CIMVHR Virtual Forum 2021
September 29 to October 28
CIMVHR’s Annual Forum is an opportunity for thought leaders from government, academia, industry, and philanthropic sectors to gather and present new research, exchange ideas, share insight, learn, and collaborate. The event is a culmination of the past year’s research and knowledge translation achievements and an opportunity to showcase the incredible work being done in support of new and ongoing military, Veteran, and family health research.
Due to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic at the time, CIMVHR hosted its 2021 Forum in an alternative, fully digital format that featured five keynote presentations, more than 130 research presentations (chosen from 192 submissions), and an awards ceremony, held over a month-long period. The agenda offered a high-quality and diverse cross-section of military, Veteran, family, and public safety personnel health research from across Canada and around the world, brought together under the guidance of the CIMVHR Forum Scientific Committee co-chairs, Drs. David Pedlar, Dianne Groll, and James Thompson.
While CIMVHR always looks forward to in-person events, the virtual option allowed for flexibility and the chance for participants across many locations to attend. Overall, more than 980 people attended the live virtual events, and the recorded presentations attracted more than 1,750 views online.
September 29, 2021
Forum 2021’s launch event featured remarks from Major-General Marc Bilodeau, Surgeon General of the Canadian Armed Forces, who recognized CIMVHR’s outstanding work over the past decade. Dr. Ruth Lanius, Professor at Western University and recipient of the Sir Frederick Banting Award at Forum 2019, followed with a keynote presentation about moral injury, titled Moral Injury Wounds Run Deep: Implications for Treatment.
Paul Ledwell, newly appointed Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs Canada, addressed the delegation as well, thanking CIMVHR and researchers for their efforts and collaborations that will impact serving military members and Veterans. Dr. David Pedlar, CIMVHR Scientific Director, also took the opportunity to announce the newest CIMVHR Fellow, Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Beckett.
Throughout October, CIMVHR held four half-day events for Forum 2021, focused on the themes of Serving Military; Veterans; Family and Serving Military; and Public Safety Personnel and Veterans. Each session featured a keynote speaker, followed by research presentations by experts within each population stream. Over the course of the month, attendees heard 64 oral presentations.
In addition, a virtual poster session on October 5th hosted 64 research presentations, with researchers and attendees communicating through chat boxes to discuss their research. The Student and Post-doctoral Engagement Committee (SPEC) also hosted their annual networking event virtually, bringing together emerging researchers to gather, connect, and learn about each others’ work.
Moral Injury Wounds Run Deep: Implications for Treatment
Ruth Lanius, MD, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Harris-Woodman Chair, Schulich School of Medicine, Western University of Canada
Dr. Lanius discussed Moral Injury (MI), a condition that has emerged out of research into post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and stems from events that violate deeply held moral/social norms or from witnessing a trusted other making such transgressions. Dr. Lanius explained how MI occurs, its brain/body manifestations, along with emerging interventions around diagnosis and treatment.
CIMVHR Virtual Forum Awards
Colonel Russell Mann Military Family Health Research Award
Lynda Manser, M.A, for the research The State of Military Families in Canada: A Scoping Review and for Relocation Experiences: The Experiences of Military Families with Relocations Due to Postings – Survey Results, as well as for her subsequent knowledge mobilization efforts. This research, along with her work on Services for Military and Veteran Families: The 2020+ Strategic Framework.
The scholarships and award ceremony was also held during the launch of CIMVHR Virtual Forum for the Dr. Mark Zamorski Award, the Wounded Warriors Doctoral Scholarship in Military and Veteran Health Research, and the Royal Canadian Legion Master’s Scholarship in Veteran Health Research. Learn more about the recipients’ research
October 7, 2021
The UK Defence Medical Services Post COVID-19 Recovery, Rehabilitation and Research Programme
Group Captain (Gp Capt) Alex Bennett, PhD, Professor of Rheumatology and Rehabilitation Medicine, Research and Clinical Innovation, HQ Joint Medical Group, Academic Department of Military Rehabilitation, DMRC, and Lieutenant-Colonel (LCol) David Holdsworth, MA, DPhil, Consultant Cardiologist and General Physician, Clinical Lead DMS COVID-19 Recovery Service (DCRS)
Gp Capt Bennett and LCol Holdsworth highlighted the significant impact of COVID-19 on military service personnel in the UK, and the rapid establishment of a new rehabilitation service, a new recovery and assessment service, and a new research program, which all needed to work hand in hand. They discussed how the rehabilitation pathway provides significant evidence-based data to system planners on how to improve the lives of post-COVID survivors in the military, public safety personnel, and broader populations.
October 14, 2021
Providing Care for Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma
Amy Street, PhD, Deputy Director, Women’s Health Sciences Division, National Centre for PTSD, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Dr. Street discussed the issue and prevalence of sexual misconduct in the military, highlighting the “continuum of harm” regarding many different behaviours related to sexual harassment and assault, which sets the stage for more severe sexual trauma events to occur. She explained treatments for survivors and the ongoing need for tracking sexual trauma cases to evaluate how it can be reduced through advocacy and programming.
Families and Serving Military
October 21, 2021
The Many Faces of Family in the Time of COVID-19
Jennifer E.C. Lee, PhD, Acting Director of Research on Personnel and Family Support, Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis
Dr. Lee shared insights into the evolving and diverse nature of families and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) family trends, with a focus on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and future directions, including the need for more inclusive policies and programs.
The Student and Postdoctoral Engagement Committee (SPEC)
The Student and Postdoctoral Engagement Committee (SPEC) is a group of engaged researchers dedicated to supporting the professional development of graduate and postdoctoral students working in the area of military, Veteran, public safety personnel, and family health research. With the goal of maintaining and expanding this field of research, the committee provides support and encouragement to trainees and students entering and already involved in the field and for the entirety of their academic journey.
CIMVHR Virtual Forum Networking Event – October 21, 2021
SPEC hosted their annual networking social in a virtual format this year. This event was designed to allow emerging researchers to network and connect.
Public Safety Personnel and Veterans
October 28, 2021
Innovations in the Treatment of PTSD: From Psychedelics to Virtual Reality
Barbara O. Rothbaum, PhD, ABPP, Professor in Psychiatry, Director, Trauma and Anxiety Recovery Program, Paul A. Janssen Chair in Neuropsychopharmacology, Associate Vice Chair of Clinical Research, School of Medicine
Dr. Rothbaum shared the findings of a series of studies providing new insights and innovations in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She highlighted different treatment types, ranging from traditional evidence-based interventions to newer therapies, including virtual reality and psychedelics.