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Mobile health research and innovation to help New Brunswick smokers and heart health

Author: Communications

Posted on Jun 19, 2014

Category: UNB Saint John , UNB Fredericton

Saint John, New Brunswick – June 16, 2014 – A new $225,000 investment in health research in New Brunswick will examine the use of mobile technology to manage chronic disease and promote smoking cessation.  Dr. Shelley Doucet, assistant professor in nursing at the University of New Brunswick Saint John campus is one of the lead researchers.

Connected Voices, is an Investigator-Initiated Research (IIR) project, which will evaluate how mHealth (mobile Health via intelligent phones and tablets) impacts quitting rates and nicotine dependence for smokers over 12, 24 and 52 weeks. Simultaneously, this assessment will increase understanding of how interprofessional health teams communicate when using information and communication technologies in a rural province.

“This project has great potential to advance the development of mHealth, promote smoking cessation and the management of chronic disease in our province and ultimately support our efforts to build a more sustainable health-care system,” said Health Minister Hugh Flemming.  “This project demonstrates our province’s ability to generate promising medical interventions that will help all New Brunswick patients, their families and communities.”

“Considering that New Brunswick has one of the highest rates of smoking prevalence (19.3%) and one of the highest rates of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the country, this project is greatly needed,” said Dr. Michel Johnson, Professor at the Université de Moncton, on behalf of the entire team of health researchers and partners.

Connected Voices is supported through $150,000 in funding provided by Pfizer Canada Inc. and funding made available through the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation’s (NBHRF) Strategic Initiative Program.

“Pfizer Canada is pleased to support projects that embrace innovation like mobile technology to address public health issues like smoking and COPD,” said Dr. Vratislav Hadrava, Chief Medical Officer, Pfizer Canada Inc. “The benefits of quitting are substantial and immediate. Smoking cessation is the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives.”

The NBHRF will align the participation of the private sector, policy-makers and health-care providers along with patient needs. “The NBHRF is dedicated to health research and innovation in New Brunswick and we look forward to guiding the evaluation and impact assessment of the Connected Voices program. Our aim is to develop valuable tools and implementation process that other provinces can also use,” said Dr. Bruno Battistini, chief executive officer of the NBHRF. 

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