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Queen’s researchers recognized by Governor General

Three academics honoured for their work on bullying, mental health, and the Arctic.

  • John Smol and Governor General Julie Payette
    John Smol (Biology, Environmental Studies) receives the Polar Medal from Governor General Julie Payette. Photo: Sgt Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall — at Rideau Hall.
  • Wendy Craig and Governor General Julie Payette
    Wendy Craig (Psychology) is congratulated by Governor General Julie Payette after being appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada. (Photo: Sgt Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall)
  • Heather Stuart and Governor General Julie Payette
    Heather Stuart (Public Health Sciences) is congratulated after being named a Member of the Order of Canada by Governor General Julie Payette. (Photo: Sgt Johanie Maheu, Rideau Hall)

Wendy Craig (Psychology) was named an Officer of the Order of Canada, Heather Stuart (Public Health Sciences) was named a Member of the Order of Canada, while John Smol was honoured with the Polar Medal. The Polar Medal is awarded to persons who have rendered extraordinary services in the polar regions and Canada’s North.

“Drs. Craig, Stuart and Smol are working in three important research areas that are making a difference to people across the country and around the world,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “These awards show the breadth of Queen’s research and the significance of academic work in addressing real world problems.”

Dr. Smol is one of the world’s foremost experts on environmental change. A Canada Research Chair and professor of biology and environmental studies, Dr. Smol has been at the vanguard of scientific discovery related to lake ecosystems for more than 30 years. By studying sediment cores, he determines how lakes have responded to climate change and other human stressors. His research, which includes studies on the effects of climate change in the Canadian North, has led to tangible policy changes and heightened public awareness.

“I am deeply honoured to receive this medal, although frankly the real credit must go to a very dedicated group of students and colleagues whom I have been honoured to work with over the years” Dr. Smol says. “However, there is much work left to do, as Northern Peoples and the ecosystems on which they depend are on the frontline of climatic and other environmental change.”

The Order of Canada is one of Canada’s highest civilian honours and recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.

Dr. Craig is an anti-bullying champion who promotes healthy relationships. She is recognized internationally for her research on victimization and its impact on youth. She has shown exceptional commitment to translating research into practice, notably as the co-founder of PREVNet, a national network promoting safe and healthy relationships that has engaged in knowledge mobilization projects, reaching many communities across Canada. Her expertise is sought widely, notably by the World Health Organization, the United Nations and UNICEF.

“I am truly overwhelmed by this honour,” Dr. Craig says. “I have always done my work collaboratively with fellow researchers and students and so this recognition belongs to many. I am particularly grateful for my collaboration with Dr. Debra Pepler with whom I co-founded PREVNet.”

Dr. Stuart, the Bell Mental Health and Anti-Stigma Research Chair, is a champion of mental health in Canada. She has worked tirelessly to shed light on the stigma surrounding mental illness and its impact on recovery. She is an advocate as well as a researcher, advancing the mental health conversation across the country through her instrumental roles in such national initiatives as Bell Let’s Talk and the Mental Health Commission’s anti-stigma program. Driven by compassion, she is leading the charge for Canadians to become agents of change.

“This is a tremendous honour,” Dr. Stuart says, “and one that shines a light on the importance of mental health advocacy and mental health research — two areas that are often underrepresented in the Canadian consciousness.”

For more information on the Order of Canada awards, visit the website.

Queen’s hosts Nobel Prize Laureates for sold-out public talk

International initiative will connect Nobel Laureates with students, researchers, and Queen’s community, during first Canadian tour.

Nobel Prize replica
The Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative public dialogue, featuring Nobel Laureate Martin Chalfie, will also be broadcast live on the Queen's University Facebook page.
WATCH LIVE ONLINE: Tickets to the event are sold out; however you can watch our live online broadcast on the Queen’s University Facebook page or on the Queen’s Livestream site.

For early- and mid-career scientists, the ascent toward research success is a rewarding but at times daunting climb. On Wednesday, Sept. 25, the Queen’s community will hear from two researchers who have reached one of the world’s highest academic peaks: receiving the Nobel Prize.

As part of the Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative (NPII), Nobel Laureate Martin Chalfie will visit Queen’s to engage and inspire students, staff, and faculty. Dr. Chalfie shared the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work on Green Fluorescent Protein. He will share thoughts and insights on research success during a sold-out public discussion with Canada’s Chief Science Advisor Mona Nemer, and Queen’s own Nobel Laureate Arthur B. McDonald (Physics, 2015).

