NaviCare/SoinsNavi: New Brunswick Navigation Centre for Children with Complex Care Needs

Dr. Rima Azar, Dr. Alison Luke, and Dr. Shelley Doucet

I am a Co-Principal Investigator with Dr. Rima Azar from Mount Allison University on a project that was funded through the New Brunswick Children’s Foundation ($750,000) to develop a navigation centre in New Brunswick for children with complex care needs. The primary aim of the centre is to help facilitate more convenient and integrated care to support the physical, mental, emotional, and social needs of the children and their families. Children are assigned a patient navigator – a role that is relatively new in Canada. The patient navigators, one a registered nurse and the other a lay navigator, helps families coordinate access to appropriate services and resources for their children. In addition, they act as a resource for the child’s care team, ensuring that the care remains integrated.  The services offered are based a needs assessment conducted by our team in 2015-2016, which involved over 120 interviews with children and their families as well as with health, social, and educational stakeholders. Our team also did multiple site visits with navigation programs across North America and conducted an environmental scan of services available for children with complex health conditions in NB and in PEI. To help ensure that NaviCare/SoinsNavi meets the needs of children and families, we have a Family Advisory Council, which includes five volunteers. These are parents of children with complex care needs or youth/young adults who have experienced growing up with a complex care needs. They meet monthly or as needed to advise the research team, our staff and the Patient Navigator.

Please see website as well as UNB’s press release for more information on the centre:


As part of the needs assessment for the navigation centre, our research team secured an operating grant from CIHR under the SPOR Quick Strike program ($100,175; I am the Nominated PI).


The goals of the quick strike project are to:


  1. define children with complex health conditions.

  2. explore the needs of children with complex health conditions and their family.

  3. identify the services and programs available to address their needs.

  4. identify and classify children with complex health conditions in NB and PEI.

To do so, we are engaged in searching literature, conducting interviews (with children, families, and stakeholders), and creating a tool to identify and classify complex health conditions in child patients. 


Quick Strike Research Team:

Co-Principal Investigator’s: S. Doucet, R. Azar, W. Montelpare;

Co-Investigators/Collaborators: S. Gander, M. Andre Doucet, A. Horsman, N. Hyndman, T. McDonald, B. Miedema, G. Potter, R. Stoddard, D. Nagel.


My role/responsibilities/contributions:


I played an active role in securing funding for this project. As such, I prepared multiple sections of the proposals, worked on multiple drafts of revised versions of the complete proposals, and met with funding stakeholders to present our proposed research.


Within the overall project, multiple research projects are being undertaken. I am taking the lead on projects that relate to interprofessional practice and integrated service delivery. I am also involved in supervising trainees and employees engaged in this project.


In less than one year, our team has grown in size to include two post-doctoral fellows, two PhD trainees, two four-year undergraduate medical student researchers, four honours students, a full-time program coordinator, and five research assistants.

Front row: Monique DePippo and Amy Reid. Back row: Dr. Rima Azar, Krystal Binns, Kate Thompson, Jennifer Splane, Dr. Alison, and Dr. Shelley Doucet.
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