Studying health care and politics in the Maritimes
10/15/2020 4:14:34 PM

MichaelCormier_PolSci_ISRGFourth-year Politics and International Relations Michael Cormier spent his summer examining an issue near and dear to many Canadians’ hearts – rural health care. But Cormier’s research, through the University’s Independent Student Research Grant program, examined the topic through a political lens.

“My project focused on recent policy events around rural health care access in each of the Maritime provinces,” explains Cormier. “In Nova Scotia I looked at the 2015 amalgamation of regional health authorities to one central one. In New Brunswick, I studied the decision around the move of the Youth Mental Health Centre from Campbellton to Moncton, which changed from one government to another, and for Prince Edward Island, the government’s recent decision to create rural health care hubs across the province, an idea that was included in the Green Party’s platform, who serve as the official opposition.”

Cormier’s research included a literature review on rural health care in Canada as well as interviews with representatives either currently or formerly working in government, health authorities, and healthcare workers in each province. He says with these events being fairly recent, he learned a lot from the case studies and interviews.

“There isn’t a lot of academic research on rural health care, particularly these recent decisions,” he says. “Tracking down the right individuals in these sectors, even if they were no longer directly working the field, was challenging but very insightful.”

Cormier’s study was guided and supervised by Dr. Mario Levesque, Mount Allison University Politics and International Relations Professor and Department Head.

“Michael’s research around rural health care policies and related political decisions around them is important and timely, particularly for the Maritime provinces,” says Levesque. “I am very impressed with his analysis and focused approach on researching a very complex topic.”

From Margaree Valley, Cape Breton, Cormier says rural health care is an important issue for him and he was excited for the opportunity to learn more about the role politics and policies can play in the field.

Cormier conducted all his research from Sackville over the summer, setting up interviews virtually, something that changed from his original research proposal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I would have like to have travelled to some of the sites but with so much unknown about travelling, I did my entire project virtually,” he explains.

A varsity soccer player, Cormier is completing his final year at Mount Allison with a focus on International Relations. He is also a Social Sciences Senator with the Mount Allison Students Union, a campus ambassador with the Admissions Office, and has volunteered with the Student Athlete Mental Health Initiative. He plans to attend law school following Mount Allison.

So, what brought him to Sackville from Cape Breton?

“I had a cousin who went to Mount A but it was the IR program that really brought me here,” says Cormier. “The program’s interdisciplinary approach has given me such a good overview in a number of areas, and it was great to be able to ‘try out’ academic research with this summer project.”

Cormier also presented his work at this fall's SURF virtual event, Mount Allison’s Student Undergraduate Research Fair, on September 24.