The Canadian Institute for Military and Veterans Health (CIMVHR) Forum 2017 - an outstanding success
There was an indescribable energy in the air as more than 600 delegates came together from around the world for the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research’s Forum 2017, forming the organization’s largest conference to date. As Chair of the Board of CIMVHR, I couldn’t have been more proud. Undoubtedly, CIMVHR’s connection as the official research partner to the Invictus Games helped fuel that energy, as the games simultaneously showcased the power of the human spirit and the ability of sport to aid in military and Veteran recovery and community re-engagement.
The Forum was proof of CIMVHR’s growing impact; it is an organization that now represents 43 Canadian universities and eight global affiliates. There was a strong presence of military and government personnel, Veterans, students, national and international researchers, industry partners and leaders, philanthropists, clinicians and practitioners.
Over the course of just a few days, 173 different experts delivered 198 research presentations on the health of military, Veterans, and their families. Their 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 the transition from military to civilian life.
A number of research themes were also explored in the pre- and post-Forum working groups: 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. Leading up to Forum17 and funded through the Queen’s International Research Leader’s Fund, Dr. Heidi Cramm convened a successful international roundtable of researchers and government representatives to compare the policy of the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada as it relates to defining military and Veteran families.
In addition to the incredible breadth of world-leading research that was shared throughout the Forum, there were a number of highlights:
- His Royal Highness Prince Harry, here in Canada for his flagship philanthropic event, the Invictus Games, came to speak at our conference.
- Dr. Celina Shirazipour, a Governor General Gold Medal award winner, and Queen’s alumni (now a post-doc at Dalhousie University) gave an incredibly poised and articulate presentation of her research on the impact of adaptive sport on recovery for those wounded both physically and psychologically through military service. She had previously been funded through CIMVHR’s Wounded Warriors Canada Doctoral Award.
- We were pleased to announce Dr. David Pedlar as the new Scientific Director of CIMVHR, as of December 1, 2017.
- The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Veterans Affairs, also joined us at the conference and spoke on the Tuesday morning.
- Six new CIMVHR Fellows were named, celebrating the diversity of research in military, Veteran, and family health across Canada.
- We witnessed fantastic engagement from students and post-doctoral fellows – Wounded Warriors Canada hosted an engagement event attended by 40 students/PDF from 20 universities and six countries.
I would like to extend a big thank you to the Interim Co-Scientific Directors of CIMVHR, Drs. Stéphanie Bélanger and Heidi Cramm and their team for putting on such a great event. Next year’s CIMVHR Forum will take place in Regina, and I know it will further build on the organization’s spectacular work in this important area of research.
Next time you are on campus, go up to Kingston Hall and visit the CIMVHR team, and on your way “down the hill” please top by the Macklem House, my door is always open.