New Brunswick REALTOR® Helping Transform Health Care in Saint John

Li Song, a New Brunswick REALTOR® and sales person with EXIT Realty Specialists, is helping to build a game-changing medical and health care centre in Saint John. Song is a strong community presence in the city and was recruited to become part of the campaign cabinet in the process of raising $20 million to complement provincial and federal funding of $27 million.

The Health and Social Innovation Centre at the University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) Saint John campus will be home to UNB’s Integrated Health Initiative. It will anchor the Integrated Health Initiative, a program aimed at transforming health care with innovation, education, research, and partnerships.

“I want to lead by example so that everyone can get involved and help advance this visionary project,” says Song. She has donated money to the campaign herself, ensuring that one of the stairs in the facility will bear her father’s name, Zhi Ping Song.

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The three-and-a-half storey facility broke ground in August and is slated to open in January 2025. The 65,000-square-foot project is expected to offer research and teaching facilities, learning and study spaces, and provide a focal point for an integrated approach aimed at bolstering a burgeoning health care system. There will also be an interdisciplinary undergraduate program and graduate programs established in health, which will help to make the city a magnet for attracting, and generating, talent. Some 500 additional students are expected to be part of these programs once they are up and running benefitting both the local community and Canadians beyond with innovative research.

“It is so important to get our personal and social networks going for a project like this and not just in Saint John because this project really benefits everyone,” says this Canadian REALTORS® Care Award 2023 nominee.

Song got involved in the UNB project about a year ago, having already worked with part of the project team in other roles during her time there as a student and later, as staff. Now she’s giving back to the university by using her experiences to reach out to multicultural leaders in the region and bring them together with key players in the project so that everyone can get behind it.

“Given my experience with volunteering and my multicultural connections, I’m a good fit to help drive that vision of diversity and multiculturalism forward,” says Song.

Alongside of her support for the project as a whole, Li has also established the Li Song Bursary at UNB, to aid and encourage visible minority female students training in health science.

This isn’t the first time that Li has been an inspiration and champion for women and immigrants in New Brunswick. Having arrived in Saint John from China in 2001 with little money and, at best, a fledgling knowledge of English, she graduated from UNB in 2008 with bachelor’s degrees in arts and education. Song then worked at the International Recruitment Centre before jumping headlong into the charitable sector and real estate.

Li stands holding her medal next to a banner that reads "The Queen's Platinum Jubilee - 70 years of service"

Song’s many awards for volunteerism and support of Saint John include the UNB Alumni Changemaker Award, Human Rights Award, Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal, and the YMCA Red Triangle Award.

“They have all been important awards of recognition for me,” says Song. “In my acceptance speech for Red Triangle Award I noted my intersectionality and my responsibility to present myself as Canadian Asian, as well as an international representative for women of colour and LGBTQ+, as these are all areas important in my life.”

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