Projects

Project

Planning for Community Resiliency in Recovery from COVID-19 in NB
Project Number: P0061

Principal Investigator: Sandra Magalhaes

Year Approved: 2020

Summary...
Short-term pandemic planning is at the forefront of government and the Regional Health Authority’s efforts as they focus on controlling infection and ensuring sufficient health system capacity. However, it is just as important to plan for the time when infection is contained, and recovery efforts begin. Population-based risk indicators for communities across New Brunswick can support decision-making to help limit community spread and exacerbation of infection in those most at risk.

 While stay-at-home measures aim to reduce community spread of infection, they increase proximity among those living in collective dwellings. In the absence of complete lockdown, the opportunity for infection to enter the home exists. Those living in residential facilities (e.g. special care homes) and apartments have greater risk. As measures relax, schools will re-open, further increasing opportunity for transmission across households. Public health measures to control spread of COVID-19 may also have unintended consequences for individuals residing alone, low-income families, children with special needs, individuals susceptible to mental health challenges, and those with chronic conditions unable to manage them effectively. The goal of this research project is to develop an analytical framework to create community-level indicators, including poor health outcomes due to infection, and greater risk of infection in collective dwellings, that are relevant to COVID-19 pandemic planning and recovery efforts in NB.  

Choosing wisely: Imaging for lower back pain
Project Number: P0054

Principal Investigator: Ted McDonald

Summary...
Eighty percent of adults will experience low back pain, and although few have a serious pathology, many of those people will seek medical help. Even though radiological imaging is discouraged unless a serious pathology exists, New Brunswick has the third highest use per capital of CT imaging among Canadian provinces. Evidence shows that acute lower-back pain is best approached with education, exercise, and generally resolves within 4 weeks, with or without imaging. This project aims to examine past trends and future directions in utilization rates for the province, various lower geographies, and generate group specific (age, sex) rates to define who is receiving diagnostic imaging. This work will help to assess the extent to which NB practices are consistent with Choosing Wisely guidelines around imaging for lower back pain. 

Retention and labour market preparation for immigrants in New Brunswick
Project Number: P0050

Principal Investigator: Murshed Chowdhury

Summary...
New Brunswick has been facing demographic issues caused by an aging population, low birth rates, and traditionally high outmigration among youth. In the 2016 Census, New Brunswick reported a 0.5% decline in population growth between 2011 and 2016. Later, the annual demographic estimate suggests a small readjustment of the census number and report a barely positive population growth in NB while Canada maintained a 5.9% increase at the same time. There is a provincial immigrant recruitment policy to address these challenges which is reflected in the recent influx of immigrants in the province. However, due to internal migration of immigrants, this may not be enough to ensure population growth or improved labour market scenarios.   

This study will explore the short- and long-term retention rate of immigrants who arrived under the provincial nominee program and other categories.  Additionally, this project will examine how having job training or various job-related programs are helping the integration and retention of immigrants. The use of such a province specific administrative linked database will enhance our understanding of the factors influencing the integration of different groups of immigrants in NB. 

Frailty in Community‐Dwelling Older adults and associations with Admission to Long‐Term Care
Project Number: P0046

Principal Investigator: Sandra Magalhaes

Summary...
New Project, description coming soon!

Retention of New Brunswick Students
Project Number: P0049

Principal Investigator: Philip Leonard

Summary...
This project seeks to examine New Brunswick’s retention of post-secondary education (PSE) students as well as students graduating from high school who do not attend PSE. The department of Post-Secondary Education Training and Labour (PETL) has prioritized this research to measure the return on investment in PSE. An important element of measuring retention is measuring how many students educated in New Brunswick remain after graduating. 

Research to understand associations between breast screening participation and tumour characteristics at time of diagnosis
Project Number: P0011

Principal Investigator: Dan Crouse

Year Approved: 2017

Summary...
The effectiveness of breast cancer screening as a tool for preventing death due to breast cancer has been widely researched. However, the relationship between breast cancer screening and the type and extent of the disease at diagnosis has been less explored. This project examines changes in breast cancer screening patterns based on geographic socio-demographic differences, the impact of using different screening methods and how being screened or not may relate to differences in tumor characteristics. 

Hours of instruction for K-2 students
Project Number: P0035

Principal Investigator: Philip Leonard

Year Approved: 2019

Summary...
This project will assess the impact of increased school hours at the K-2 level in 17 selected schools (10 English and 7 French) in New Brunswick from 2018 to 2020. Analysis of 10 English Schools will be conducted by NB-IRDT and the Centre de recherche et de développement en éducation (CRDE) at the Université de Moncton for the 7 French language schools. The intent is to evaluate the effect of increasing school hours on educational outcomes and student wellness.

