StFX to house new $5 million endowed Research Chair in Mental Health and Addictions

Research Chair announcement

Together, the Province of Nova Scotia, QEII Foundation, Medavie Foundation, and St. Francis Xavier University are embarking upon an ambitious partnership that will serve as a nation-leading model for the investigation and treatment of mental health and addictions. 
The endowed Research Chair in Mental Health and Addictions at StFX will be supported by a $5 million endowment. The Province of Nova Scotia has contributed $1 million and the Medavie Foundation is donating $500,000 to launch the Chair. In addition, the QEII Foundation is committed to raising $1 million towards the endowment and StFX is committed to raising an additional $2.5 million to complete the $5 million funding target, recognizing the level of expertise required for this position.
This new Research Chair in Mental Health and Addictions at StFX will capitalize on the wealth of data produced by NS Health, as well as investigate the related determinants of health in Nova Scotia; and coordinate partnerships that link together research, care, health policy and system changes. 
The magnitude and pressing nature of mental health and addictions challenges has motivated a new effort to strengthen applied mental health and addictions research capabilities that can inform practice and policy efforts to improve health outcomes across Nova Scotia. 
Research stemming from this position will inform best practices and policies for other rural communities across Canada like northeastern Nova Scotia. This will also include marginalized residents such as Indigenous Peoples, children and youth, individuals affected by low incomes, and elderly people coping with mental health and addiction. 
Sixty-five per cent of Nova Scotians live with mental health and addictions challenges, a number that has spiked precipitously during the pandemic. Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada that records 100 per cent of its data regarding mental health and addictions. 
Why StFX?

StFX is expanding its impact on health and wellness in rural Nova Scotia by identifying an Institute for Innovation in Health (I2H) as its top capital priority. I2H is planned to open in 2025. Faculty members across a wide array of disciplines (nursing, psychology, health, human kinetics, anthropology, education, public policy and governance, and sociology) are already undertaking nation-leading research in the areas of mental health and addictions; the I2H will create an important hub for further knowledge creation and dissemination in this area. Finally, the work of the Research Chair in Mental Health and Addictions will also engage with the National Collaborating Centre for the Determinants of Health (NCCDH), which has been housed on the StFX campus for more than a decade, during which time many fruitful partnerships have emerged. A national centre of excellence for knowledge mobilization and translation, the NCCDH works to integrate health equity and the social determinants of health into Canadian public health practice, to close the gap between those who are most and least healthy.


“This new Research Chair in Mental Health and Addictions to be based at St. Francis Xavier University will play a lead role in uniting and working with research expertise and talent across Nova Scotia to explore actions and test solutions to mental health and addictions from the perspectives of practice and policy,” said StFX President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Andy Hakin.

“The ideal candidate will be a health systems researcher capable of working with broad data sets and stakeholder groups to determine the impacts of mental health and addictions interventions in Nova Scotia, as well as provide evidence that can inform changes in policy, clinical practice, or innovative solutions to mental health and addictions promotion and patient care,” added Dr. Hakin.


“The Government of Nova Scotia is committed to making mental health and addictions care available to all Nova Scotians as part of our publicly funded health care system,” says the Hon. Brian Comer, Minister of Addictions and Mental Health. “This requires collaboration, willingness to learn and ability to act. We see the establishment of a Research Chair in Mental Health and Addictions at St. Francis Xavier University as a vital link between researchers and policy makers as we work together to ensure Nova Scotians get the care they need when they need it.” 


“Mental health and addictions support is an important pillar of the QEII Foundation’s We Are campaign, a $100-million campaign to transform health care at and through the QEII Health Sciences Centre. QEII Foundation donors continue to invest in this care area and want to make change happen,” says Susan Mullin, QEII Foundation’s president and CEO.

“This partnership and this endowed chair position is a unique way to accelerate impact and ensure Nova Scotians are getting the care they need. As the QEII is the largest, adult academic health centre in the province, we have an important role to play in leading the way.”   


“Living with mental illness and addiction affects not only the individual but can be the cause of stress and instability for family members and communities,” said Bernard Lord, CEO, Medavie. “As part of our mission to improve the wellbeing of Canadians, we are committed to increasing access to physical and mental health services and supports, especially for young people. Our Medavie Foundation is pleased to support the Research Chair in Mental Health and Addictions and look forward to seeing the impact this effort will have on improved health outcomes for individuals across Nova Scotia, and beyond.”