NEWSLETTER | Spring 2020
In this issue:

COVID-19 Updates
  • MSSU COVID-19 Resource Guide**
  • Rapid literature review of end-of-life care during pandemics*
  • Nova Scotia COVID-19 Health Research Coalition announces funding recipients
  • National and international COVID-19 collaborations
  • Research consultations*

  • CANUE webinar highlights new environmental data at NB-IRDT**
  • New NB-IRDT website
  • Update on SPOR Phase II funding application

Engagement Opportunities
  • PRISM-CC Study
  • COVID-19 Interpersonal and Social Coping Study

Funding Opportunities
  • BRIC NS Student Awards

Upcoming Events and Training
  • Many exciting new webinars
  • Cancelled: BRIC NS Primary Health Care Research Day

Publications and Reports
  • Recent publications*

SPOR Community Updates
  • COVID-19 Resources for the Northwest Territories*
  • CHILD-BRIGHT COVID-19 Resources
  • HDRN Canada Resource for Multi-Jurisdictional COVID-19 Research*

MSSU Updates
  • New staff member and farewells

* Le contenu est aussi disponible en français.
** Un résumé de l’article est disponible en français.
COVID-19 Updates
MSSU COVID-19 Resource Guide
Our Evidence Synthesis Coordinator, Leah Boulos, has created a COVID-19 Resource Guide that provides researchers with links to various resources about COVID-19 including: public health websites and guidelines, evidence synthesis collections, research databases and maps, journal special collections, funded/ongoing research, Twitter feeds, search filters and more. Boulos regularly updates the document and has set up a Google form for visitors to suggest resources that could be included in the guide.

Rapid literature review looks at end-of-life care in the time of COVID-19
The MSSU team in Moncton has released a rapid literature review about palliative and end-of-life care during pandemics. The report summarizes recommendations and practices drawn from experiences providing end-of-life care during COVID-19 and other infectious disease outbreaks. The review was initiated by the MSSU team in Moncton to support Vitalité Health Network, a regional health authority that provides health care services to francophone communities in northern and southeastern New Brunswick.

Nova Scotia COVID-19 Health Research Coalition announces funding recipients
A collaborative partnership to develop a COVID-19 response strategy has formed among NSHA Research & Innovation (Nova Scotia Health Authority), Dalhousie University, Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation, the QEII Health Sciences Centre Foundation, the IWK Foundation, the IWK Health Centre, the Dartmouth General Hospital Foundation (DGHF) and Research Nova Scotia (RNS). Together, these partners committed $1.5 million to support the Nova Scotia research community. This research effort will inform the best COVID-19 practices and support healthcare decision making and planning that benefits the population of Nova Scotia. There was an overwhelming response with a total of 262 applications submitted from research teams across the province. Last week, the Coalition announced that a collective investment of over $1.5 million will be distributed to 40 recipients.

National and International COVID-19 Collaborations
CanCOVID | Learn more >
CanCOVID is a network designed to promote collaboration, coordination among researchers nationally and internationally, and communication between scientists, clinical collaborators, funding agencies, government policy makers, and healthcare practitioners.
COVID-END | Learn more >
The COVID-19 Evidence Network to support Decision-making (COVID-END) has come together to help those already supporting decision-making to find and use the best evidence that is already out there and to help reduce duplication in and better coordinate the evidence syntheses, technology assessment and guidelines being produced.
COVID-19 Resources Canada | Learn more >
COVID-19 Resources Canada is a central hub designed to help those involved in COVID-19 research and development in Canada to locate human resources, expertise, reagents, equipment and information in a timely manner.
Three women working together at a computer
Research consultations
Need help with patient-oriented COVID-19 research?  

Researchers are working quickly and under unprecedented pressures. The MSSU is here to help. If you’re doing COVID-19 research in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, or Prince Edward Island, we offer free research consultations.

Our staff have expertise in:

  • Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods
  • Project Management
  • Evidence Synthesis
  • Knowledge Translation and Communications
  • Patient and Public Engagement 
  • Privacy and Ethics
  • Administrative Health Data Access and Services

Looking for updates on MSSU activities related to COVID-19? 

