UNB Research

COVID-19 research: Dr. Hadi Eslami and Dr. Mercy Oyet

Author: UNB Research

Posted on Jul 27, 2020

Category: Research , COVID-19

 Around the world, researchers across all fields and disciplines are working to address the challenges, issues and implications of the 2019 novel coronavirus pandemic. Here at UNB, our own research community is part of that global movement.

We recently announced 13 new, funded COVID-19 research projects; here’s a little more about the expertise, the passion and the capacity behind one of them. Want to read the others? Find the full list of stories here.

Dr. Hadi Eslami and Dr. Mercy Oyet (Business, Saint John)

Who are you?

Dr. Hadi Eslami:

I have a Ph.D. in marketing, an MBA in multimedia marketing, and a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. I joined the University of New Brunswick in Saint John as an assistant professor of Marketing in May of 2018. My main area of research is in the interface of Marketing Strategy and New Product Development (NPD) management.

I also look at other areas of marketing activities and at customer service interactions, as well as research projects in the management of Healthy Aging and Alternate Level of Care (ALC) through both descriptive and predictive models.

Dr. Mercy Oyet:

I am an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Business at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. My area of specialization is in Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management. My research focuses on interpersonal mistreatment in the workplace, from the target, perpetrator, and bystander perspectives. My current research examines how and why employees voice in response to interpersonal mistreatment, and the implications associated with doing so. I also examine the effects of experiencing interpersonal mistreatment on employees’ identities, and how these experiences spill over into other work and life domains.

What are you working on?

Our research project investigates the effectiveness of the Province of New Brunswick’s Public Health communication strategies in ensuring New Brunswickers’ compliance with COVID-19 protocols like physical distancing and handwashing. We also want to understand why (or why not) New Brunswickers comply or don’t comply with these preventative protocols. We are particularly interested in exploring and understanding whether and how differences within diverse groups in the province influence compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

To investigate these research questions, we will conduct a province-wide survey of New Brunswickers, with a goal of reaching as many New Brunswickers as possible. Then, we’ll use statistical models to make comparisons between the diverse groups in the province regarding each groups’ levels of adherence to provincial COVID-19 protocols.

From this, we hope to better understand how effective the government’s public health communication strategy has been in ensuring compliance with provincial protocols aimed at preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the province. We also hope to identify factors that influence New Brunswickers’ perceptions of, and responses to, the province’s COVID-19 messaging. Ultimately, we hope this knowledge will help the provincial government develop more effective communications strategies for the current pandemic and for future public health situations.

With this funding, we’ll also be able to provide jobs and research experience for two undergraduate students.

Why did you decide to work on this research?

Dr. Hadi Eslami

The motivation behind undertaking this research started with a sense of responsibility I felt in me to contribute my expertise in responding to COVID-19. My desire to apply my research expertise in analyzing demographics-based data triggered my willingness to apply for the NBIF/NBHRF research funding call for COVID-19. I believe that the findings of this research will provide the provincial government with a quick response in designing and implementing effective public-health communications for future pandemics.

I think employing effective and customized communication strategies during a pandemic is always the key to educate people who might respond differently to a mass-distributed public health message. These normal differences come from the heterogeneity of people at different levels. Acknowledging and investigating these differences would significantly benefit health and wellbeing of New Brunswickers by instigating optimal public health education programs and implementing precautionary measures in designing and delivering effective public health communication strategies.

Dr. Mercy C. Oyet

Fundamentally, my decision to undertake this research stems from a desire to contribute to knowledge about this public health phenomenon that the whole world is scrambling to understand. As a New Brunswicker, I am excited to conduct research on this issue, focusing on our particular situation, to understand how we are experiencing and dealing with it, and the factors that influence our responses to it, particularly, our adherence to provincial public health recommended COVID-19 protocols. I particularly like that it is applied research that has the potential to provide practical insights that can inform public health communication policy in the province. As a researcher, I like that I have the opportunity to explore COVID-19 from a management lens. I believe all academic disciplines can contribute to our understanding this public health issue. The more we know about how people are experiencing and responding to COVID-19, and the more we understand it, the better equipped we will be to fight and overcome it, and to mitigate its negative effects. I feel blessed that I get to be a part of the hardworking researchers that are focused on achieving this goal.

This research is funded by the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, the New Brunswick Health Research Foundation, and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency as part of a special COVID-19 funding program.

Media: If you are interested in this story, and would like more information, please contact Jeremy Elder-Jubelin, Marketing and Communications Officer in the Office of Research Services.

More information:

Dr. Hadi Eslami | Dr. Mercy Oyet | Faculty of Business (Saint John)

Research at UNB | Graduate Studies at UNB | Postdoctoral fellowships

Related Pages: COVID19 Research Stories