The SPARK study is a CIHR-funded national study that was birthed out of the lack of data on social determinants of health in primary care settings in Canada. Healthcare organizations do not currently integrate social determinants data with clinical data, and health providers are not currently trained to routinely respond to social needs. This data could be used to better tailor care to a patient’s social context, improve diagnostic accuracy by incorporating social determinants as risk factors, identify inequities in the uptake of health services and in health outcomes, stimulate the development of new programs, and advance research on inequities.


The goal of the SPARK study is to create a set of standardized questions, called the SPARK tool for routinely collecting sociodemographic data in primary care and provide guidelines for the implementation of the questions while properly engaging patients and communities. Using a randomized-control trial, the SPARK study also aims to uncover strong evidence for the most effective way to address social needs at the point-of-care.

This project was awarded the 2019 NAPCRG People’s Choice Award for commitment to patient-entered outcomes research.


SPARK Study Updates

For the most recent updates on the SPARK study, please refer to this document which will be updated monthly.

In The Media

Team Members

Advisory Members

  • Alexander Zsager (Patient Partner (Ontario))
  • Eunice Abaga (Patient Partner (Ontario))
  • Jane Cooney (Patient Partner (Ontario))
  • Marjeiry Robinson (Patient Partner (Ontario))
  • Alyzia Horsfall  (Former Patient Partner (Manitoba))
  • Dorothy Mary Senior (Patient Partner (Newfoundland & Labrador))
  • Lynn Thompson (Patient Partner (Saskatchewan))
  • Ayesha Haque (Better Outcome Research Network) (Advisory Member)
  • Meron Behre (Better Outcome Research Network) (Advisory Member)
  • Steve Slade (The College of Family Physicians of Canada) (Advisory Member)
  • Dana Riley (Canadian Institute for Health Information) (Advisory Member)
  • Geoff Hynes (Canadian Institute for Health Information) (Advisory Member)
  • Scott McLeish (Statistics Canada) (Advisory Member)
  • Cynthia Damba (Toronto Central LHIN) (Advisory Member)
  • Corey Bernard (Ontario Health) (Advisory Member)
  • Reza Talebi (OntarioMD) (Advisory Member)

Publications & Reports