CANUE webinar highlights new data at NB-IRDT
On March 27, 2020, the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium (CANUE) hosted a webinar about the connections between CANUE and three provincial data centres in New Brunswick, British Columbia, and Manitoba. Dr. Ted McDonald, Director of the New Brunswick Institute of Research, Data and Training (NB-IRDT), presented as a part of a joint session highlighting new data available at the three sites, as well as national efforts to coordinate across jurisdictions through the SPOR Canadian Data Platform.

New NB-IRDT website
The NB-IRDT has launched a website! Visit the NB-IRDT website to learn about data holdings and access, current and past projects, and the latest news and events. Stay tuned for more great content in the coming weeks, as the team continues to build on this new resource.

Update on SPOR Phase II funding application
In our last newsletter, we shared an update about our progress on the SPOR Phase II funding application, particularly the stakeholder engagement sessions held earlier this year in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Ottawa. The feedback that we received from our local and regional stakeholders, as well as our discussions with other SPOR SUPPORT Units and SPOR-funded entities, was crucial for developing our initial draft of the business case for Phase II.

The deadline for submitting our Phase II Business Case has been extended 11 weeks, until July 21. Despite the extension, we proceeded with the external review as planned in early May, and are now incorporating the feedback that we received from the external review.
SPOR SUPPORT Unit Phase II Funding Opportunity
Engagement Opportunities
Participate in the PRISM-CC Study
IC3RG Logo
Are you 18 years of age or older, English-speaking, and living with one or more chronic conditions (mental and/or physical)? 

Complete a short, anonymous and confidential online survey to share your experience with the Patient Reported Inventory of Self-Management of Chronic Conditions (PRISM-CC) Study. The survey will be open until December 31, 2020.

Your responses will help the International Chronic and Complex Conditions Research Group (IC3RG) to design a questionnaire to assess patients' ability to self-manage their chronic conditions. After completing the survey, you can enter to win one of four $100 Amazon gift cards.

This study is approved by the NSHA Research Ethics Board (#1025263).
Images of people smiling
COVID-19 Interpersonal & Social Coping Stud y
Researchers from Acadia and St. Francis Xavier Universities are seeking participants for an online study exploring how people are coping and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the specific challenges and sources of resilience being experienced by members of the LGBTQ+ community.
The study consists of two elements, and you may participate in one or both. The first part is a 30-40 minute online survey about your experiences, social connections, views of COVID-19, and how you are coping. When this survey is done, you’ll have the option to sign up for the second part, which consists of a daily diary study. Participant will get to keep a copy of their diary at the end of the study. 
There are draws open to study participants, with prizes including Amazon gift cards and a stay at Lake Louise Inn in Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada (voucher valid until 2022).

This study is approved by the Research Ethics Boards of Acadia University (REB 20-26) and St. Francis Xavier University (24636).

Learn more and sign-up:
Funding Opportunities
BRIC NS Student Awards
The BRIC NS Student Research Awards are open to graduate students in Nova Scotia studying any discipline and provide financial support for the completion of a research project that meets the priorities of Building Research for Integrated Primary Healthcare (BRIC NS), Nova Scotia’s SPOR Network in Primary and Integrated Health Care Innovations. The aim is to encourage future health researchers to consider primary and integrated health care research as part of their career path.

Deadline to apply: May 15, 2020 (11:59 pm AST)

Upcoming Events and Training
KT Canada Logo
Using knowledge translation science to disseminate and implement national movement behaviour guidelines
Dr. Jennifer Tomasone
Thursday, May 14, 2020, 1:00 pm 2:00 pm AT

Learning objectives
At the end of this presentation the audience will be able to:
  1. Describe the integrated knowledge translation approach for the dissemination and implementation of the upcoming Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Adults Aged 18-64 Years and 65+ Years,
  2. Describe how the Knowledge-to-Action Framework can be operationalized for national behaviour guideline dissemination and implementation efforts,
  3. Discuss challenges faced and how the process can be used by other guideline programs.

Speaker: Dr. Jennifer Tomasone, Assistant Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University.

