CEO Invictus Games Toronto 2017, Michael Burns; CIMVHR Fellow, Dr. Alice Aiken; CIMVHR Researcher, Dr. Celina Shirazipour; His Highness Prince Harry; Invictus Games Athlete, Leading Seaman (ret) Stéphane Moreau; and CIMVHR Interim Co-Scientific Directors Drs. Heidi Cramm and Stéphanie Bélanger.
The Eighth Annual Military and Veteran Health Research Forum, the official research partner of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017, was held in Toronto from September 25 – 27, 2017. This marked CIMVHR’s largest conference to date, this is thanks to the 43 Canadian universities, 8 global affiliates, countless government researchers as well as many industry and philanthropic partners that make up the CIMVHR network.
Over the course of the event, 198 research presentations were delivered by 173 different researchers to over 600 delegates. Research presentation topics included: advances in primary and trauma care; gender differences in health, mental health and rehabilitation; novel health technologies; occupational health; physical health and rehabilitation; social health and wellbeing; and transition from military to civilian life.
Forum 2017 included pre- and post- Forum Research Theme Working Groups. The themes for these working groups included: Cannabis for medical use: exploring risks and possibilities; towards a better understanding of how and when musculoskeletal injuries occur – aiming for more effective preventative strategies; culture and diversity in relation to the mental and physical health of military personnel; transition and the family; and contemporary research with public safety personnel.
CIMVHR Forum 2017 was held in partnership with the Invictus Games Toronto 2017. The Invictus Games Toronto 2017 showcased the power of human spirit in using adaptive sport in the recovery of ill or wounded service members and re-engagement with their families and communities. As the patron of the Invictus Games, His Royal Highness Prince Harry also came to Forum and spoke about his passion to change the lives of service members and their families through sport, and of the importance of research. A recording of his speech is available here.
Other keynote speakers at Forum 2017 included:
- The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada and Associate Minister of National Defence
- MGen Wayne Eyre, Deputy Commander, Military Personnel Command
- Warrant Officer (WO) Mark Jones, Joint Counter Explosive Threat Task Force, Canadian Armed Forces
- Lieutenant-General (Ret’d) The Honorable Roméo Dallaire, author and founder of the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative
- Air Commodore Rich Withnall, Medical Director, UK Defence Medical Services
- Dr. Mark A. Williamson, Director General, Defence Research and Development Canada- Centre for Security Science
- Dr. Christian Kastrup, 2016 Banting Award Winner; Assistant Professor, UBC
- John W. Boerstler – Executive Director, NextOp.
Additional highlights of Forum 2017 included a presentation by Dr. Celina Shirazipour, Dalhousie University, on her research about the impact of adaptive sport on recovery for those wounded both physically and psychologically through military service. Dr. Christian Kastrup, 2016 Banting Award Winner, presented his innovative research on treating severe hemorrhage with self-propelling particles to the delegation at Forum.
Six new CIMVHR Fellows were named during Forum 2017: Dr. Deborah Norris, Mount Saint Vincent University; Dr. Don Richardson, Western University; Dr. Jacqueline Hebert, University of Alberta; Dr. Jitender Sareen, University of Manitoba; Dr. Bradford McFadyen, Laval University; and Dr. Tim Black, University of Victoria.
BGen Andrew Downes, Surgeon General presented the 2017 Banting Award for Military Health Research to Dr. Benjamin Dunkley, The Hospital for Sick Kids & University of Toronto, for his research Perception of Emotional Faces Induces Fear Circuit Hyper Connectivity in Soldiers with PTSD.
Several other research award winners were announced during Forum 2017. They included:
- Mr. Noel Lipana, the Homewood Mental Health Treatment Award for Treating Moral Injury and Posttraumatic Stress: Exploring a Model that Works;
- Dr. Alyson Mahar, the Colonel Russell Mann, Military Family Health Research Award for A Comparison of Mental Health Services use in Older Dependents and Spouses of Service Personnel in the Canadian Armed Forces to Age and Sex Matched Civilian Comparison Cohort;
- Mr. Daniel Cousineau-Short, the Via Rail Student Research Award for Fractures in the Canadian Armed Forces: Operational Impact, Cost and Opportunities for Injury Prevention;
- Dr. Richard M. Gray and Dr. Frank Bourke, the CIMVHR Silver Quill Award for Remediation of intrusive symptoms of PTSD in fewer than five sessions: a 30-person pre-pilot study of the RTM Protocol;
- Dr. Donna Pickering et al, the CIMVHR Editor’s Choice Award for A Qualitative Analysis of Factors Affecting Canadian Army Reservists Wellbeing
Thank you to all Forum delegates for your engaged participation, and to the Forum 2017 sponsors and volunteers for your commitment and generosity. With your continued support, CIMVHR is able to fulfill its mission to enhance the lives of Canadian military personnel, Veterans and their families by harnessing the national capacity for research.