Award-winning journalist and author, André Picard, will moderate the dialogue, which will be held at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts from 2-3:30 pm that day. Open to the public, the talk is the signature event of the daylong NPII visit to Queen’s – which is one of four universities hosting the initiative on its first-ever Canadian tour.

The NPII is an international outreach program that strives to connect Nobel Laureates with scientific and student communities at universities and research centres worldwide. Organized by Nobel Media, in partnership with biopharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca, the effort allows laureates to shed light on topics of interest to young scientists and the research community at large; including anything from career choices to work-life balance, or how best to communicate their research. Since 2010, the NPII has visited over 30 cities in 14 countries around the globe.

Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative
Nobel Prize Laureate Martin Chalfie.

“We are delighted to be visiting Canada with Dr. Martin Chalfie as part of the Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative. Having already taken the Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative to the next generation of scientists on five continents we know that each event brings a new sense of excitement,” says Adam Smith, Chief Scientific Officer, Nobel Media. “We look forward to a fascinating discussion at Queen’s University, where a wonderful group of panellists will be exploring the questions of critical importance to the future of science, including the correct balance between fundamental and applied research, and the factors which influence scientific success.”

Along with the public discussion, Dr. Chalfie will engage in an exclusive, roundtable talk with some of Queen’s most promising graduate and post-doctoral students, and early-career researchers.

“The Nobel Prize has been considered the highest honour for academics, so it’s truly a privilege for the Queen’s community, and particularly our student researchers, to host Dr. Chalfie and the Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative here on campus,” says Patrick Deane, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Queen’s University.

While on campus, Dr. Chalfie will also tour two cutting-edge, multi-disciplinary research and learning spaces on campus – the Beaty Water Research Centre and Ingenuity Labs at newly-opened Mitchell Hall – meeting with graduate and post-doctoral students, staff, and faculty.

Queen’s University is recognized nationally for its research and graduate studies, including attracting and retaining accomplished academics and research mentors. Among them, Nobel Laureate Arthur B. McDonald, who, together with Japanese scientist Takaaki Kajita, received the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics for demonstrating that neutrinos have mass. Stemming from this achievement, Queen’s University, alongside university and institutional partners, launched the Arthur B. McDonald Canadian Astroparticle Physics Research Institute in 2018. Supported by a $63.7 million investment from the Canadian government, the Queen’s-based institute unites researchers, theorists, technical experts, and students in an effort to understand some of the universe’s deepest mysteries.

“Queen’s demonstrates marked leadership and excellence in the area of fundamental and applied science, a reputation that has been shaped by researchers like Dr. McDonald,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “In sharing their career trials and triumphs, especially in open conversation with students and faculty, Drs. McDonald, Chalfie, and Nemer, will surely help aspiring researchers in charting their own paths to success.”

The Nobel Prize Inspiration Initiative public discussion takes place at the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts on Wednesday, Sept. 25 from 2-3:30 pm EST. Tickets are sold out. However, you can still experience the event by watching our live online broadcast on the Queen’s University Facebook page or on the Queen’s Livestream site. To join the event’s wait list or receive a reminder about the livestream, register for tickets on our Eventbrite. Don’t forget to like our Facebook page or bookmark the livestream link for additional notifications when the event goes live. 

Health Sciences creates a brand-new orientation

The first on-campus health sciences students have arrived on campus, and have already made new orientation traditions.

Photo of Health Sciences orientation event
First-year Bachelor of Health Sciences students celebrating orientation week.

Queen’s is known for its colourful and proud orientation week. Each faculty or program has its own set of colours, chants, and traditions that welcome new students to the university every fall. But one group of students this year is experiencing a brand-new orientation: the incoming Bachelor of Health Sciences (BHSc) students.

The BHSc launched as an online program in 2016, and this fall has started offering a full-time on-campus program as well. The program received over 4,000 applications for its first cohort and has admitted approximately 125 students. Housed in the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS), the BHSc is a course of study that prepares undergraduate students to pursue a career in health professions, such as medicine, physical therapy, and pharmacy.

As it prepared for this new group of students, FHS needed to create a new orientation to usher them into life at Queen’s.

