Scholarships and Award

Celebrating and supporting emerging researchers is an essential component of CIMVHR’s mission. Over the past decade, we have presented 23 scholarships and awards to master’s and doctoral students who demonstrate excellence, dedication, and promise within the field of military, Veteran, and family health research. In 2021, three exceptional researchers were honoured at CIMVHR’s Annual Forum.

Dr. Mark Zamorski Award

This award honours the legacy of Dr. Mark Zamorski, a specialist in epidemiological and health services research on mental health problems in military personnel, and a steadfast CIMVHR supporter. Dr. Zamorski led the Research and Analysis Section of the Directorate of Mental Health for the Canadian Forces Health Services Group from 2002 until his passing in 2018. Before his death, Dr. Zamorski and his husband, Philip Edwards, set up a $5,000 annual award for post-graduate students researching epidemiological and mental health problems in military personnel, Veterans, and their families.

The 2021 Dr. Mark Zamorski Award was presented to Sophia Roth, PhD (candidate), McMaster University, for the research, Measuring and Characterizing Minority Stress and Moral Injury in Sexual- and Gender-Minority Military and Veterans.

Lay Summary of the Research
This project explores the unique experience of LGBTQ+ military members, veterans, and LGBT Purge Survivors from an intersectional and mental health lens. We examine experiences of stress, trauma, betrayal, and moral injury by exploring in depth the stories of LGBTQ+ military and veteran personnel during and after service.

Sophia Roth, PhD (candidate), McMaster University

Wounded Warriors Canada Doctoral Scholarship in Military and Veteran Health Research

Wounded Warriors Canada is a national mental health service provider, offering a range of clinically facilitated programs specifically developed to support the unique needs of Veterans, first responders, and their families. In recognition of the importance of research, in 2013 Wounded Warriors made a 10-year, $400,000 commitment to CIMVHR to help increase research supporting the military and Veteran community. This annual scholarship is awarded to a PhD candidate who demonstrates excellence in research while exhibiting significant potential for a career in military, Veteran, and family health research.

The 2021 Wounded Warriors Canada Doctoral Scholarship was awarded to Sarah Watling, MSc, University of Toronto, for the research, Visualizing post-traumatic stress disorder with in vivo brain imaging – a multimodal approach.

Lay Summary of the Research
PTSD disproportionately affects military members and lack of effective treatment results in poor management of the disorder. My research is measuring the amount of specific proteins inside the brain of CAF members/ Veterans living with PTSD and will inform the next line of effective drug discovery in this at-risk population.

Sarah Watling, MSc, University of Toronto

Royal Canadian Legion Masters Scholarship in Veteran Health Research

The Royal Canadian Legion launched its Scholarship in Veteran Health Research in 2014 to bolster support systems for returning CAF personnel through research from Canada’s top scholars. Many Veterans face a “new battlefield” of challenges at home, including physical and mental injuries, as well as social challenges as they reintegrate into family and community life. This scholarship helps to ensure soldiers have ample evidence-based supports as they navigate this new terrain.

The 2021 Royal Canadian Legion Masters Scholarship was awarded to Meredith Seager, BSc, University of Manitoba, for the research, A longitudinal exploration of the relationship between traumatic brain injuries and chronic pain conditions in both active duty and veteran soldiers: Results from the Canadian Armed Forces Members and Veterans Mental Health Follow-up

Lay Summary of the Research
This study evaluates the chronic pain profile of active and veteran CAF members who develop effects of a traumatic brain injury (TBI). This study will also investigate the relationship between this profile and post-injury general well-being, mental health, moral injury, coping and social support outcomes.

Meredith Seager, BSc, University of Manitoba

Postdoctoral Fellow Highlight

Goris Nazari

Dr. Goris Nazari

Dr. Goris Nazari has a PhD in Musculoskeletal health research and is a Postdoctoral Fellow at School of Rehabilitation Science and at Canadian Institutes for Military and Veterans Health Research (CIMVHR) at Queen’s University in Kingston, supported Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Research Highlight

Understanding patterns of healthcare utilization of Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Veterans living with chronic pain using the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (IC/ES) dataset

This retrospective investigation of healthcare administrative data from IC/ES Data Repository will include CAF Veterans who registered for Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) coverage between January 2012 – 2022, after transitioning from military service. Using multiple databases accessed through IC/ES will include: The Canadian Institute for Health Information Discharge Abstract Database (CIHI-DAD), OHIP, the Ontario Mental Health Reporting System (OMHRS) and the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS). These databases will allow us to understand CAF Veterans’ patterns of healthcare utilization such as visits to family physicians/specialists, mental healthcare providers, emergency departments, hospitalizations and medication use.

Research underway

  1. Well-being Characteristics of Veterans with Chronic Pain with fewer activities limited by pain: Life After Service Studies (LASS) 2019 Survey.
  2. The Reporting of Sex and Gender in Randomized Clinical Trials of impacts of opioids and rehabilitation in Active-duty Military Personnel and Veterans with Chronic Pain.
  3. Evaluating healthcare providers’ military knowledge and knowledge translation methods to improve military knowledge: A systematic review.

Moving forward

Dr. Nazari would like to facilitate the development of interventions and health services that are aligned with the values of CAF Veterans and aimed at meeting their unique needs.

The Student and Postdoctoral Engagement Committee (SPEC)

The Student and Postdoctoral Engagement Committee (SPEC) is a group of engaged researchers dedicated to supporting the professional development of graduate and postdoctoral students working in the area of military, Veteran, public safety personnel, and family health research. With the goal of maintaining and expanding this field of research, the committee provides support and encouragement to trainees and students entering and already involved in the field and for the entirety of their academic journey.

In December of 2021 Dr. Lorraine Smith-MacDonald completed her time as Chair of SPEC. We appreciate all she brought to the role in advancing SPEC and increasing awareness of the committee. We welcomed Ashley Williams and Shannon Hill as they began their two-year term as SPEC Co-Chairs. The committee has grown to include 13 members from various institutions and organizations across Canada.

Shannon Hill
Shannon Hill, Co-Chair, PhD Candidate, Queen’s University
Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams, Co-Chair, PhD Candidate, Queen’s University

Over the past year, the committee held three events:

SPEC Fireside Chat and Trivia Night: Military 101 and Beyond - June 3, 2021

The Fireside Chat and Trivia Night was an opportunity to gather virtually, get to know one another, and discuss and highlight different types of support and programming for the upcoming year. The trivia focused on Military 101, Music, and Canadian Geography, and three winners received gift baskets for their successes.

CIMVHR Virtual Forum Networking Event – October 21, 2021

SPEC hosted their annual networking social in a virtual format this year. This event was designed to allow emerging researchers to network and connect.

SPEC Abstract Submission Event - April 12, 2022

This workshop offered practical tips and advice on how to write successful research abstracts and how to submit abstracts to CIMVHR’s Annual Forum. Attendees came prepared with their drafts and learned the key components of writing and submitting abstracts from SPEC co-chairs Shannon Hill and Ashley Williams, Dr. Stéphanie Bélanger, Associate Scientific Director, Dr. Dianne Groll, Assistant Scientific Director, and Michelle Daigle, Knowledge Translation Coordinator, at CIMVHR.