Feasibility of institutional health data for modelling travel demands for health care by rural older adults in New Brunswick
Project Number: P0036

Principal Investigator: Trevor Hanson

Year Approved: 2019

Summary...
Rural areas face unique challenges as patients need to travel longer distances and may require various modes of transportation to satisfy healthcare needs. Increasing centralization of health care services is anticipated to result in an increase in travel demand for older adults (65+) who live in rural areas. Additionally, older patients may not be able to meet their travel needs independently, requiring them to rely on others, such as family or friends. The impacts individual health care needs have placed on transportation demand have not been researched. Volunteer Driver Programs (VDP) in rural New Brunswick have been able to aid in narrowing existing travel supply gaps; however, with an aging population this might not be a sustainable solution.  

Mobility and retention of labour market training program participants
Project Number: P0038

Principal Investigator: Philip Leonard

Year Approved: 2019

Summary...
In New Brunswick, the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labor oversees a variety of training and skills development programs which aim to help individuals acquire the skills they need to get and keep jobs. This research is designed to assess the percentage of trainees who stay in the province to work in their trade, the percentage of trainees who move out of province, characteristics of the differences between groups, and to a lesser extent mobility within the province. 

NB-CHIP validation and COPD / asthma case-identification pilot study
Project Number: P0040

Principal Investigator: Ted McDonald

Year Approved: 2019

Summary...
Depending on the source, estimates of the number of individuals in the province suffering with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) can vary widely as different methods are used to reach these estimates. In an effort to better understand the extent of COPD in the province, NB-IRDT, Regional Health Authorities Horizon and Vitalité, and the Government of New Brunswick’s Department of Health collaborated to develop the New Brunswick COPD Health Information Platform (NB-CHIP) which contains spirometry lab data from around the province.  This data will allow researchers to develop an understanding of spirometry testing and do a comparison between the numbers reported in NB-CHIP against the self-reported and administrative data records. This study will also review accessibility and equity in treatment in New Brunswick.  

Retention of scholarship winning graduate students at NB universities: do they stay and work in NB after they graduate?
Project Number: P0045

Principal Investigator: Laura Richard

Year Approved: 2020

Summary...
Since 2014, the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) has been offering graduate scholarships for Masters and Doctorate students to study at NB’s universities. Approximately 1M$ in scholarships are disbursed per year, supporting approximately 200 students. In an effort to determine the impact of these scholarships on the province, this project examines the retention of scholarship recipients from out of province and out of country after they graduate, and if the students then go to work in innovation related sectors, e.g. research and development. To ensure the continuation of this scholarship program, it is vital to measure the number of students given scholarships who stay in the province to work after graduation.

Regionalization of surgical procedures in New Brunswick
Project Number: P0001

Principal Investigator: Ted McDonald

Year Approved: 2014
Year Completed: 2019

Summary...
MSSU researchers from three Maritime provinces compared the distribution and organization of treatments for total hip and knee arthroplasty and cardiac surgical procedures across different regions of the province;evaluated how patient outcomes vary within and across jurisdictions and as a function of travel times to the hospital; and evaluated how cost and performance measures vary across hospitals offering these services within the province. 

Putting geographic variation in surgical procedures on the map: Geographic variation in coronary artery bypass and hip and knee replacement surgeries in the Maritime provinces

ALS in New Brunswick
Project Number: P0002

Principal Investigator: Colleen O'Connell

Year Approved: 2015

Summary...
The Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation follows approximately 60 people with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) at a time. This project investigates the population of ALS patients, including patterns of incidence and prevalence, with particular focus on apparent clusters of ALS patients. The hypothesis is that the investigation will lead to the discovery of clusters of ALS in New Brunswick, contributing to our understanding and prediction of ALS. 

Mental health-related hospitalizations by youth in New Brunswick
Project Number: P0003

Principal Investigator: Scott Ronis

Year Approved: 2015

Summary...
Rates of mental health-related hospital admissions among youth in New Brunswick have risen to almost double the national average. This could be attributed a lack of primary health care and community-based mental health services, which have implications for service continuity and early diagnosis of mental health issues among children and youth who are at-risk of developing chronic mental health problems in adulthood.

This project contributes to health policy development in New Brunswick by addressing the lack of information known about the increasing number of youth admitted to hospital for mental health-related issues.

