The latest from the New Brunswick Institute for Research, Data and Training

VitalSignsNB Student Spotlight: Meet the Students Examining Access to Healthcare in New Brunswick

Author: NB-IRDT Staff

Posted on Nov 8, 2022

Category: Pathways to Professions , Health , Training

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. Now that the 2022 program has ended, we are excited to share our students’ projects and their findings in our student spotlight series. Now, third up in the series: VitalSignsNB.

What is VitalSignsNB?

VitalSignsNB is a P2P research stream that aims to examine the New Brunswick healthcare system. More specifically, it examines and identifies areas of the provincial healthcare system that require data to help inform decisions to accommodate New Brunswickers’ needs and promote a healthier future for all.

VitalSignsNB has been a P2P research stream since 2021. This summer, the VitalSignsNB team looked into the topic of access to healthcare in New Brunswick. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic added an extra burden to the province’s healthcare system, there was an existing narrative of low access to healthcare. Taking into consideration the new challenges brought about by the pandemic, this year’s team improved their understanding of how routine access to primary care can impact the health of New Brunswickers, especially those with chronic conditions.

The three research questions the VitalSignsNB team addressed to evaluate continuity of care in New Brunswick include:

  1. Which social or demographic characteristics are associated with someone's level of access to care or continuity of care?
  2. What are the health consequences of low access to or continuity of care?
  3. Are the consequences of low access to or continuity of care influenced by social or demographic characteristics?

The team’s full results are soon to be released in a report (subscribe to our newsletter to be notified when the report is released) , but in the meantime, a snapshot of their findings is available in their infographic.

Meet the 2022 VitalSignsNB Team

Olivia Hamilton, Vanessa Dairo-Singerr, Sof Mehlitz, Kay Mills


Olivia Hamilton – VitalSignsNB Communications Coordinator

Olivia Hamilton is pursuing a bachelor of philosophy in interdisciplinary leadership and a minor in biology at the University of New Brunswick.  Her experience at Renaissance College, the university’s leadership faculty, has inspired her interest in the link between research and community problem-solving. Hailing from Bathurst, Olivia’s favourite part about living in Fredericton is the beautiful views of the Wolastoq (St. John River).

Vanessa Dairo-Singerr – VitalSignsNB Researcher

Vanessa Dairo-Singerr just completed her fourth and final year at the University of New Brunswick, where she graduated with a bachelor of science in medicinal chemistry with honours. Vanessa has a passion for fostering an inclusive community wherever she goes. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in dentistry, as well as research to improve access to dental care for underserved and underrepresented groups. Vanessa’s hobbies include reading, cooking, and taking her goldendoodle, Ricky, for walks.

Sof Mehlitz – VitalSignsNB Researcher

Sof Mehlitz is in their fourth year of a bachelor of science with an honours in psychology and a minor in biology at the University of New Brunswick. Sof is passionate about LGBTQ+-centered physical and mental healthcare and is interested in pursuing a career in the mental health helping field. Outside of research, Sof loves sewing and going on bike rides along the Wolastoq.

Kay Mills – VitalSignsNB Researcher

Kay Mills is pursuing a bachelor of science in kinesiology at the University of New Brunswick. Outside of her studies, Kay is the head coach for Ski NB’s Team New Brunswick and loves to ride bikes. Born and raised in Fredericton, Kay is passionate about any opportunity to impact communities from a multidisciplinary approach.



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