Primary Health Care Learning Series

Innovation and Integration in Practice at Nova Scotia Health: An integrated care model for patients experiencing persistent post-COVID symptoms and the role of embedded research, improvement, and patient engagement

Date: December 8, 2021 | 12:00 – 1:15 pm AST

This event is free and open to everyone. You must register in advance:

Information about joining the Zoom Webinar will be sent after registering. If you need assistance registering, please contact

Presentation 1: Integrated Post-COVID Care Delivery

About the speakers:

Ashley Harnish is a Health Services Manager in Primary Health Care at Nova Scotia Health. In her portfolio, Ashley supports a range of programs and services within primary health care and is most excited to speak to you today about the Integrated Chronic Care Service.

Krista Blaikie Hughes is a Patient Family Advisor with the Post-Covid Care steering committee. Krista brings her perspective and lived-experience to the committee’s activities having tested positive for COVID-19 during Nova Scotia’s third wave. She spent 19 days in hospital on the Covid Unit and in ICU. She is currently in the Long Covid phase of her recovery. A graduate of Acadia University and Mount Saint Vincent University, Krista is office manager for a Dartmouth-based marine engineering consulting firm, ABL Canada, responsible for finance and HR, HSEQ and marketing. Prior to joining ABL, Krista worked in communication management roles in a variety of industry sectors including law enforcement, wholesale food distribution, economic development, residential construction and electrical utility. 

Presentation 2: The Role of Embedded Research, Innovation and Discovery

About the speakers:

Dr. Tara Sampalli is the Senior Scientific Director in the Research, Innovation and Discovery portfolio at Nova Scotia Health.  Dr. Sampalli obtained her engineering degree from Bangalore University, followed by Masters of Applied Science from Dalhousie University. She obtained her PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies specializing in Health Informatics from Dalhousie University. Tara is the lead for the Implementation Science Team in Research, Innovation & Discovery. Working with key partners in Nova Scotia Health and the province, she is also involved in leading the development of a learning health system strategy. Tara and the implementation team routinely engage in supporting key policy, planning and practice improvement decisions through rapid reviews, implementation science initiatives and rapid evaluation. Her research interests include chronic disease management and multimorbidities, patient engagement, integrated models of care, and knowledge management.

Dr. Caroline King is a biostatistics consultant with the Research Methods Unit at Nova Scotia Health. The Research Methods Unit provides expert advice on all stages of the research process including study design and protocol development, statistical analyses and interpretation of results. She has a PhD in Epidemiology from McGill University where she specialized in health policy impact evaluation. Her primary interests is in using real world data and causal inference methods to rigorously assess the impact of health system changes on patient-centered outcomes. She particularly enjoys collaborating with large teams and helping them combine quantitative methods from epidemiology, economics and machine learning to achieve their research goals.

Swarnima Gambhir and Robert Laureijs are project coordinators working closely with Dr. Sampalli as part of the Implementation Science Team in Research, Innovation and Discovery, Nova Scotia Health.

Implementation findings from the PriCARE Program: A nurse-led case management approach in Primary Health Clinics in Nova Scotia

BRIC NS and the Centre for Transformative Nursing and Health Research (CTHNR) are pleased to present a co-sponsored session of the Wednesdays @ Noon seminar series. Join us to learn about the PriCARE Program and real-world examples of patient partnership in action! All welcome.


November 17, 2021 | 12:00 – 1:00 pm
Zoom link:
Zoom Meeting ID: 829 1295 1088 Passcode : 755506


DR. FRED BURGE, Principal Investigator (Nova Scotia)
DR. MARILYN MACDONALD, co-Investigator
JUDY PORTER, Patient Partner

BRIC NS Student Seminar Series

The BRIC NS Student Seminar Series is an opportunity for students across Nova Scotia to share their completed or in-progress research. Presentations cover a wide variety of disciplines, but all address the common thread of primary and integrated healthcare. Everyone is welcome!


Date: November 10, 2021
Time:12:00-1:15 pm AST
To register:

After registering you will receive an email with details about joining the Zoom session.

