A year full of research and training at Vitalité Health Network

Vitalité Health Network, Tuesday, July 4, 2023 – The Network released its 2022-2023 annual report on its university mission today.

The report outlines the development of research, evaluation and learning activities within the organization.

Here are a few highlights:

Research hospital ranking

Vitalité Health Network continues to stand out in research, earning a spot on the prestigious list of Canada’s Top 40 Research Hospitals for a second year in a row. This recognition is awarded by Research Infosource Inc., a research and development analysis firm that promotes Canadian hospitals that are enhancing Canada’s global competitiveness in the knowledge economy. The Network is the only organization in New Brunswick, and one of three facilities in the Atlantic provinces, to appear on this list. This national recognition is shared between the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre and research partners such as the Université de Moncton, the New Brunswick Centre for Precision Medicine (NBCPM), the Atlantic Cancer Research Institute (ACRI), and the Centre de formation médicale du Nouveau-Brunswick (CFMNB).

“Every day, our research professionals and clinician researchers help develop expertise, disseminate knowledge and integrate this into clinical practices,” said Brigitte Sonier-Ferguson, Senior Vice-President of Performance, University Mission and Strategy.

“Creating an environment that supports continuous improvement helps us become an innovative, learning health care system,” she added.

Revival of clinical trials

The Research and Health Evaluation team. Front row: Marie-Josée Plourde (Research Coordinator), Vicky Pellerin (Executive Assistant), Araya-Yohannes Bekele (Librarian), Sara Naam (Research Consultant), Dominique Comeau (Research Consultant), Isabelle d'Entremont (Change Management Consultant) and Breitner Gomes Chaves (Health Evaluation Consultant). In the second row are Marc-André Bouchard (Research Consultant), Jeanot Gauvin (Clinical Trials Support Unit Manager), Erika Dugas (Regional Director of Research and Health Evaluation), M`hamed Belkhodja (Librarian), Carly Demont (Research Consultant), Evens Datus (Health Evaluation Consultant) and Marc Robichaud (Research Consultant).

Since June 2022, Vitalité Health Network and Horizon Health Network have been working with health authorities in the other Atlantic provinces to form the Atlantic Clinical Trials Network. This initiative will serve as a single point of entry for partners wishing to take part in clinical trials, positioning Atlantic Canada as a world leader in that field. This network will increase the impact on patients by offering decentralized clinical trials to improve access east of Quebec. Six new clinical trials began in 2022–2023, and another 12 new clinical trials are already scheduled for 2023–2024.

Biobank development

The Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont UHC Biobank continued to grow in 2022–2023, recording a 31% increase in patient recruitment. The number of patients who consented to sample collection rose from 754 in March 2022 to 989 in March 2023.

“Through patient donations, the Biobank supports the Network’s clinicians and health professionals in their research projects, which contributes to the development of early screening, more precise diagnoses and targeted treatments,” said Erika Dugas, Regional Director of Research and Health Evaluation.

The integration of the Atlantic Canada Biobank Consortium (ACBC) as a member of the Marathon of Hope Cancer Centres Network in 2022 will help contribute to the advancement of cancer research nationally through the engagement with rural communities to deliver precision oncology as well as engagement with Indigenous communities.

Building training opportunities

The Training and Educational Partnerships team. Vicky Pellerin (Administrative Assistant - University Mission), Martine Poirier (Regional Director of Training and Educational Partnerships), Marie-Eve Gingras, (Manager - Training Office), Louise Doucet (Administrative Assistant - Training Office), Amélie Haché (Training and Internship Advisor) and Micheline Boudreau-Pitre (Training and Internship Advisor).

Vitalité Health Network is also continuing to build connections with post-secondary institutions and high schools. To date, the Network has concluded 73 agreements with Canadian post-secondary institutions, covering a total of 162 training programs at the college level, university undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as the doctorate in medicine. Three new agreements were finalized in 2022–2023, including one with Trent University, in Ontario, to provide placements for nursing students.

Throughout the year, the Network provided placements to at least 1,122 students, all occupations combined. Of those placements, 75% were from nursing programs and approximately 50% took place in the Beauséjour Zone.

“Becoming an environment that supports the next generation’s learning is a priority for our organization,” explains Martine Poirier, Regional Director of Training and Educational Partnerships. “Starting this fall, all our learners will be able to register for their placement on a computerized placement portal. This single entry point will enable the Network to manage placements more effectively, help students respond to requirements online, and allow educational partners to enter their placement needs.”