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P2P+ student spotlight: Meet the students measuring the impact of COVID-19 on New Brunswickers’ mental health

Author: NB-IRDT Staff

Posted on Jan 31, 2023

Category: DataNB

Clark Brewster, Kelsi Evans, Rebecca Foster and Emily Thomson

What is P2P+?

P2P+ is a new health-based research stream examining New Brunswick’s healthcare system. In 2022, NB-IRDT was the proud recipient of a 2022 Mitacs Accelerate grant, which provided funding from both Mitacs and the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation to support the students completing this year’s P2P+ project: Sociodemographic and environmental predictors of mental health outcomes, substance use, and self-care behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic in New Brunswick.

While P2P+ is part of the Pathways to Professions program, it isn’t a typical P2P research stream. This project required a longer and more advanced research term than the regular P2P student stream, so we brought back some of our 2021 P2P alumni who wanted to enhance their data analysis skills by working with administrative data in NB-IRDT's secure facilities.

In 2022, the P2P+ team focused specifically on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health and substance use among New Brunswickers aged 19 and older. Using data from the Canadian Community Health Survey and the Statistics Canada Survey on COVID-19 and Mental Health, they examined pandemic-related changes in depression, anxiety, general mental health, alcohol consumption, and cannabis use.

You can learn more about the P2P+ project and the team’s findings in the video below:

These findings are forthcoming in a full NB-IRDT report, and you can subscribe to our newsletter to ensure you don’t miss it when it comes out!

Meet the 2022 P2P+ Team

Clark Brewster, Kelsi Evans, Rebecca Foster, Emily Thomson

Clark Brewster – P2P+ Researcher

Clark Brewster is in his fourth and final year of a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at the University of New Brunswick. Upon graduation, he plans on applying to the Dalhousie School of Pharmacy in hopes of obtaining a PharmD to one day work as a community pharmacist. When he can find some time away from the books, Clark enjoys playing sports with friends, adventuring in nature and participating in extracurricular activities at UNB.

Kelsi Evans – P2P+ Researcher

Kelsi graduated in the spring of 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology Neuroscience and minoring in Biology from the University of New Brunswick. Kelsi is currently applying to graduate schools to obtain a PhD in Developmental Neuroscience, and they hope later in their career to be a pediatric neurologist. In her free time, Kelsi has been diligently working towards a lifelong goal: writing a literary fiction novel dedicated to the lives of those with disabilities, mental illness and substance use disorders. She is projecting to publish the manuscript in 2023.

Rebecca Foster – P2P+ Researcher

Rebecca Foster recently graduated from the University of New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Science with a major in Chemistry. Rebecca is interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy and hopes to achieve this goal by attend pharmacy school in the coming years. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, playing the piano and spending time traveling and being outdoors.

Emily Thomson – P2P+ Researcher

Emily Thomson started her 4th year at UNBSJ in the fall. She is completing a BSc with a double major in Biology/Psychology and an honours in Psychology, with a focus on climate anxiety and climate change. Post-bachelor's degree, she hopes to attend medical school or complete a master's degree pursuing either pathology or psychology. In her spare time, Emily enjoys painting, reading and spending time outdoors.

What is Pathways to Professions (P2P)?

Each summer, NB-IRDT hosts cohorts of student research teams as part of its Pathways to Professions(P2P) experiential learning program. For 13 weeks, these students work on New Brunswick-relevant projects while attending a full curriculum of professional skills workshops.