CIMVHR Forum 2022

October 17 to 19 in Halifax, NS

The Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) co-hosted its 12th annual Military and Veteran Health Research Forum in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with Dalhousie University, Mount Saint Vincent University and Saint Mary’s University. Returning to an in-person format for the first time since 2019.

New to CIMVHR Forum, the Monday morning started with over 100 delegates participating in the CIMVHR and Vanier Institute Family Roundtable entitled What about families? A partnership to enhance services and supports for families of. Military, Veterans, and public safety personnel. Following the early morning session, Forum kicked off on October 17th with a panel discussion titled Culture Change: More Than Just a Checklist, which was moderated by Col (Retd) Heather Thorne-Albright, a Veteran who served in the forces for more than 39 years. Panellists included: Chief Warrant Officer Bob McCann, MMM, MSM, CD, CCWO, CPCC, Command Chief Warrant Officer, Professional Conduct and Culture, Canadian Armed Forces; Maya Eichler, PhD, Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair, Mount Saint Vincent University; Karen Davis, PhD, Defence Scientist, Director General, Military Personnel Research and Analysis, and Research Lead for the Chief, Professional Conduct and Culture, National Defence Canada; and Vaughn Charlton, Director General, Action Innovation and Modernization, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Later that day, the 2021 recipient of the Sir Frederick Banting Award, Dr. Stacey Silins, presented her keynote speech titled Making a difference: The value of lived experience research in understanding and responding to sexual misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). Dr. Silins is a Defence Scientist with the Director Research Personnel and Family Support, Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis, Military Personnel Command in the Department of National Defence, Government of Canada.

On October 18th, the plenary session featured Ms. Seileen Mullen, Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs within the U.S. Department of Defense. The keynote focused on Women in the Military: Equity and Health Equity.

On the final day of Forum, Dr. Samir Sinha delivered a keynote presentation on Addressing our Coming of Age for Canada’s Veterans. Dr. Sinha is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, the Director of Geriatrics at Sinai Health, and the University Health Network Director of Health Policy Research at the National Institute on Ageing.

CIMVHR Fellows

In 2016, CIMVHR established a fellowship initiative to recognize leading experts who demonstrate exceptional research advancements within the field of military, Veteran, and family health and well-being. This year, CIMVHR appointed one new fellow, Maya L. Roth, PhD, in recognition of her outstanding contributions to military, Veteran, and family health research in Canada, and leadership within the field.

At Forum 2022, Dr. Roth received a CIMVHR coin in recognition of her appointment as fellow. Additionally, the 2021 fellow LCol Andrew Beckett received his CIMVHR coin (Forum 2021 was held virtually). They join the group of 14 fellows supporting CIMVHR’s mission.

Maya L. Roth, PhD

2022 Fellow

Clinical Psychologist, St. Joseph’s Operational Stress Injury Clinic – Greater Toronto Site; Associate Member, Yeates School of Graduate Studies, Toronto Metropolitan University; Adjunct Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University; and Associate Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute.

LCol Andrew Beckett CD, MD

2021 Fellow

Trauma Advisor to the Surgeon General, Chief of General Surgery, Canadian Armed Forces; Assistant Professor, University of Toronto; Assistant Professor, McGill University; Medical Director, Trauma Program, St. Michael’s Hospital


On the Tuesday and Wednesday of Forum 2022, a series of workshops were held to allow participants to focus on key topics in smaller groups. The purpose of these workshops is to encourage open conversation to advance the research on these topics. The outcomes of these workshop are highlighted in the workshop reports.

Tuesday, October 18th

Psychedelic Medicine: Definitely Out of the Shadows But Is It Ready for Prime Time?

This workshop investigated the “hot topic” of psychedelic medicine, sharing a brief historic narrative and key touchpoints in the evolution of these treatments, and the psychedelic renaissance that has occurred within the past two decades using a “biopharmaceutical approach.” The session concluded with a discussion on current and future use of these approaches and their safety and efficacy.

Fatigue and Moral Injury in People of Service; Identifying and Offering Appropriate Support and Treatment to Active and Retired Members and Families

This session explored effective treatments and support for people in service suffering from fatigue, post-traumatic stress disorder, and undiagnosed moral injury. Presenters described the Ontario Police Association’s Fatigue Management Strategy, which incorporates concepts of proper sleep health, along with moral injury awareness and treatment, and access to the Sleep Disorders Centre when necessary. They also explained how treatment has been linked to a reduction in self-harm and improvement of quality of life in members, and has helped others to access programs to assist personnel and their families.

Role of the Arts in Ill and Injured CAF Members and Veterans' Recovery and Rehabilitation in Canada

Despite scholarly evidence of the positive impact of community-based creative arts, Canada does not yet have a well-developed understanding of the role of the arts in the recovery and rehabilitation of injured or ill service members, Veterans, and their families. In this workshop, facilitators leveraged the findings of academic review and lived experience insights to inform a discussion with community-based evaluators and Veteran artists for recommendations on establishing a framework for community-based arts interventions in Canada.

