Research Nova Scotia is pleased to announce more than $2 million in funding for 21 research projects at eight Nova Scotia universities and healthcare centers through its New Health Investigator Grant.

The New Health Investigator Grant supports early-career health researchers who are engaged in work that aligns with the province’s health research priorities.  The grant aims to provide two years of support of up to $100,000 for researchers who are within the first five years of their academic appointment in Nova Scotia or who are new to the field of health research. Funding provided will support the establishment of independent programs of research, support and expand the research productivity necessary for obtaining long term funding from national and external agencies and expand the potential for early career investigators to make significant contributions in their field.  For the 2020-21 academic year, funding for this grant is provided by the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness.


In Funding





New Health Investigator Grant Recipients

Dr. Britney Benoit
Assistant Professor, Rankin School of Nursing

Project: Provincial Implementation of the Baby-Friendly Initiative: A Collaborative, Theoretically Driven Study

Despite the benefits of breastfeeding, Nova Scotia has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in Canada. The Baby-Friendly Initiative (BFI) is an internationally recognized breastfeeding promotion program. Adoption of the BFI has been found to lead to increased breastfeeding initiation, exclusivity, and duration. However, its successful implementation is complex, requiring context-focused, theory-informed implementation research to support health services adoption, sustainability, and impact. Through her research, Dr. Britney Benoit and team hope to support the integrated and sustained implementation of the BFI in health organizations providing perinatal and infant care in Nova Scotia in order to optimize provincial breastfeeding outcomes. Completion of this study will hopefully result in evidence-informed implementation interventions to support the BFI that are tailored to diverse clinical and community care environments in Nova Scotia. This work will identify opportunities and strategies to optimize health and well-being of diverse Nova Scotian families through structures, processes, and practices that support breastfeeding.

Funding amount: $99,989

Team members: Dr. Christine Cassidy, Dr. Sara Kirk, Dr. Meaghan Sim, Michelle LeDrew, Dr. Gail Tomblin-Murphy, Dr. Annette Elliott Rose, Dr. Doris Gillis, Dr. Nathan Nickel, Sally Loring, Dr. Claire Betker, Kim Shebib, Trudy Reid, Lindsay Arseneau & Dr. Marsha Campbell-Yeo

Dr. Ryan Reid
Assistant Professor, Huamn Kinetics

Project: Using activity monitors to improve virtual care for individuals at risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease living in rural areas of Nova Scotia

Excess bodyweight and cardiovascular disease represent serious public health concerns in Nova Scotia. The second leading cause of death in Nova Scotia is cardiovascular disease, which disproportionally impacts individuals with excess bodyweight. Lifestyle behaviours (physical activity, sedentary behaviour, sleep) effect excess bodyweight and cardiovascular disease. Through his research, Dr. Ryan Reid and team plan to integrate objectively captured lifestyle behaviour data into in-person and virtual care. Activity monitor data will be processed through a digital health application developped by the research team and made available to primary care health professionals. Incorporating information from an activity monitor into primary care will guide conversations between primary care health professionals and patients, leading to more effective treatments for patients living with or at-risk of cardiovascular disease in primary care.

Funding amount: $78,813

Team members: Dr. James Hughes, Dr. Angela Kolen, Jeslyn MacDonald & Dr. Raza Abidi

Dr. Kara Thompson
Assistant Professor, Psychology

Project: Strengthening Alcohol Policies on Atlantic Canadian Campuses: Working Collaboratively to Reduce Alcohol-Related Harm Among Students

High rates of alcohol consumption is a significant issue among post-secondary students. Post-secondary institutions are challenged to develop, implement and enforce effective policies to minimize and mitigate this problem. Through her research, Dr. Kara Thompson and team intend to create knowledge that will inform future evidence-based alcohol policy development at post-secondary campuses in Atlantic Canada. To complete this project, her team will work with 12 Atlantic Canadian campuses to (1) To identify best practices/evidence for campus alcohol policy; (2) To develop a coding framework to measure quality of campus alcohol policies; (3) To evaluate the quality of current alcohol policies across Atlantic Canadian campuses against the most up-to-date evidence; and (4) To establish baseline associations between campus alcohol policies and student alcohol use and harm. The outcomes of this project will address a major risk factor for disease and injury, namely alcohol, among a high-risk population and will contribute to an improvement in population health among young adults by reducing the substantial health, social and economic costs associated with alcohol use.

Funding amount: $99,835

Team members: Dr. Sherry Stewart, Dr. Darren Krussilbrink, Dr. Mark Asbridge, Dr. Janine Olthuis, Dr. Tim Stockwell, Dr. Catherine Paradis, Dr. Robert Strang & Dr. Bryce Barker