To register, email Meghan Storey (

Watch Past KT Canada Seminars Online
Data access and privacy training

The MSSU provides regular data access privacy training for our staff and collaborators who are working with or intend to access administrative data through Health Data Nova Scotia (HDNS) and the New Brunswick Institute of Research, Data and Training (NB-IRDT). HDNS trainings are typically held on the last Wednesday of the month and NB-IRDT trainings are typically held on the last Tuesday of the month.

Upcoming sessions
For HDNS data users
  • May 27, 2020, 9:00 am - 10:00 am 
  • June 24, 2020, 9:00 am - 10:00 am 
For NB-IRDT data users
  • May 26, 2020, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
  • June 30, 2020, 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Online patient and public partner panel:
Pre-assessing needs for inclusive online engagement

May 13, 2020, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CT / 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm AT | *ONLINE*

What considerations need to be made before moving to online patient and public engagement?

Two of the Centre for Healthcare Innovation (CHI)’s patient and public partners—Angela Tessier and Magi Hadad—will discuss their perspectives and suggestions to ensure online engagement is as inclusive as possible. Learn what aspects are impacting access and skills for technology use, how to assess needs for safety and confidentiality in online engagement, and how to identify methods to improve cultural humility and awareness. This webinar is the first in a 3-part series. Registration is free.

Can’t make it? Submit your questions for our panelists to

Conducting health research during COVID-19:
Challenges and solutions for leadership and productivity

May 13, 2020, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm ET / 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm AT | *ONLINE*

Join the webinar for a discussion of the challenges faced by researchers, particularly early career principal investigators, conducting research in family, child and youth health during these unprecedented times. Topics include surviving and thriving when shifting from lab-based and clinical environments to working remotely, supporting and coaching trainees and staff, and creative and collaborative approaches to remaining productive. Panelists from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Human Development, Child and Youth Health (IHDCYH) community will share challenges and solutions from early career investigator, clinician-scientist, trainee, and leadership coach perspectives.

Register >  
Inside/Out: How COVID-19 is shifting our sense of places and spaces and what this means in a post-pandemic world

May 14, 2020, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm AT | *ONLINE*

During this unique time of COVID-19 and the necessary physical distancing directives to keep us safe, this panel asks: What has the lock down meant to Canadian communities and what will the future look like post-pandemic? The pandemic has forced us to examine our relationship with our home and work spaces as they become one, and to consider the impact for those experiencing precarious housing or employment, or with limited access to the outdoors. As we begin to ease restrictions, how do we ensure that we balance health and well-being and create spaces and places that work for everyone?

This panel offers perspectives on how the public can engage with built and natural environments, and how policy makers can create space for that engagement in post-pandemic life, in a way that is both equitable and limits our chances of another pandemic.

Register >  
Collaborative Health Research Week
June 1-5, 2020 | *ONLINE*
#AHEAD2020 #DiscoverTogether

Collaborative Health Research Week is a virtual health conference showcasing the work of learners engaged in health research. Participants will have the opportunity to celebrate collaboration and innovation in health research through five-minute thesis and poster presentations, as well as activities that help to inspire new discovery and continued research education. The event is being organized by researchers from Horizon Health Network, University of New Brunswick – Saint John, Dalhousie University Medical School – New Brunswick, and New Brunswick Community College.

Integrated Knowledge Translation (iKT) 101
June 3, 2020, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm CT / 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm AT | *ONLINE*

Integrated knowledge translation (iKT) is an approach to doing research that applies the principles of knowledge translation throughout the entire research process. The central premise of iKT is that partnerships between researchers and knowledge users will mitigate power differentials between researchers and community members and enhance the relevance, uptake, and ownership of the research. This webinar will feature University of Saskatchewan researchers Sarah Donkers (School of Rehabilitation Science) and Sarah Oosman (School of Rehabilitation Science), who lead iKT programs of research.

This webinar will discuss:

  • Who is a knowledge user?
  • What are the benefits of engaging knowledge users in research projects?
  • Where does Patient-Oriented Research fit into iKT?
  • What are some strategies for sustaining meaningful engagement of knowledge users throughout the research process?
  • How can researchers build meaningful relationships with knowledge users living in rural and remote communities?
  • How has iKT influenced research projects?

