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Ottawa and the three Maritime provinces are providing $16.1-million in funding over the next five years for what’s described as patient-oriented health research.

Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos made the announcement Thursday at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.

Duclos says in order to provide Canadians with high-quality health care, the government needs research evidence to show what works.

“When patients, researchers and health-care professionals combine their expertise and experience, that’s when we’re truly able to make a difference in patients’ lives,” Duclos said.

The funding will support the work of the Maritime SPOR Support Unit – which stands for Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research. The unit was started in 2013, and during the last two years it has contributed to 56 projects related to COVID-19.

The work included a study on understanding how the needs of patients and primary care providers are being met and a study on the impact of the pandemic on mental health.

“COVID-19 showed us the tremendous social, economic and health value of science and scientists,” Duclos said. “We would not be meeting together today if scientists had not given us the gift of vaccines.”

New Brunswick Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said for every dollar the provincial government spends on research, it gets a five-dollar return in economic spinoff and jobs.

“Health research benefits the lives of New Brunswick patients, strengthens our health-care system and attracts high-quality talent to our province not only to perform this life-saving research, but to also work in our hospitals and teach a new generation of health professionals,” she said.

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