The Military Sexual Trauma Community of Practice: A Partnership to Promote Understanding, and Decrease the Occurrence and Effects of MST

This workshop provided the opportunity to discuss progress and key accomplishments within the Canadian Military Sexual Trauma (MST) Community of Practice, which was formed after CIMVHR’s first workshop addressing MST at Forum 2019. Applying an intersectional lens to all conversations, facilitators explained the role of community partners and of the MINDS-funded Canadian MST Network, as well as the impact of the first Canadian Virtual Symposium Series on MST, and contributions to the “Critical Conversations” meetings with CAF junior and senior leaders. Progress-to-date on goals identified in 2019 were reviewed and participants worked in breakout groups to identify knowledge gaps, new initiatives, and research topics for the upcoming year.

Wednesday, October 19th

Culture Change Meets Health and Wellness

This session focused on how culture change – a stated key priority of the Canadian Armed Forces – intersects with health and wellness in the military context. Workshop participants heard from academics, military members, military health-care professionals, and civilian health-care professionals working on issues of equity and intersectionality. They identified lessons to be learned about culture change from civilian health care, which has begun to address histories of ableism, colonialism, racism, sexism, and homophobia in its own practices. The workshop also identified best practices for ongoing culture change efforts within Canadian Forces Health Services (CFHS) and Chief Professional Conduct and Culture related to health and wellness.

Creating the Space for Military and Veteran-connected Post-secondary Education in Canada

This workshop focused on generating awareness of educational needs for military members and Veterans, evolving the Canadian Military and Veteran Friendly Campus Consortium (CMVFCC), enhancing equity across the post-secondary landscape, and leveraging expertise of group members for the benefit of those who serve and have served. Participants engaged in small group discussions to co-design a national consortium, co-authored an organizational vision, and co-created best practices, educational interventions and knowledge mobilization strategies that academically and socially support military-connected and Veteran learners.

Equity in Decision Making: The Adjudication of Sexual Dysfunction and Military Sexual Trauma at Veterans Affairs Canada

This discussion highlighted the sex and gender-inclusive approach Veteran Affairs Canada (VAC) is undertaking to ensure equity in Disability Benefits processes for Veterans. Participants learned about the main tools VAC uses to support consistent, transparent, equitable, and timely Disability Benefits decisions; the VAC Entitlement Eligibility Guidelines (EEG) and the Table of Disabilities, and the work underway to modernize these tools by applying a Sex and Gender-Based Analysis Plus (SGBA+) lens. Discussion focused on the importance of providing treatment benefits for sexual dysfunction, as part of the overall strategy for supporting Veterans suffering from military sexual trauma.

Harnessing Military and Veteran Data from Census 2021

Drawing from historical records, federal administrative data, and a new military service question on the 2021 short-form census, Statistics Canada now has a database that contains records from more than 2.7 million individuals who served over the past 100 years. This workshop explored the use of census data and the unprecedented opportunity for population health research on the military and Veteran community. It also investigated directions for future large-scale data linkages with federal and provincial administrative data in the health and socio-economic domains.

Charting Your Path Forward: A Mentoring Event for Students and Postdoctoral Fellows

This event provided students and postdoctoral fellows with formal mentoring and networking opportunities, learning and engaging with seasoned researchers in the fields of military, Veteran, and family health, as well as public safety personnel. The event included a panel discussion and a World Café-style session in which participants and panellists had smaller collaborative conversations covering relevant and important questions and topics related to developing a high-impact research career.

Forum Awards

Each year at Forum, several researchers are recognized for their significant contributions. This year’s award recipients include:

Banting Award

Awarded annually for military health research and sponsored by the True Patriot Love Foundation. The Banting Award honours Major Sir Frederick Banting- a world renowned physician, Nobel Prize winner and researcher who discovered insulin. The award recognizes high quality Canadian research that addresses military health issues.
2022 recipient

Chris Edwards, PhD (c)

University of Ottawa

For the research Does a History of Childbirth Impact Musculoskeletal Injury in Female Military Members?

Forum 2022 Abstract - p. 56

Student Research Award, sponsored by CIMVHR

Presented to the best student researcher presentation at Forum 2022.
2022 recipient

Nadine Leduc, MA

Memorial University of Newfoundland

For the research The Impact of Leadership Behaviours on the Mental Well-being of Public Safety Communicators

Forum 2022 Abstract - p. 23

The Colonel Russell Mann Award, sponsored by The Vanier Institute of the Family

The Vanier Institute’s Military and Veteran Family Initiative’s Colonel Russell Mann Award recognizes high-quality Canadian research that increases understanding of military and Veteran family health. The award is named after Colonel Russell Mann, a recognized national leader and strong voice for military and Veteran families in Canada and a key supporter of the Military and Veteran Family Initiative.
2022 recipient

Kamaldeep Gill, PhD

Queen’s University

For the research A Systematic Review of Suicidality amongst Military Family Members: Prevalence and Associated Factors

Forum 2022 Abstract - p. 7

Mental Health Research Award, sponsored by Homewood Health

An award for best presentation focusing on improving or innovating clinical mental health practice.
2022 recipient

Gia (Gaayathri) Geetha, MA

Department of National Defence; University of Ottawa

For the research Evaluation of The Road to Mental Readiness for Canadian Forces Health Services Personnel

Forum 2022 Abstract - p. 50

Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health Editors’ Choice Award, sponsored by JMVFH

Awarded to a researcher whose poster presentation at Forum 2022 made an exceptional contribution to military, Veteran, and family health research.
2022 recipient

Rebecca Gomez, MD

Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre; University of Ottawa

For the research Stellate Ganglion Block for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military Veterans and Royal Canadian Mounted Police: A Case Series

Forum 2022 Abstract - p. 98