This seminar will cover two topics:

Cassidy Bradley will present: Treatment regret, mental and physical health indicators of psychosocial well-being among prostate cancer survivors

Rachel Ollivier will present: Exploring Postpartum Sexual Health in Nova Scotia Using Feminist Poststructuralism

About the speakers:

Cassidy Bradley is a 2nd year MSc student at Dalhousie, studying Epidemiology and Applied Health Research. Her supervisor is Dr. Gabriela Ilie. Cassidy’s primary research interests include chronic disease management, quality of life, health equity and mental health. For her thesis she is studying the role of treatment regret, mental and physical health, as well as prostate cancer physical side effects to the quality of life (emotional, social, functional, and spiritual well-being) of survivors.

Rachel Ollivier is a PhD Candidate and Vanier Scholar at the Dalhousie University School of Nursing. She is also a practicing Registered Nurse at the IWK Health Centre. Her areas of research interest include maternal health, women’s health, and global health. Within nursing, Rachel’s experience spans education, teaching, research, and clinical practice.

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.

Primary Health Care Learning Series

Join us to learn about research and quality assurance projects being conducted by the primary and integrated health care community

Date: August 18, 2021 | 12:00 – 1:15 pm ADT

This event is free and open to everyone. You must register in advance:

Information about joining the Zoom webinar will be sent after registration.

Primary Health Care Access, Attachment & Innovations in Nova Scotia Before & During the Pandemic

About the speakers:

Emily Gard Marshall

Dr. Emily Gard Marshall is an Associate Professor in the Dalhousie Department of Family Medicine Primary Care Research Unit. Her mixed methods research examines primary healthcare from patient, provider, and system perspectives to address the quadruple aim. Foci include access, continuity, and comprehensiveness to improve equity and optimize outcomes across the life course, involving population data and vulnerable populations. She was the 2020 recipient of the NAPCRG Mid-Career Researcher Award, and leads multiple pan-Canadian research studies including the CIHR COVID-19 Rapid Response-funded PUPPY-Study.

Mackenzie Cook

Mackenzie Cook is a medical student completing her Research in Medicine (RIM) project in the Department of Family Medicine at Dalhousie University. With the support of Dr. Emily Gard Marshall and her research team, Mackenzie is examining the perspectives of Nova Scotian primary care providers and policymakers on the use of incentives for providers to take on unattached patients from a centralized waiting list. She is eager to share the perspectives of stakeholders and use the knowledge they share to help improve primary health care. 

Helping Parents with Anxiety and Depression Symptoms During COVID-19: An iCBT Longitudinal Study

About the Speaker:

Teba Hamodat is a second year Clinical Psychology PhD student at Dalhousie University researching refugee parents with neurodevelopmental disorders’ access to healthcare. She is passionate about equitable access to health services for individuals who need it. She currently is completing a comprehensive project with Co-Principal Investigator Dr. Alissa Pencer on a project assessing depression and anxiety symptom change for parents using Tranquility Online, an online CBT platform during COVID-19. Parents can go through the program completely self-directed or with minimal or full coaching. The research team is interested in examining the differential impact of guidance level on parents’ symptomology.

The overall project is funded by CIHR and the NB Health Research Foundation.

Team members: Co-PIs: Dr. Janine Olthuis (UNB) & Dr. Alissa Pencer (Dalhousie University & Tranquility)
Principal Knowledge User: Dr. Lori Wozney (NSHA)
Co-Investigators: Dr. Amanda Hudson (Health PEI), Dr. Sam Stewart (Dalhousie University), & Dr. Jennifer Richards (IWK)

BRIC NS Student Seminar Series

The BRIC NS Student Seminar Series is an opportunity for students across Nova Scotia to share their completed or in-progress research. Presentations cover a wide variety of disciplines, but all address the common thread of primary and integrated healthcare. Everyone is welcome!

Date: July 21, 2021
Time: 12:30 – 1:45 pm ADT
To Register:
After registering you will receive an email with details about joining the Zoom session.

This seminar will cover two topics:

  • Anders Lenskjold will present: Overtesting Behaviour in Primary Care in Nova Scotia Based on Data Mining
  • Jake Domm will present: Application of a community-based intervention to reduce impairment-related motor vehicle collisions: strategy and ethical considerations

About the Speakers:

Anders Lenskjold is a Danish trained physician with clinical experience in primary care, orthopedic surgery, trauma, and rural medicine in Denmark and Norway. Master of Science in Medicine from the University of Copenhagen and Master in Health Informatics (in progress) from Dalhousie University. Research associate at the Department of Family Medicine at Dalhousie University. Ph.D. student in Radiology and AI bridging the workflow between primary care and radiology with planned official enrolment at the University of Copenhagen later this summer.