The cost per case of cancer in New Brunswick
Project Number: P0004

Principal Investigator: Ted McDonald

Year Approved: 2016
Year Completed: 2019

Summary...
Recent legislation changes granted presumptive workers compensation coverage to New Brunswick firefighters who develop cancer. Since premiums are set on a cost-recovery basis, fund solvency requires that stakeholders have information on the typical cost associated with each type of cancer covered.

This project fills this information gap by estimating the cost per case of these cancers using New Brunswick patient level cost data. The cost estimates will be used to develop an estimate of the future cost to the workers’ compensation system.

Impacts of doctors' experience on surgical outcomes
Project Number: P0005

Principal Investigator: Philip Leonard

Year Approved: 2015
Year Completed: 2020

Summary...
One of the justifications for closing smaller local hospital facilities in rural New Brunswick in favour of larger regional hospitals is that the quality of surgical outcomes may improve as doctors at larger hospitals perform higher volumes of a given surgery, thus becoming more experienced.

This study examines how patient outcomes vary with surgeon experience level. Is it the overall amount of experience (the total volume of total surgeries conducted) or the number of performances of a specific type of surgery that matters more for patient outcomes? Does the experience level of other doctors working at the same hospital have any impact?

The impact of rural hospital closures on access to hospital services and health outcomes in New Brunswick
Project Number: P0006

Principal Investigator: Dan Crouse

Year Approved: 2016

Summary...
Proximity to health-care services has decreased over the past decade for some New Brunswick residents due to the closing or repurposing of 10 hospitals.The goal of this project is to evaluate the impact of rural hospital closures and their affect on residents in terms of access to care, emergency room wait times, distance to hospital and any relation to readmission, duration of stay and mortality. 

Population dynamics for small areas and rural communities
Project Number: P0007

Principal Investigator: Paul Peters

Year Approved: 2016

Summary...
Governments and other organizations make decisions that affect the future of small communities, including decisions about where, when, and whether to build or close schools, hospitals, shops, and small businesses. The importance of community-level decision making is particularly acute in sparsely populated and rural areas, where distance between settlements makes it difficult to share resources and the consequences of poor planning decisions are more likely to be economically and socially disruptive.

This project uses a small-area, probabilistic approach to population modelling to assist planners and policy makers and to underpin theories about human settlements in small communities of New Brunswick.

Population Snapshot 2017
Small Area Population Forecasts 2017
Small Area Cohort Component Model 2018
Small Area Simplified Model 2018

Sample validation for emerging zoonotic infections in New Brunswick
Project Number: P0008

Principal Investigator: Duncan Webster

Year Approved: 2016

Summary...
The majority of emerging human infectious diseases are illnesses in animals that can be transmitted to humans. The most familiar of these illnesses to Canadians are the West Nile virus and Lyme disease.

This research will produce estimates of the prevalence of a select number of emerging zoonotic pathogens through an anonymized provincial serosurvey, using residual blood samples submitted for diagnostic tests as part of routine health checkups. In order to determine whether these samples are representative of the population, the findings were compared to patient-level data at NB-IRDT. This research will inform public health policymaking in future.

No report anticipated

Cost and benefit of the ACCESS Open Minds NB project
Project Number: P0009

Principal Investigator: Jimmy Bourque

Year Approved: 2018

Summary...
The goal of this project is to evaluate the economic burden of mental health disorders among New Brunswickers aged 11 to 25 years old. This project examines costs associated with hospitalizations and visits to physicians, estimates the prevalence of young people hospitalized, determines the duration of each hospitalization over 15 years, estimates suicidality, and analyzes the prevalence of mental health disorders.

The impact of socioeconomic and geographic factors on long-term outcomes after cardiac catheterization
Project Number: P0010

Principal Investigator: Ansar Hassan

Year Approved: 2017

Summary...
Studies have demonstrated the deleterious effect of geographic distance (i.e., having a remote geographic place of residence) on access to cardiac care across Canada. This project examines the impact of distance on longer-term outcomes of catheterization, such as repeat cardiac procedure, cardiac readmission, and survival. 

The evaluation of interventions implemented in primary health care for persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders
Project Number: P0012

Principal Investigator: Sarah Pakzad

Year Approved: 2018

Summary...
This project examines the effect of interventions on the evolution of Alzheimer’s disease or related disorders in people aged 65 or older. Its objective is to understand, refine, improve, and facilitate dissemination and scale-up of successful and sustainable collaborative care models.

