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Turning the spotlight on military and veterans’ health

Turning the spotlight on military and veterans’ health

Queen’s and RMC are working together to spearhead the development of a national research agenda to enhance the health and well-being of more than 800,000 Canadian Forces personnel, veterans, and their families.

More than 250 academics and military experts from across Canada and around the world gathered in Kingston in November for the first Military and Veterans Health Research Forum.

Dr. Alice Aiken Dr. Alice Aiken, one of the conference organizers, is also the head of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.

“Canada is the only allied NATO nation without a national research initiative in this area,” says Associate V-P Research Susan Marlin. “Queen’s is excited to lead capacity-building in military and veteran health research to improve the health outcomes of our military personnel, veterans and their families.”

More than 20 universities and research institutions attended the two-day forum, co-hosted by Queen’s and RMC. Participants included Queen’s researchers from rehabilitation therapy, psychology, Kinesiology and Health Studies, among others.

Brig. Gen. (Retired) Bill Richard, MPA’04, was the first to suggest Kingston as a centre for treatment, research, support and care for Canada’s 850,000 military personnel, veterans and their families. He worked with Dr. Alice Aiken (Rehabilitation Therapy), a 14-year veteran of the military, to make it happen. “Kingston is the perfect place for a national network, as Queen’s and RMC have a long-standing partnership and are situated within a strong military-minded region (Canadian Forces Bases Kingston and Trenton), with the most veterans per capita in Canada,” says Aiken.

“Currently, the number of Canadian Forces casualties and the breadth of health problems arising from military operations are greater than at any time since the Korean War, but a coordinated national research program in military and veteran health hasn’t existed until now.”