This situation, however, presented an obstacle. Normally, faculty orientations at Queen’s are led by upper-year students in those programs. Each orientation has an orientation chair, a student who oversees the organization of all activities. But, as a new program, the on-campus BHSc did not have any upper-year students to choose from to be their orientation chair.

To fill this role, the program put out a call to upper year students interested in leading this initiative. Elle Mackenzie, a fourth-year Life Sciences student who had served as an executive for the NEWTS orientation in 2018, was selected and has provided exemplary leadership.  While her prior experience had taught Mackenzie about the work that goes into organizing a series of events, the BHSc posed a new challenge: figuring out how to build an orientation from scratch.

Early on, Mackenzie ran into questions that no one at Queen’s had needed to ask for over a decade. How do you set up a bank account for an orientation group? How do you order tams with a new colour scheme? What name do you choose for orientation leaders?

As Mackenzie started to deal with these issues, she found that she had a large support network to rely on. The members of the Orientation Roundtable, the group that coordinates orientation activities across the university, were especially helpful. She also had the help of administrators in the BHSc program as well as the rest of the team of student organizers, which includes the Health Sciences Executive Committee and the orientation leaders.   

Working together, the Health Sciences Orientation team has developed a program that introduces new health sciences students to academics, social life, and community outreach at Queen’s. The new orientation also mixes some traditional Queen’s events, like coverall painting, with innovative activities. Let’s Get Scrambled, for example, mixed the students into different teams to take part in a game of capture the flag where the flags are eggs.

To introduce students to the innovative format of classes in the BHSc program, the orientation featured a mock lecture. The on-campus Bachelor of Health Sciences program is taught in an innovative flipped classroom format, in which students are asked to actively engage with concepts in class. The mock lecture, then, was an opportunity for students to get used to the kinds of activities they will be doing in their courses.

Getting involved in the Queen’s spirit of community outreach, the new health sciences students also ran a charity fashion show for Supporting Diabetes Canada. The students brought clothes from home to donate for a fashion show, in which they mixed and matched all the garments to create entertaining outfits, which they then modeled for the group. Representatives from Supporting Diabetes Canada attended the fashion show, taught the students about their organization, and then accepted the donated garments after the event.

Despite all the work that they have put into this year’s program, the organizers have also been keeping in mind that the Health Sciences Orientation will need room to evolve as students from the BHSc program gradually take it over in the coming years.

“We wanted to give health sciences students a solid foundation to build on, but we also wanted to make them feel a sense of ownership over their orientation,” says Mackenzie. “I think we’re all looking forward to seeing how these students put their own stamp on things in the future.”

Getting to know the Class of 2023

This group of incoming students come from across Canada and around the world.

[Queen's students take part in  orientation]
Incoming first-year students share a laugh during the Queen's Welcomes U event on Saturday, Aug. 31. (Photo by Bernard Clark / Queen's University)

The undergraduate Class of 2023 is now on campus, and they are already adding vibrancy and diversity to Queen’s. In this new class, there are more than 4,600 students from all 10 provinces and three territories in Canada as well as students from 49 countries around the world. Queen’s and Kingston continue to be a destination of choice for international students who this year will make up more than 14% of incoming undergraduates.

The overall average of the incoming class is 89.5 per cent and students are entering a wide range of programs; two-thirds are in the Faculty of Arts and Science; 17 per cent are in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science; 10 per cent of students are in the Smith School of Business and five per cent in the Faculty of Health Sciences, which is welcoming its first on-campus cohort to the Bachelor of Health Sciences program.

Additionally, more than 100 Arts and Science students will be spending their first year at the Bader International Study Centre in East Sussex, England. This group will be joining their classmates in Kingston next September to complete the remainder of their studies.

Grant supports research into pain-relieving drugs for bowel disease

Three-year research project to determine effectiveness of new opioid drugs in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease.

[Dr. Stephen Vanner by Matthew Manor]
Dr. Stephen Vanner has received funding  to lead a three-year research project to determine the effectiveness of new opioid drugs in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). (Photo by Matthew Manor)

Stephen Vanner, a clinician-scientist with Queen’s University and the Kingston Health Sciences Centre, has received funding to lead a three-year research project to determine the effectiveness of new opioid drugs in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

One of the greatest unmet needs of patients with IBD is abdominal pain. Current opioid drugs are the most effective treatment, but they have serious side effects. However, new opioid drugs now in development offer longer-lasting pain relief with minimal side effects.

