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N.S. pours $37M for new medical research institute at St.FX

By Evan Taylor Mar 9, 2023 | 11:51 AM

Premier Tim Houston announced funding for a new medical research institute at St.FX this morning. Photo: St. FX Media.

The Nova Scotia government is opening the taps to spend on health care.

The latest announcement is $37 million towards a new research institute at St. Francis Xavier University.

The Institute for Innovation in Health will look at ways to improve health promotion and mental health and wellness in rural communities, including chronic disease prevention and management, rehabilitation, and aging in place.

“By focusing on prevention, we can help people lead stronger, healthier lives, which reduces the burden on the healthcare system,” said Premier Tim Houston. “We have a long-term plan for healthcare and it’s working. This institute is another achievement for our Province and complements the work underway to transform healthcare for Nova Scotians.”

The institute will offer education and training for current healthcare professionals, test and evaluate new ways of promoting health and wellness, and expand programs and virtual approaches to health education and promotion in rural communities.

“As a nurse, I know first-hand the benefits that preventative medicine can have on the lives of patients,” said Michelle Thompson, Minister of Health and Wellness. “A greater focus on the factors that lead to poor health and well-being and how our healthcare system can support patients to reduce, prevent or better manage their medical concerns is another way we are transforming healthcare to provide better, faster care for Nova Scotians.”

Furthermore, the institute will open a treatment and research center focused on wellness and rural care that will expand access to primary and mental healthcare for its students and the broader community. It will also establish innovative infrastructure and training environments, including simulators and virtual reality, to enhance rural care and training.

“This is wonderful news for our entire campus community and northern Nova Scotia,” said Andy Hakin, President and Vice-Chancellor, St. Francis Xavier University. “This is an investment in advancing health, wellness and rural care. The Institute for Innovation in Health at StFX will be recognized for impacting education, promotion and prevention programs responsive to rural healthcare and service needs in Nova Scotian communities.”

The National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health, which is based in the university, will be enhanced through the institute’s work. The institute will be guided by the six core solutions in Action for Health, the government’s plan to improve and transform healthcare in Nova Scotia.

“Nova Scotia’s post-secondary institutions have a lot to offer in many areas and it’s one of the reasons why so many people choose to study here,” said Brian Wong, Minister of Advanced Education. “Working together, we can create flexible learning and work-integrated models to train skilled workers in the fields we need the most – like healthcare.”

Funding the institute is part of a series of investments in Nova Scotia universities to support healthcare training, one of the commitments in Action for Health. On Tuesday, Houston announced $59 million to create a new medical school campus at Cape Breton University in Sydney, and on Wednesday, Advanced Education Minister Brian Wong announced $25 million to create more training options in healthcare data analysis and related areas at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.

This new initiative is set to benefit rural Nova Scotians by improving access to quality healthcare, and reducing the burden on the healthcare system through prevention-focused efforts.


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