Research Theme Working Groups

CIMVHR Forum 2017 will have 5 Research Theme Working Groups available to all registered Forum attendees. New to Forum, the series of working groups will be taking place both pre- forum and post forum with the purpose of allowing participants to discuss and collaborate on the 5 themed areas (pre-forum) and then revisit these themes and determine next steps (post-forum). Each session will provide an excellent setting for collaboration and discussion with researchers across science, policy and practice who are interested in exploring the art of the possible. Subject matter experts, with relevant insight and experience in the theme areas, will help prompt engaged stakeholders to explore key issues relevant to the CIMVHR Network.


  • PRE-Forum working groups: Sunday, September 24, 2017 from 2PM-5PM
  • POST-Forum working groups: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 from 1:30PM-4:30PM


The Research Theme Working Group sessions are offered to registered Forum 2017 delegates only.

Registration fee per attendee: $45

This cost covers both the pre and post workshops and is an additional fee to Forum registration. No discount will be applied if the attendee can only attend one of the working groups.

You will find the direct link to register for any of the 5 Research Theme Working Groups directly following your Forum registration. The link will also be included in your confirmation email.

Click here to register for CIMVHR Forum 2017



  1. Cannabis for medical use: Exploring risks and possibilities
  2. Towards a better understanding of how and when musculoskeletal injuries occur – aiming for more effective preventative strategies
  3. Culture and diversity in relation to the mental and physical health of military personnel
  4. Transition and the family
  5. Contemporary research with public safety personnel

Cannabis for medical use: Exploring risks and possibilities

The aim of this research theme working group is to bring together scientists, clinicians, policy makers and other stakeholders for a meaningful exploration of this very important topic. We will discuss the biology of the endocannabinoid system and to what extent it suggests a role for endogenous and perhaps exogenous endocannabinoids in the modulation of conditions such as PTSD. We will consider the known adverse effects of marijuana in both clinical and nonclinical populations. We will briefly explore the clinical uses of marijuana in other areas-pain, glaucoma etc. We will share current and planned studies looking at cannabis in the treatment of PTSD and clinical experience to date.


J D Richardson, MD, FRCPC
Consultant psychiatrist, Physician Clinical Lead, Parkwood Operational Stress Injury Clinic, Associate Professor - Dept. of Psychiatry, Western University, Assistant Clinical Professor - Dept. of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience- McMaster University, Parkwood Institute- St. Joseph's Health Care London
Col Rakesh Jetly OMM,CD,MD,FRCPC
Associate professor of psychiatry at Dalhousie University; Queen’s University; University of Ottawa.

Towards a better understanding of how and when musculoskeletal injuries occur – aiming for more effective preventative strategies

Musculoskeletal injuries remain the leading cause of Canadian Armed Forces members being unable to deploy, and the most prevalent reason for medical discharges. Part of the reason these types of injuries are so prevalent is the definition for a musculoskeletal injury is extremely broad. This broad definition is problematic because it makes efforts to track and report musculoskeletal injuries an enormous challenge. Consequently, the current data available to clinicians, scientists, and other health care professionals tasked with developing effective interventions aimed at preventing musculoskeletal injuries is lacking. The goal of this session is to provide a forum for discussion of past and current methods of injury tracking and reporting, along with current injury prevention strategies and interventions. The session will also explore the intimate relationship between mental health conditions and physical injury/chronic pain and how this may potentially be skewing our perception as to what the true causes of persistent physical dysfunction might be. The hope is that by discussing injury tracking alongside prevention strategies and interventions, we may identify gaps in current tracking methods. Once we fill the gaps, it follows that more effective prevention strategies and interventions may be developed.


LCol Markus Besemann
Head of Rehabilitation Medicine, CF HS Gp HQ Department of National Defence, Government of Canada
Dr. Thomas Karakolis
Defence Scientist at Defence Research and Development Canada
Dr. Ryan Graham
Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa

Culture and diversity in relation to the mental and physical health of military personnel

This session will examine critical factors relating to culture and diversity in military organizations and their impact on the mental and physical health of military personnel and make recommendations for further research and collaboration in this area.

This session will begin with activities that give participants insights into diverse ways of defining and studying culture. Then, in small groups, participants will work with subject matter experts to discuss sub-themes such as, but not limited to: Culture Change and Diversity; Organizational Change and Diversity; Transition and Diversity; Spirituality and Culture; Gender and military culture; Languages and military culture; Visible minorities and military culture; Aboriginal culture and the Armed Forces, Disabilities and military culture; Moral injuries; etc.

The overarching goal: a better understand the impact of culture and diversity on the health and well-being of serving and transitioning members.


Dr. Allan English
Associate Professor of History, Queen's University
Dr. Stéphanie Bélanger, CD
Professor, Royal Military College of Canada, Interim Co-Scientific Director, Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research

Transition and the family

This session engages researchers, government scientists, policy makers, and military and Veteran family service providers to:

  • Review current research examining families’ experiences through the military-to-civilian transition;
  • Discuss current programs and policies focusing on supports for families through transition;
  • Identify barriers and facilitators to ongoing development in research theory, and practice pertinent to the role of families through the military-to-civilian transition.

A panel of experts will outline current developments in research, policy, and service provision through a series of presentations, followed by small and larger group breakout discussion.


Dr. Deborah Norris
Chair and Associate Professor within the Department of Family Studies and Gerontology at Mount Saint Vincent University
Dr. Alla Skomorovsky
Defence Scientist, Department of National Defence

Contemporary research with public safety personnel

Canadian Public Safety Personnel (PSP) include, but are not limited to, Correctional Workers (security and non-security roles), Dispatchers, Firefighters, Paramedics, and Police Officers. Increasing support over the past 2 years has led to a significant expansion in available peer-reviewed research dedicated specifically to PSP mental health. The Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment (CIPSRT) recently completed a national self-reported prevalence study, which lays the groundwork for continued research growth. This research theme working group will begin with available progress updates towards a National Action Plan to address operational stress injuries among PSP and to develop priorities for PSP research strategy across and within the different PSP fields, and identify short, medium, and long-term plans for achieving those priorities. We invite all those interested in supporting these intentionally collaborative multidisciplinary initiatives to join us.


Dr. Nick Carleton
Professor, University of Regina
Dr. Rose Riccardelli
Assistant Professor, Coordinator of the criminal certification program in the Department of Sociology, at Memorial University
Dr. Renee MacPhee
Associate Professor, Health Sciences, Kinesiology and Physical Education, Laurier University