Dr. Vanner, Director of the Gastrointestinal Diseases Research Unit at Kingston Health Sciences Centre and a professor of the Queen’s School of Medicine, has been awarded $375,000 from Crohn’s and Colitis Canada to support early-stage laboratory research that will look at delivering these opioids to specific targets in pain-sensing nerves to reduce pain while mitigating side effects of opioids.

One of the drugs inhibits these pain-sensing nerves in a unique way that leads to sustained pain relief. Another targets these nerves only in inflamed tissues.

“These particular drugs should have no effect on normal tissues, so they could limit or even prevent side effects,” Dr. Vanner says.

This research builds on a large body of earlier IBD work by Dr. Vanner’s group into pain-signalling pathways that suggest these strategies will be effective.

“If these approaches work, the next step could be clinical trials in patients,” he says.

Approximately 1,100 Kingstonians live with IBD, according to Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, and the number of Canadians with this disease is expected to jump from 270,000 to more than 400,000 by 2030. Canada has the highest rate of IBD in the world.

This article was first published on the KGH Research Institute website

Mobilizing international academics

Program at Queen’s University welcomes scholars from around the world to work in collaboration with local researchers.

Top row left to right: Lévis Kahandukya Nyavanda, Nuworza Kugbey, Ryenchindorj Erkhembayar. Bottom row left to right: Phidelia Doegah, Munkhzaya Mandakh, Masauso Chirwa, Gantuya Dorj

Seven international scholars travelled to Canada this summer to participate in the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program and work with researchers based at Queen’s University. Hailing from Mongolia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, and Ghana the team is working to address factors that contribute to maternal and child health inequities among disadvantaged groups within the Kingston area.

Their work will result in new research dedicated to understanding barriers to accessing maternal and child health among equity-seeking groups; strategies for addressing these barriers; development of a network focused on equity, and improved research capacity and strengthened relationships in and across all partner institutions.

The aim of the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program is to mobilize a community of young global researchers through inter-cultural exchanges comprising international education, discovery and inquiry, and professional experiences so they can bring those experiences back to their home countries.

Ryenchindorj Erkhembayar (l) and Lévis Kahandukya Nyavanda work together on a project.

“The program is very useful and for me as a lecturer and researcher,” says Munkzaya Mandakh, a PhD candidate from Mongolia. “First off, I have strengthened my command of the English language, then I have enhanced my knowledge studying in a developed country like Canada. For me it was the personalized approach of training and responsiveness of all staff to the needs of each trainee which I think are unique characteristics of Queen’s.”

At Queen’s, the QE Scholars are hosted by ARCH -  A Research Collaborative for Global Health Equity  which includes Queen’s professors Heather Aldersey, Eva Purkey, Colleen Davison, and Susan Bartels.

 “The QES project has presented amazing opportunities for collaboration with international partners,” Dr. Purkey says. “It has built my own research capabilities and allowed me to practice mentoring colleagues across cultures and geographic locations. It is my hope that this will produce ongoing partnerships not only with existing scholars, but with their institutions, as well as possibilities for further network development.”

The group has been working with the Street Health Centre in Kingston. The facility is a 365-days-a-year harm reduction health centre that specializes in providing accessible, responsive, health services to communities that are marginalized from mainstream healthcare services. 

Along with academic work (l to r) Phidelia Doegah, Nuworza Kugbey, Masauso Chirwa, Lévis Kahandukya Nyavanda enjoyed their first strawberry picking trip.

“Having QES scholars and mentors has been an amazing opportunity for Street Health Centre,” says Meredith MacKenzie, who works at the centre. “This has given us a chance to have resources to investigate some growing areas of practice that may influence policy and program development for clients in Kingston.”

Leaving at the end of August, the scholars have received a number of benefits from their time at Queen’s and in Kingston.

“Most importantly I have gained the knowledge of writing winnable grant proposals and the professional networks I have formed will definitely be very important for my career development,” says Masauso Chirwa, a scholar from Zambia. “I have received tremendous support from Queen’s, an ideal place for professional development through seminars and paper presentations. I’m the coordinator for postgraduate studies in my home country, thus, this will give me a platform to share the acquired knowledge not only with the academic staff but also postgraduate students.”

Learn more about the Queen Elizabeth Scholars program.

