Dr. Joël Dickinson, alongside several executives from Shannex, posing in front of the stairs at the Shannex head office

A $500,000 gift to Mount Saint Vincent University from Shannex will support the establishment of a new Shannex Centre for Workforce Wellbeing, including a new research chair, new learning opportunities for students and emerging scholars, and new research on innovative care practices and nutrition for residents.

The donation was announced at an event held at Shannex’s home office today (Tuesday, May 28).

Shannex is a family-owned organization with a vision of “Leading the Way to Better Living.” Beginning in 1988 with a single nursing home, the organization now offers a full continuum of services for seniors through Care at Home, Parkland Retirement Living, Faubourg du Mascaret and Shannex licensed long term care communities. Currently, Shannex has communities in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Ontario.

“At Shannex, we embrace the long life, the healthy, engaged and contributing life,” said Jason Shannon, president of Shannex. “We believe the sector and universities need to work together to find solutions through research that addresses the huge demand for healthy aging support that is ahead of us, to ensure we have a longevity-ready society, one that is inclusive and focused on the opportunities of this wonderful new reality.”

MSVU is a perfect partner for Shannex in this endeavour. “As home to the Nova Scotia Centre on Aging and a number of world-leading experts in related fields like nutrition, MSVU is well positioned to be a key research partner in Shannex’s commitment to helping older adults live long and engaged lives,” said Dr. Joël Dickinson, President and Vice-Chancellor, MSVU.

Shannex also announced today gifts to Dalhousie University for research on the use of AI to enhance long term care and to the University of New Brunswick to facilitate early learning opportunities for future health professionals in long term and older adult care. The total investment across all three universities is $3.5 million.

Investment in research, learning and innovation

“The new Shannex Centre for Workforce Wellbeing at MSVU and its research Chair will position the Maritimes as a national leader – I’d argue international leader – in research and practice focused on those working in long-term care,” noted Dr. Dickinson. Through this new centre, MSVU researchers will:

  • generate evidence on timely, relevant research questions that will shape care practice and staff recruitment and retention strategies;
  • develop and test innovations that support care and nutritional food; and
  • provide innovative learning opportunities for students and emerging scholars.

The Centre will also raise awareness about the critical role that long-term care plays in our social and health care systems.

Through a living laboratory at the DePaul Hall, a future Shannex licensed long-term care home adjacent to MSVU, MSVU will undertake research on quality of life of long-term care staff and its impacts on residents; emerging care models and scope of practice; and cultural acclimation and support for newcomer workers.

New learning opportunities for students in the areas of aging and nutrition will help build a critical mass of early career specialists in long-term care. Further, Shannex’s gift to MSVU will enable knowledge translation initiatives linking policy makers with residents, staff, families and researchers; provide professional development opportunities for long-term care staff; and facilitate multi-generational teaching and mentorship relationships.

Lastly, Shannex’s donation to MSVU will support the development of new food products while observing the environmental and individual factors that affect food intake, and help identify ways to enhance quality of life of older adults through food.

Dr. Janice Keefe, Dr. Bohdan Luhovyy, and Dr. Zachary Zimmer - 3 MSVU Researchers that will contribute to the Shannex project

The renowned research programs of three MSVU faculty in particular will contribute to this work, including:

“For far too long, long term care has not received sufficient research and policy attention. Nova Scotia is changing that – and Shannex is changing that,” said Dr. Janice Keefe, Director of the NS Centre on Aging at MSVU and Lena Isabel Jodrey Chair in Gerontology. “This is a welcome day for MSVU and Nova Scotia. This partnership is an investment in a better and stronger long-term care sector for Nova Scotia and something we, as an aging society, should all have a vested interest in.”

“There are wonderful things to come from this gift from Shannex – advancements that stand to benefit not just individual lives, but also entire systems and societies. Big thanks to Mr. Joseph Shannon, Mr. Jason Shannon, and to all of our partners at Shannex, for this generous gift,” said Dr. Dickinson.

Read the media release from Shannex.