This project evaluates innovative care models on primary care dementia in terms of continuity of care, quality of follow-up, detection, diagnosis, and access to specialists. It also examines what policies and procedures are in place, what types of health professionals are employed, and what patient population is being served.

Small area rate variation of hospitalisation in New Brunswick
Project Number: P0013

Principal Investigator: Paul Peters

Year Approved: 2017
Year Completed: 2020

Summary...
This project measures and models how rates of chronic disease vary with population shifts at the local level. These small-area rate variations and projection scenarios are essential to inform New Brunswick health policy and research. 

Creation of a comprehensive health profile of children in New Brunswick & Prince Edward Island and development of intra-provincial population-based birth cohorts
Project Number: P0014

Principal Investigator: Carole Tranchant

Year Approved: 2017
Year Completed: 2020

Summary...
The Maritime Provinces experience a higher prevalence of obesity and chronic diseases than other Canadian provinces. Early interventions in expectant families and families with young children are a promising approach to promoting health and preventing or delaying the development of chronic disease.

However, evidence is often insufficient to assess the effectiveness of early years’ interventions. New Brunswick and P.E.I. have started to collect more data on infants, young children, and women in the perinatal period. This project uses these datasets to produce comprehensive provincial-level health profiles of young children and longitudinal projects with a focus on reducing obesity and chronic disease. 

Trauma-related mortality rates for New Brunswick
Project Number: P0015

Principal Investigator: James French

Year Approved: 2018

Summary...
Injury-related deaths have a significant impact in New Brunswick. In 2010, injuries resulted in 6,000+ hospitalizations and 76,000+ emergency room visits, with 420 deaths resulting from traumatic injuries. Estimates of the total cost of injury are upwards of $690 million annually. Evidence-based injury prevention is one key strategy to mitigating some of these impacts, and this report takes advantage of the opportunity to better define and understand trauma mortality in New Brunswick.
 
This study is the basis for a program of trauma mortality research that will expand to include patient characteristics and eventually build predictive models of survival for trauma patients in the province. It draws on administrative data and data from the largest single injury register in New Brunswick – the NB Trauma Registry (NBTR) – to characterize trauma injury and mortality burden in New Brunswick. Its first step is to create a basic description of the number of trauma-related deaths recorded in each dataset; to determine more precise estimates of crude and direct age-sex standardized mortality rates; and, to understand the possible undercount of mortality in the NBTR. The study also considers where in patients’ care deaths are occurring – pre-hospital, in hospital, or post-hospital (and how long after discharge).

Immigrant and refugee arrival and resettlement
Project Number: P0016

Principal Investigator: Ted McDonald

Year Approved: 2017
Year Completed: 2019

Summary...
New Brunswick has sought to attract immigrants as part of a broader strategy aimed at increasing the province’s working-age population. The provincial government has also invested significant resources in ensuring refugees choose to remain here.

An important determinant of the success of this strategy is that refugees generate economic activity greater than the economic costs of hosting them, one such main cost being the provision of health care.

This project uses administrative data to study immigrant and refugee outcomes that are of great interest to the Province of New Brunswick: particularly retention and health service use.

Access to comprehensive care for diabetes prevention and control
Project Number: P0018

Principal Investigator: Neeru Gupta

Year Approved: 2017

Summary...
The prevalence of diabetes mellitus has increased rapidly in New Brunswick in the last 15 years. This project profiles the correlates and gaps in access to comprehensive care for the prevention and management of diabetes and its common comorbidities, including conditions for which there is emerging evidence of shared risks and vulnerabilities across the life span. The research taps into the rich information available uniquely through linked population-based data sets of demographic, clinical and geospatial socioeconomic indicators to help inform policy and programs leading to healthy populations, sustainable health system investments and better patient care experiences.

Journal - Neighbourhood environments and the risk of hospital admission for cardiometabolic and mental health comorbidities in multiple sclerosis (2019)

Outcomes in older adults with isolated hip fractures: a descriptive epidemiological study across regional hospitals in New Brunswick
Project Number: P0019

Principal Investigator: Pamela Jarrett

Year Approved: 2017

Summary...
Trauma registry data indicates that fall-related hospitalizations occur between 70% to 85% of New Brunswick seniors. This project will study hip fractures as a common issue with significant impact on health-care costs, home-care strategies, and trauma care.

This study examines which factors are predictive of better outcomes, and identifies variations in length of stay, where patients were discharged to, patient mortality, and access to services in communities for those with limited mobility.