Investing in cutting-edge tools and infrastructure for research

The Canada Foundation for Innovation’s John R. Evans Leaders Fund awards $2.65 million to advance research projects at Queen’s.

Sixteen researchers at Queen’s University have secured $2.65 million in funding in the latest round of the Canada Foundation for Innovation’s (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF). At an event at the University of Alberta, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced over $61 million in funding for state-of-the-art research labs and equipment nationwide.

The John R. Evans Leaders Fund helps exceptional researchers at universities across the country conduct leading-edge research by giving them the tools and equipment they need to become leaders in their fields.

The Queen’s funded projects will support the acquisition of infrastructure and development of tools that will advance research in myriad areas – from enhanced treatment for brain tumours to the seismic behaviour of concrete slabs to advancing the search for the elusive dark matter.

“Thanks to the support and critical investment of CFI, Queen’s researchers will have the tools and infrastructure they need to further their work in areas that have a direct impact on how we live and understand the world around us," says Kent Novakowski, Acting Vice-Principal (Research). “We look forward to seeing these projects progress.”

The successful researchers include:

  • Fady Abdelaal (Civil Engineering) - $200,000
  • Muhammad Alam (Electrical and Computer Engineering) - $125,000
  • Ryan Alkins (Surgery) - $150,000
  • Levente Balogh (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) - $200,000
  • Chantelle Capicciotti (Chemistry, Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, and Surgery) - $150,000
  • Aikaterini Genikomsou (Civil Engineering) - $150,000
  • Guillaume Giroux (Physics) - $200,000
  • Anna Harrison (Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering) - $150,000
  • Felicia Maria Magpantay (Mathematics and Statistics) - $150,000
  • Suraj Persaud (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) - $125,000
  • Heidi-Lynn Ploeg (Mechanical and Materials Engineering) - $200,000
  • Jessica Selinger (Kinesiology and Health Studies) - $150,000
  • Laura Thompson (Geography and Planning) - $100,000
  • Anita Tusche (Economics) - $100,000
  • Sari van Anders (Psychology) - $250,000
  • Peng Wang (Chemistry) - $200,000

“Ask any researcher in Canada, and they will tell you that you can’t do the best science if you don’t have the best tools,” says Minister Duncan. “I am thrilled to announce funding for the infrastructure needs of Canadian researchers. Their ground-breaking contributions to science and research have an enormous impact on the breakthroughs that help make our visions for a better future of Canada a reality.”

For more information on the program and for a full list of funded projects, visit the John R. Evans Leaders Fund website.

Membership of Principal's Advisory Committee, Faculty of Health Sciences

On behalf of Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane, Tom Harris, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) has announced the membership of the committee that will advise him on the deanship, and the present state and future prospects of the Faculty of Health Sciences.


Denis Bourguignon - Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, Faculty of Health Sciences

Barbara Crow - Dean, Faculty of Arts and Science

Anne Ellis - Professor, Department of Medicine and cross-appointment to the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences

Dale Engen - Clinical Teachers’ Association of Queen’s President, Assistant Professor Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine

Marcia Finlayson - Vice-Dean (Health Sciences) and Director, Rehabilitation Therapy

Leslie Flynn - Vice-Dean, Education, Faculty of Health Sciences

Tom Harris (Co-Chair) - Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic)

Kanonhsyonne (Janice Hill) - Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation)

Jasmine Khan - MD/PhD Student

David Pichora - President and Chief Executive Officer, Kingston Health Sciences Centre

Stephanie Simpson - Associate Vice-Principal (Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion)

Steven Smith - Director of Research, Faculty of Health Sciences and Professor, Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences

Erna Snelgrove-Clarke - Vice-Dean (Health Sciences) and Director, School of Nursing Designate

Lori Stewart (Secretary) - Executive Director, Office of the Provost and Vice Principal (Academic)

Cathy Szabo - Chief Executive Officer, Providence Care

Chandrakant Tayade - Associate Dean, Graduate and Postdoctoral Education, Faculty of Health Sciences

George Thomson (Co-Chair) - Southeastern Ontario Academic Medical Organization, Board Chair

Alex Troiani - Nursing Science Society Senator

Kim Woodhouse - Vice-Principal (Research)

Principal Deane would like to extend his thanks to the members of this committee for their willingness to serve.

