Canadian academics are sharing research at an Edmonton forum into the health care of military personnel, veterans and their families.
The Military and Veteran Health Research (MVHR) forum kicked off Monday inside the downtown Westin Hotel with over 400 health care researchers in attendance. It’s the first time in its four years that the forum has been held in western Canada.
“The University of Alberta was one of the first to partner with us and they’ve got a great program in military and veteran health research and so they offered to co-host with us this year,” explained Dr. Alice Aiken, director of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR).
“It’s really important that we finally recognize that military families and our veterans are a unique segment of society that requires direct research in Canada.”
There are 23 new research studies currently being conducted for CIMVHR at 19 different Canadian universities, Aiken said, with Queen’s University in Ontario leading the initiative.
Over 125 researchers will host workshops and information sessions over the week on topics ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder treatments to traumatic brain injury studies to the transition from military service to civilian life.
CIMVHR’s goal is to create a co-ordinated forum for knowledge translation, networking and collaboration on health research for military personnel, something that hasn’t always been done.
As Canada’s Surgeon General and Commander of Canadian Forces Health Services Group, Brig.-Gen. Jean-Robert Bernier said the forum is “critical” as it focuses explicitly on military personnel and their families.
“It’s the greatest thing because forever there’s been a great desire in the civilian academic community to support the armed forces; over the years there’s been continuous input and offers to conduct research for us but it was always disjointed and sometimes difficult to manage,” he said.
“It’s an unprecedented success to see all these universities who typically are in competition working together for a very noble cause.”
Brig-Gen. Bernier said physical trauma and mental health are “big issues” that armed forces deal with and he’s anxious to see what research is being explored.
— MATT DYKSTRA, Sun Media News Services