The role of environmental air pollution in Multiple Sclerosis risk and hospitalization: A study using administrative data from New Brunswick
Project Number: P0022

Principal Investigator: Sandra Magalhaes

Year Approved: 2018

Summary...
This research project studies the distribution of multiple sclerosis (MS) in NB and examines the link between environmental air pollution and MS risk and health care utilization.

Incidence of non-traumatic spinal cord injury in New Brunswick
Project Number: P0023

Principal Investigator: Ted McDonald

Year Approved: 2018

Summary...
As populations age, there is a corresponding rise in incidence of non-traumatic spinal cord injury, resulting in loss of muscle function and sensation. Since approximately 16% of New Brunswick residents are age 65 or older, the correlation between age and non-traumatic spinal cord disorders has particular relevance for New Brunswick.
 
Using administrative health data, Phase 1 of this study aims to create a profile of incidence and discharge disposition among individuals with non-traumatic spinal cord disorders in New Brunswick. In collaboration with Stan Cassidy Center for Rehabilitation, Phase II of the study will involve using the algorithm’s output to compare results from chart reviews that identify patients with a non-traumatic spinal cord disorder.

Trends in the primary care management and health service use of the dementia population in New Brunswick
Project Number: P0026

Principal Investigator: Pamela Jarrett

Year Approved: 2019

Summary...
Without access to dementia diagnosis, treatment, and continuity of care, those with dementia are more likely to have fragmented care resulting in inefficient and costly health care use, including increased emergency visits, hospital admissions and nursing home care. There is a paucity of research examining trends in primary care and health services for patients with dementia. Thus, the present study examines population-level trends in the quality of care and health service use for newly diagnosed persons with dementia in the last 15 years in New Brunswick.
 
Data on quality of care and health service use will be collected for one year following the index date of diagnosis of dementia for each study subject and will be analyzed to identify population-level change in quality of care and health care utilization over time.

Comprehensive assessment of a peer-led exercise program for older adults in NB
Project Number: P0027

Principal Investigator: Danielle Bouchard

Year Approved: 2019

Summary...
Many older adults consider the ability to carry out daily activities a high priority, and regular physical activity is the foundation to maintaining this ability. To help older adults achieve these goals, many non-profit and for-profit exercise programs are offered in communities across Canada. Recreation New Brunswick has evaluated 10% of these exercise programs, but the vast majority of older adults in NB participate in exercise programs for which the efficacy is unknown.

Given Recreation NB’s findings that peer-led exercise programs are successful, the NB-IRDT portion or this study will use administrative data to evaluate the existing outcomes collected after participating in a peer-led exercise program, and compare the available outcomes with a control group.

Immigrant retention in New Brunswick
Project Number: P0032

Principal Investigator: Philip Leonard

Year Approved: 2018

Summary...
Of the Canadian provinces, New Brunswick has been identified as having the lowest rate of immigrant retention. The proposed study will identify some of the factors influencing retention rates in the province including immigrants whose intended province for landing is New Brunswick, but who do not actually arrive. 
 
This project examines which stream of immigrants have a higher probability of remaining in the province, what characteristics the majority of leavers possess and if these characteristics can be regarded as causal and if the Atlantic Immigration Pilot program has higher retention figures compared to other immigration programs. 

Immigrant retention in New Brunswick (Colour)
Immigrant retention in New Brunswick (Greyscale)

Rural public facility closure and its impact on migration
Project Number: P0033

Principal Investigator: Philip Leonard

Year Approved: 2018

Summary...
New Brunswick is the only province in Canada that recently experienced population decline. Moreover, intra-provincial migration patterns show a trend towards urbanization. The decreasing rural population in New Brunswick raises some questions: Should policymakers try to reverse this pattern? Does closing a public facility in rural areas accelerate depopulation? If so, should government keep these facilities open to either reverse or prevent rural outmigration?

This project investigates the link between public assets and population retention in rural New Brunswick and to find out whether closing public facilities including hospitals, schools, and libraries has any effect on migration patterns in rural areas in the province.

Participation and retention in the breast cancer screening program in New Brunswick Canada
Project Number: IM0000

Principal Investigator: Ted McDonald

Summary...
New Brunswick (NB) Canada uses its breast cancer screening service program to assess the extent to which eligible NB women are complying with mammography guidelines. While many studies have investigated factors associated with participation in periodic breast cancer screening in Canada and elsewhere, most work has relied on self-reported surveys or smaller scale primary data collection.

Participation and retention in the breast cancer screening program in New Brunswick Canada