Working towards equity

Women in Science Queen’s (WiSQ) is the second Employee Resource Group at Queen's University.

[Women in Science Queen's team]
The organizational team for Women in Science Queen's, includes, from left: Tiziana Cotechini, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Science; Kimberly Dunham-Snary, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Medicine;  Elahe Alizadeh, scientist at Queen’s Cardiopulmonary Unit (QCPU); Patricia Lima, adjunct assistant professor at QCPU; and Caroline F. Pukall, professor, Department of Psychology and Biomedical and Molecular Sciences.

Women in Science Queen’s (WiSQ), Queen’s University’s second Employee Resource Group, recently wrapped up a successful first series of events, including hosting meetings to discuss issues of equity, career development, and work-life balance.

The group is the brainchild of Patricia Lima, adjunct assistant professor in the Queen’s Cardiopulmonary Unit (QCPU), who was looking to help other women as they explore and build upon their careers at Queen’s while at the same time helping foster equity within science.

Initially uncertain of the response she would receive, Dr. Lima, says the support she has received throughout the process – from her supervisor Dr. Stephen Archer to the Human Rights and Equity Office – has been extremely encouraging.

Driven to help others, Dr. Lima, who also happens to be a volunteer firefighter, set up the group to help women in various stages of their science careers at Queen’s feel empowered while also connecting them with available resources.

“The idea was to have a discussion group where we would meet on a monthly basis with the objective of motivating, encouraging, and supporting women in science or research-related careers at Queen’s,” she says. “What I had in my mind was, first, it had to be an open environment; second, although it is a women’s group, everybody should feel welcome, friendly; and third is that it should be a mentored environment.”

Other goals include promoting discussions about gender bias in science; incentivizing the active participation and leadership of women; and establishing a visible, equitable, diverse and inclusive community promoting the development and retention of women across all scientific disciplines.

“The collaborative approach that has been taken in creating WiSQ is very encouraging and their initial success shows what can happen when someone or a team takes the initiative to make a difference at the university,” says Teri Shearer, Deputy Provost (Academic Operations and Inclusion). “Through the support of ERGs Queen’s continues to build a campus that embraces diversity and empower all members of our community to thrive.”

Previous to her arrival at Queen’s, Dr. Lima had participated in a similar group as a post-doc at University of Ottawa. She found that the support came at an important time in her career and she wanted to bring that opportunity to others at Queen’s.

Her chance to make a difference arrived during a performance review at QCPU with Dr. Archer.

“During the performance review, Dr. Archer asked what I thought could make the work environment better. When he asked that I could not resist,” Dr. Lima recalls. “I explained the idea and I said that I was willing to step up to lead this. He loved the idea and green-lighted it.”

As a follow-up, Dr. Lima then met with Equity Advisor Heidi Penning who provided direction on how to get the ERG up and running as well as some further encouragement.

“That changed a lot of things inside me,” Dr. Lima says. “I left her office and, I know that this is just a small group, but I had the feeling that I could change the world.”

Over the next month Dr. Lima focused on recruiting an organizational team with a range backgrounds and skills, including staff, students and faculty members, to ensure a diversity of viewpoints and experiences.

Currently, the WiSQ team includes: Dr. Kimberly Dunham-Snary, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Medicine; Dr. Tiziana Cotechini, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Science; Dr. Elahe Alizadeh, scientist at QCPU, Whitney Montgomery, operations manager at the QCPU; and faculty advisor Dr. Caroline F. Pukall, a professor at the Department of Psychology and Biomedical and Molecular Sciences).

“WiSQ would not be here if we did not have this great group of committed and motivating women,” Dr. Lima says.

A series of five meetings, featuring guest speakers or discussion groups, were held over the winter term and another five are set for the fall term.

At the midway point, Dr. Lima is encouraged by the response.

“I really do think it is helping. It is reaching more people than I expected,” she says. “It’s independent of gender. We don’t have only women attending. What I hoped would happen with the group is happening. You have students, you have staff, you have faculty members in the same room discussing life matters, discussing how to become better, how to be more competitive, how to deal with transition situations, how to promote retention of women at Queen’s. I think that is pretty special, to be able to put those people together.”

The Employee Resource Groups initiative was developed as a way to promote the career development of equity seeking groups on campus. The first group, Queen’s Women’s Network – previously known as Young Women at Queen’s – was launched in 2015 and continues to play an important role at the university.

