StFX’s Dr. Britney Benoit receives national CIHR award to help improve perinatal and neonatal health care in rural Nova Scotia 

Britney Benoit
Britney Benoit

StFX Rankin School of Nursing professor Dr. Britney Benoit is one of 12 early career researchers from across the country who have been awarded the first Health System Impact Embedded Early Career Researcher Awards with the support of $9.6 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and partners.

Through this award, Dr. Benoit, in partnership with Nova Scotia Health, will focus her work on improving perinatal and neonatal health care in rural Nova Scotia. 

“Breastfeeding is a crucial health promotion activity, yet, Nova Scotia has one off the lowest breastfeeding rates in Canada. Those living in rural communities are also less likely to start and continue breastfeeding,” Dr. Benoit says. 

“My Health System Impact Embedded Early Career Research Program will focus on implementation of the Baby-Friendly Initiative—a multi-faceted, evidence-informed, and patient-centred quality improvement program with measurable impact on breastfeeding outcomes – in health organizations across Nova Scotia. Insights from this embedded research program will help optimize provincial perinatal, infant, and population health outcomes.” 

The news came as the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health, made the Government of Canada announcement March 26 supporting researchers across the country who are collaborating with health system organizations to make meaningful contributions towards improving Canada’s health care system and ensuring that Canadians receive high-quality health care. 

These researchers will be embedded within health system organizations where they will develop research programs to address the evidence needs of their host organizations and use the evidence they gather to help transform Canada’s health care systems.

Dr. Benoit notes, “This award provides a unique opportunity for focused time, professional development training, and mentorship from health system leaders to advance as an embedded scientist working across StFX and Nova Scotia Health. I’m very excited to receive this award and be part of this inaugural cohort of early career Health System Impact fellows.” 

“The success of Dr. Benoit in receiving this Health System Impact Embedded ECR Award from the CIHR is a major success,” says Dr. Richard Isnor, StFX Associate Vice-President Research and Graduate Studies. “Not only are these Early Career Researcher awards highly competitive, but they require close links with health system partners. In this case, Dr. Benoit is working closely with Nova Scotia Health. This is a great example of how our health researchers are undertaking efforts to have a direct impact on health care for Nova Scotians.”

These awards are part of the Health System Impact (HSI) program, which was created by the CIHR Institute of Health Services and Policy Research. The program is made possible thanks to funding and support from partners such as Michael Smith Health Research BC, ResearchNB, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé, and Mitacs.