Jake Domm is a Dalhousie medical student, born and raised in Cow Bay, Nova Scotia. He completed his MSc. at University of Guelph in gene therapy and is an avid podcast host for CanadiEM. His research interests have morphed over time, from gene-editing solutions for rare diseases, to community-based interventions for preventative medicine. Otherwise, Jake enjoys crossfitting with his wife and hiking with their dog.

Primary Health Care Learning Series

Join us to learn about research and quality assurance projects being conducted by the primary and integrated health care community

Date: June 16, from 12:30 – 1:45 pm ADT

This event is free and open to everyone. You must register in advance:
Information about joining the Zoom webinar will be sent after registration.

Topic: Innovative navigation programs to help individuals and families affected by life-limiting chronic illnesses navigate end-of-life: a realist evaluation

About the presenters:

Dr. Robin Urquhart is an Associate Professor and the Canadian Cancer Society (Nova Scotia Division) Endowed Chair in Population Cancer Research in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University. She is also a Senior Scientist with the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute and an Affiliate Scientist at Nova Scotia Health. Her research interests include access to and quality of care, improving patient and family outcomes and experiences, and how we can more effectively move research evidence into clinical practice and healthcare policy.

Cynthia Kendall is a Project Coordinator at the Cancer Outcomes Research Program in the Department of Surgery at Nova Scotia Health. In this role, she supports research in a number of areas, including: cancer care, frailty, end-of-life care, and implementation science. Cynthia is also a PhD Candidate in the Interdisciplinary PhD Program at Dalhousie University. Her thesis research is focused on examining the factors affecting access to administrative health data for research in Canada.

Call for applications – NPA Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations Network

Funded in 2014, the Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations Network (PIHCIN) is a pan-Canadian “network of networks” that was created to support patient-oriented, evidence-informed transformation and delivery of more cost-effective primary and integrated health care to improve patient experience and health, health equity and health system outcomes for individuals with, and at risk of developing, complex health needs. BRIC NS is one of 11 provincial/territorial PIHCI networks.

The PIHCIN is preparing to apply for renewed funding for a five-year term and is looking for a Nominated Principal Applicant (NPA) to lead this process and guide the network once is it funded.

Read the full call for applications.

A French version of the call for applications is available here.

Questions about this position may be sent to:

Dr. Fred Burge featured on Doctors Nova Scotia Website

BRIC NS Science Lead Dr. Fred Burge is featured on Doctors Nova Scotia’s “Your Doctors,” highlighting primary palliative care and the importance of the relationship between family doctors and patients.

“The shared experiences of illness between patients and family physicians over the years set them up for ideal primary palliative care when life’s end is approaching” – Dr. Fred Burge

Read the whole story here.

Recent funding – ACTing Collectively project

BRIC NS members recently received $99,308 in funding through the Nova Scotia Health Research Fund Competition. The ACTing Collectively research team is led by Principal Investigators Grace Warner and Tanya Packer. The ACTing Collectively research project will work collaboratively with health system and community partners to identify and work with two communities in Nova Scotia to identify how to sustainably implement community-level data collection and sharing to improve our understanding of common concerns and frequently used resources of aging adults and associated gaps in resources in community settings.

Using the evidence-based innovation Age Care Technology (ACTTM), the project will collect individual and community-level data about the needs of, and available resources for, aging adults living in community. Individual Action Plans will be provided to members of two participating municipality units to facilitate their ability to stay at home and live in place as long as they wish or are able to. Aggregated data will inform communities and municipalities of the needs and priorities of aging adults in their communities and form recommendations for policy and program initiatives.

BRIC NS is proud to support this work and its team of interdisciplinary researchers, knowledge users, community and patient partners.


Title: ACTing collectively to map and address the needs of community-living older adults in Nova Scotia
Principal Investigators: Grace Warner and Tanya Packer
Amount: $99,308
Funding Source: Nova Scotia Health Research Fund Competition