News Releases

April 14, 2021

NBCC research project helps seniors manage COPD

With $488,025 in funding from the Healthy Seniors Pilot Project, students in the School of Health and Wellbeing at New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) are helping seniors find new ways to manage their lung health.

The Innovative and Community-Partnered Pulmonary Rehabilitation for Seniors in New Brunswick project created four community-based pulmonary rehab clinics to deliver education and therapy to 40 seniors with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) in the Saint John Region. Students lead each clinic and help seniors improve their ability to confidently manage their COPD themselves.

“We know that COPD is a leading cause of hospital admissions in New Brunswick, even ahead of heart failure,” said Ray Hubble, Dean of Health and Wellness at NBCC. “Pulmonary rehab can improve quality of life for those with COPD, but many seniors can’t access rehab because of long wait times, travel distances, and limited clinic hours. With this funding, we can take advantage of the resources we already have in place – health care professionals, space, and equipment – to improve access to education and therapy.”

After participating in a 10-week rehab clinic, seniors will be able to confidently manage their COPD themselves, in their own homes or care settings, added Hubble. They should also be able to walk farther, feel fewer COPD symptoms, and have a more positive outlook on their overall health.

NBCC regularly collaborates with community partners on applied research projects that enrich the learning experience for students while helping solve community problems. Partners in the pulmonary rehab clinic include Horizon Health, the University of New Brunswick, and Dalhousie Medicine. This clinic follows a previous pilot clinic led by NBCC with funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council’s College and Community Social Innovation Fund.

“Applied research opportunities are important for our learners’ skills development, as well as for the betterment of our communities,” said Ann Drennan, Vice President Academic and Research at NBCC. “This project will have a tangible impact on the lives of those with COPD, a true example of NBCC’s vision of transforming lives and communities.”

The Healthy Seniors Pilot Project is a federal-provincial initiative to fund projects aimed at supporting healthy aging for seniors in their homes, communities, and care facilities.

About NBCC:

With six campuses across New Brunswick, NBCC contributes to New Brunswick’s social and economic prosperity by supporting the aspirations of individual learners, seizing the opportunities of the labour market, and collaboratively solving the challenges of communities and industry.  In addition to more than 90 certificate and diploma programs, NBCC also provides specialized and customized training to meet the needs of specific sectors and communities.  Find out more information on NBCC programs by visiting:

Tanya Greer,
Lead, Strategic Communications, NBCC