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Journal pushes boundaries of military health research

The Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) has launched an academic journal, the first publication of its kind in Canada to disseminate the work of researchers, policy makers and program developers in this research field.  

The Journal for Military, Veteran and Family Health (JMVFH) launched in late February after two years of preparation. Before, CIMVHR was publishing studies by affiliated researchers in a series of books.

“JMVFH will provide cutting-edge research to fellow researchers, policy makers, program developers and clinicians working to address particular challenges relevant to the health and well-being of military personnel, veterans and their families,” says Alice Aiken, editor-in-chief of JMVFH and director of CIMVHR.

JMVFH will provide the multi-disciplinary approach needed to address the complex needs of Canada’s military and veteran populations.

“Our journal brings a much broader perspective to the issues encountered by the beneficiary populations by harnessing the capacity of a far more interdisciplinary group of researchers than any other academic journal in this area,” says Dr. Aiken, a professor in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queen’s. “Additionally, this is the first journal to mention ‘military, veteran and family health’ in its title.”

Thanks to its roots in CIMVHR, JMVFH’s research perspective is rich, with more than 1,000 researchers from more than 35 universities and relevant federal government departments able to contribute research.

“Our journal brings a much broader perspective to the issues encountered by the beneficiary populations by harnessing the capacity of a far more interdisciplinary group of researchers than any other academic journal in this area.”
- Dr. Alice Aiken

Alyson Mahar, a PhD candidate in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Queen’s, is one of the first partnering researchers to have her study published in JMVFH. The preliminary results from her initiative to study the health and health care of Canadian Forces veterans in Ontario appear in the first issue of the journal.

When individuals leave the military, they stop receiving highly specialized health care provided by the Canadian Armed Forces and must reapply for provincial health care. Ms. Mahar has identified an indicator on health card applications in Ontario that will allow her to study the health care provided to veterans from the time they enroll in the provincial system, using longitudinal population-based, health care administrative data.

“I will be able to analyze things like rates of disease, how these diseases are treated, and why people are going to emergency rooms,” Ms. Mahar says. “I’m interested in groups of people who could be at risk for different health outcomes than the general population. This is the first research into health outcomes using cohort data for Canadian veterans.”

Ms. Mahar hopes that these new data will help identify the needed health-care action for Canadian veterans.

To read the first edition of the JMVFH, please follow this link.