Contact WiSQ by email to learn more about the group or to become a member.

Research institute receives critical funding

The Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research receives $25 million over 10 years to facilitate veteran research.

  • [CIMVHR funding announcement]
    A total of $25 million in funding was announced for the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research. From left: Rosemary Park, Servicewomen’s Salute – Hommage aux Femmes Militaires Canada Lead; David Pedlar, Scientific Director, CIMVHR; Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence; Walter Natynczyk, former Chief of the Defence Staff; Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane; Harry Kowal, Principal, Royal Military College of Canada; Yvonne Cooper, Executive Director, CIMVHR. (University Communications)
  • [CIMVHR funding announcement]
    Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence Lawrence MacAulay speaks about the important role that CIMVHR plays for military members and veterans. (University Communications)
  • [CIMVHR funding announcement]
    Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane speaks during the funding announcement for CIMVHR at Mitchell Hall on Wednesday, July 10. (University Communications)
  • [CIMVHR funding announcement]
    CIMVHR Scientific Director David Pedlar speaks about the importance of the research and partnerships for CIMVHR during the funding announcement at Mitchell Hall. (University Communications)

The Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) and Queen’s University welcomed the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, to campus on Wednesday, where he announced a $25 million investment over 10 years to support the institution’s research activities.

“Queen’s is pleased to see the Government of Canada commit long-term operational funding for CIMVHR – allowing the institute to continue its important research and knowledge translation aimed at improving health outcomes for Canada’s veterans and their families,” says Principal and Vice-Chancellor Patrick Deane. “The university has long been supportive of the institute’s goals and objectives.”

Minister MacAulay also announced $250,000 in funding from the Veteran and Family Well-Being Fund to create a Servicewomen’s Salute Online Portal for Research and Resources. Queen’s Professor Allan English (History) is heading up the program and the new funding will flow through the Queen’s Centre for International and Defence Policy.

“Meeting the health needs of those who served in Canada’s armed forces depends on access to leading scientific research in the military and veteran health field,” says Minister MacAulay. “Queen’s University has been an invaluable asset to our veteran community in this regard, both in terms of the work they’ve done for CIMVHR and Servicewomen’s Salute. Continued collaboration between all stakeholders in this area benefits not only military members, veterans and their families — but Canada as a whole.”

Founded in 2010 as a partnership between researchers at Queen’s and the Royal Military College of Canada, CIMVHR at Queen’s has built a network of 45 Canadian universities that are working together to address the health research requirements of the Canadian military, veterans, and their families. To date, CIMVHR has funded 78 projects aimed at advancing the health of military personnel, veterans, and their families.

“Multi-institution partnerships – such as CIMVHR – bring together leading researchers from across Canada and around the globe to address some of our most pressing challenges,” says Kimberly Woodhouse, Interim Vice-Principal (Research). “These partnerships are incredibly valuable and add another dimension to critical research projects. Queen’s is proud to play a part in these valuable partnerships.”

Funding for CIMVHR was proposed as part of a larger push for veteran-centric research in the federal Budget 2019 announcement.

“CIMVHR has worked tirelessly to build a collaborative network between academia, government, industry and philanthropy to advance research in the area of military, veteran and family health and wellbeing,” says David Pedlar, Scientific Director, CIMVHR. “Recognizing the importance of research and the impact it has on those who so selflessly serve, and their families, this Government of Canada funding will continue to strengthen the foundation for CIMVHR to continue leading the way for the next ten years. We are honoured to continue serving those who serve us.”

As for the new Servicewomen’s Salute online portal, the five-year project is designed to support female veterans and still-serving members transitioning out of the Canadian military to live in Canadian communities.

“Research has shown that one in four Canadian Armed Forces members will have trouble transitioning from military to civilian life—this is particularly true for women in uniform,” says Dr. English, Associate Professor, Department of History, and Lieutenant-Commander (Ret’d) Rosemary Park, MSc CD Servicewomen’s Salute – Hommage aux Femmes Militaires Canada Lead. “A robust and customized research and community resource of information, research, support, and engagement for Canadian military women would help servicewomen navigate their transitions more easily.”

Research done by CIMVHR is used by departmental decision and policy makers, program planners, health managers, clinicians, and other stakeholders as they support the physical, mental, and social health of veterans and their families.

For more information visit the CIMVHR website.


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