Congratulations to the winners of the 2021 BRIC NS Student Research Award!

BRIC NS is pleased to announce the winners of its annual Student Research Award. The award provides financial support to graduate students undertaking a health-related research project related to BRIC NS priorities. Winning applications demonstrate their relevance to, and potential impact on, primary and integrated health care. Applications are also assessed on patient engagement and knowledge translation plans, feasibility and overall quality. Thank you to all of our applicants and reviewers.

This year’s recipients will be recognized at a virtual reception. Winners will present during the 2021-22 Student Seminar Series. Read on to learn more about this year’s recipients.

Rosanne Burke

Master of Arts in Family Studies and Gerontology, Mount Saint Vincent University

Project: How Do Interrelationships Impact Home Care Service Delivery and Client Satisfaction?

What is one thing you would like people to know about your research?

Caring for aging adults who often live with multiple health conditions requires a comprehensive team of individuals from both the formal sector of home care services and family (Goodwin et al., 2014). With this in mind, my research will examine how home care services are affected by interrelationships of people coming together to care for the older adult and will include how these relationships may have been impacted in the context of the pandemic.

Hailey Burns

Master’s of Science, Psychiatry (Research), Dalhousie University

Project: Attention bias and social skills in youth with anxiety disorders

What is one thing you would like people to know about your research?

My research focuses on the relationship between negative attention bias in anxious and healthy youth in various social situations, including photos, videos, and social media. This innovative project blends the study of cognitive behaviour and emotional well-being with modern eye-tracking software to potentially identify new targets, such as altering a negative attention bias, to help guide the development of therapeutic techniques for those living with anxiety. Nova Scotia has previously reported having one of the highest rates of using healthcare services for anxiety in Canada, thus it is essential to advance treatment options to help individuals conquer their anxiety. As we are currently practicing social distancing due to COVID-19, it is imperative to see the impact of social media on mental wellbeing as the prevalence of online methods of communication are increasing. 

Chiara Gottheil

Master’s of Science, Community Health and Epidemiology, Dalhousie Unversity

Project: Understanding diagnostic pathways for women diagnosed with ovarian cancer: a mixed methods study

What is one thing you would like people to know about your research?

Ovarian cancer is notoriously difficult to diagnose.  Many cases are diagnosed at a late stage, resulting in a high mortality rate.  This demonstrates the importance of an efficient system for identifying ovarian cancer.  Factors such as long wait times and difficulty accessing healthcare can contribute to the delay in diagnosis.  I am hoping that my research will lead to the development of new tools for primary care providers so that ovarian cancer can be diagnosed at an earlier stage.  

Additionally, I believe that patient-oriented research should include the patient perspective.  Therefore, my project includes interviews with ovarian cancer patients and their healthcare providers so that we can learn about the barriers to diagnosis they have experienced, with the goal of learning how patients can be better supported during the process. 

It is my hope that this research helps contribute to a system where no one goes undiagnosed due to issues of access and quality of care. 

Brannon Senger

Master’s of Science, Psychology (Clinical), Dalhousie University

Project: Evaluating a peer support intervention for youth transitioning from early psychosis services to primary care

What is one thing you would like people to know about your research?

Mental illnesses are no different from physical illnesses, like cancer, in that earlier intervention often results in better outcomes. This is especially true in areas of severe mental illness like psychotic disorders which historically have been associated with a great deal of stigma and “therapeutic nihilism”.  Those experiencing psychosis, who receive early intervention services, tend to have better outcomes than those who don’t.  Nonetheless, those transitioning out of specialized psychiatric services, and into primary care, are at risk for relapse.  For this reason, better collaboration between these two systems can help to transition youth and provide primary care physicians with the appropriate context to best support their patients.

Emily Wildeboer

PhD, Clinical Psychology, Dalhousie University

Project: The Relationship Between Chronic Pain, Depression and Suicidality in Adolescents

What is one thing you would like people to know about your research?

My research focuses on the complex relationship between mental health and suicide in adolescents with chronic pain. Chronic pain and suicide in adolescents are important topics in the area of health research, and both are significantly impacted by psychosocial concerns, such as social isolation, and poor mental health, such as depression. We know a lot about how these concerns interact with chronic pain on its own, and how they contribute to suicidality on its own, but we don’t know a lot about suicidality within the adolescent chronic pain population, and that’s what my research aims to explore. My research is important because understanding more about factors that influence suicidality in these adolescents can allow health researchers to implement early intervention strategies that are targeted at not only managing pain, but also at managing the associated psychosocial concerns that could contribute to suicidality.