CANCELLED: BRIC NS Primary Health Care Research Day

Due to ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Primary Health Care Research Day will no longer take place on June 23, 2020. BRIC NS is looking into alternative dates and formats to share important primary and integrated healthcare research, quality improvement, and evaluation initiatives. Please visit our website ( to become a member and stay informed about upcoming events and opportunities. Please contact with any questions.
Publications and Reports
The following research was supported by the MSSU:

Bhuiyan EM, Christensen E, Daigle B, Magalhaes S, McDonald T, Miah P, Somayaji C. (2020). Update: Rapid response report on COVID-19 in New Brunswick: April 14, 2020. Fredericton,
NB: New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training.  Download the report >

Bhuiyan EM, Christensen E, Daigle B, Magalhaes S, McDonald T, Miah P, Somayaji C.
(2020). Rapid response report on COVID-19 in New Brunswick: March 31, 2020. Fredericton, NB:
New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training.

Bouchard M-A, Gaudet J, Plourde M-J, Robichaud M. End-of-Life Care in Times of Pandemic: A Rapid Review of the Literature. Moncton, New Brunswick: Maritime SPOR SUPPORT Unit (MSSU); 2020. 29 p.

Christensen E, Daigle B, McDonald T, Somayaji C. (2020). Rapid response report on
dedicated resources for COVID-19: April 8, 2020. Fredericton, NB: New Brunswick Institute for
Research, Data and Training. Download the report >
We can help spread the word! If we've supported your research and you've published your findings, let us know by emailing We'll include your paper in our next newsletter.
SPOR Community Updates
Hotıì ts’eeda | COVID-19 Resources for the Northwest Territories

Hotıì ts’eeda, in partnership with FOXY ( Fostering Open eXpression among Youth), has developed culturally safe resource materials that present federal and territorial government advice on pandemic safety measures through a cultural lens. The resources are being shared through a social media campaign called ' Our Home is Our Camp' (#homeiscamp), which promotes social distancing that is both culturally relevant and safe in response to COVID-19. The poster graphics were designed by Dene artist Melaw Nakehk’o of Yellowknife, on the advice of Indigenous cultural advisors, and Hotıì ts'eeda and FOXY staff.

Resources are available in 11 languages and include:
  • Posters—Our Home is Our Camp
  • Posters—Safe on the Land
  • Infographics—COVID-19 Basics

The CHILD-BRIGHT Network has created a list of COVID-19 resources for Canadian youth with disabilities, their families and support teams, including links to many other compilations.

Person holding a tablet
HDRN Canada | Resource for Multi-Jurisdictional COVID-19 Research
The Health Data Research Network Canada (HDRN Canada) has created a new resource page to support multi-jurisdictional research related to COVID-19. This page will be updated regularly to reflect the availability of linkable COVID-19 test results held by HDRN Canada partner organizations and new analyses/models/studies related to COVID-19.

Want to know more? Check out the SPOR newsletter!
MSSU Updates
Vivien Obiakor
Vivien Obiakor – Data Navigator/Analyst, HDNS
We're pleased to welcome Vivien Obiakor, who joined Health Data Nova Scotia (HDNS) in April 2020 as a Data Navigator/Analyst. In this role, Vivien is providing health researchers with methodological support for data extraction, manipulation, and analysis. Vivien is a pharmacist with experience working in both hospital and community pharmacy. She holds a Bachelor of Pharmacy from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and an MSc in Clinical Epidemiology and Infectious Diseases from the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. She is interested in health research, biostatistical analysis, pharmacoepidemiology and patient care.
We are saying farewell to two members of the MSSU team in Halifax. We want to thank Laura Dowling, Research Project Manager, and David Stock, Senior Health Services Researcher, for their many contributions to the MSSU, and wish them well in their future endeavours.

We also want to thank Erin Murray, who recently completed a co-op term as a Communications Assistant with our team in Halifax. We wish her all the best with her future studies at the Mount Saint Vincent University.
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