and Evaluate Virtual Mental Health Care

Evdokia Anagnostou

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital
Youth with autism experience significant and impairing anxiety. This project will deliver and evaluate a virtual intervention to help treat acute anxiety among youth who have Autism Spectrum Disorder caused by social isolation during the COVID-19 outbreak. Rapid action in disseminating and evaluating virtual mental health supports is critical, especially for vulnerable families.
Lung Structure-Function In SurVivors of Mild and SEvere COVID19 Infection: 129Xe MRI and CT For Rapid Evaluations and NExt-wave Healthcare Planning LIVE COVID FREE

Grace Parraga

University of Western Ontario
COVID-19 infection can result in pneumonia, lung inflammation and respiratory failure with damage to lung airways, tissue and blood vessels. In survivors, it may cause long-term, irreversible lung damage and debilitating symptoms. Our team of researchers will evaluate novel MRI and CT images of COVID-19 survivors across five centres of excellence in Ontario to quantitatively evaluate post-infection lung abnormalities. This research will shed light on the long-term effects of COVID-19 to assist with planning for the health services needs of COVID-19 survivors.
Imaging Tests for the Diagnosis of COVID-19: A ‘living’ Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Matthew McInnes

Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Chest imaging may have a crucial role in the management of patients suspected to have COVID-19. This research will develop robust diagnostic guidelines for interpretation of chest imaging to evaluate the efficacy of this method in diagnosing and monitoring COVID-19 patients.

Through international collaboration with the Cochrane COVID-19 Diagnostic Rapid Review Group (whose membership includes representatives from the World Health Organization and the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics), the Canadian Society of Thoracic Radiology/Canadian Association of Radiologists and the British Society of Thoracic Imaging, this research could have global impact on the diagnosis and management of COVID-19 health resources.

Federal/Provincial Partnerships

  • Through AHEP, the ministry provides matching funds for the Ontario SPOR SUPPORT Unit (OSSU). OSSU is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR).
  • OSSU is a non-government organization established in 2013 and comprised of 15 research centres. OSSU has created a strongly networked group of leading health researchers and the infrastructure to foster the paradigm of patient-oriented health research.
  • SPOR is about engaging patients, their caregivers, and families as partners in the research process. This engagement helps to ensure that studies focus on patient-identified priorities, which ultimately leads to better patient outcomes.
  • Through AHEP, the ministry has partnered with the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) to co-fund Ontario projects through CIHR’s COVID-19 Mental Health and Substance Use Service Needs and Delivery funding opportunity. This funding opportunity is part of the Government of Canada's continued rapid response to address the major health challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Provincial Evidence Infrastructure

  • Through AHEP the ministry funds ICES to provide data and research evidence that is essential for the planning, evaluation and improvement of a broad range of health services in Ontario. ICES is a research institute and prescribed entity that encompasses a community of research, data and clinical experts, as well as a secure and accessible array of Ontario's health-related data. By linking data from many sources, ICES provides a comprehensive view of population health and health care delivery.
  • The ministry supports the response to COVID-19 through the Ontario Health Data Platform (OHDP). The Ontario Health Data Platform is led by the province, and is a collaboration with ICES and Compute Ontario, Ontario Health, Vector Institute, the University of Toronto, and Queen's University. The OHDP helps researchers better detect, plan, and respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by providing access to a large range of databases through an integrated, secure platform.
  • More information on the OHDP:

For More Information

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