Military and Veteran Family Research: Setting the Stage for the Next Chapter

February 24, 2021 | 10:00AM - 12:00PM (ET)


Co-hosted by

Symposium Overview

Military and Veteran Family Research: Setting the Stage for the Next Chapter

Research related to the families of military personnel and Veterans has grown considerably in the past decade, both in Canada and around the world. This interdisciplinary field of research has contributed to raising awareness of the service-related experiences, and its impacts, on families; identifying gaps; and advancing knowledge to inform policy, practice, and future research. Experts in the field will share how far family research has come over the last 10 years, present recent advances in family research, and discuss pathways forward for enhancing research relevance, reach, uptake, and impact for the decade ahead.

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Military and Veteran Family Research: Setting the Stage for the Next Chapter

Opening Remarks

David Pedlar, PhD, Scientific Director, Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR)

Stéphanie Bélanger, CD, PhD, Associate Scientific Director, CIMVHR

Heidi Cramm, PhD, Research Advisor, Military and Veteran Families, CIMVHR; Associate Professor, School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen's University

Moderated by Nora Spinks, CEO and Team Lead, The Vanier Institute of the Family

A Student Video: Evolution Of Military And Verteran Family Research

Deborah Norris, PhD

Out Of The Wilderness: Building Capacity In Military And Veteran Family Research In Canada
Deborah Norris, PhD, Professor and Graduate Coordinator, Department of Family Studies and Gerontology, Mount Saint Vincent University; CIMVHR Fellow

Reflections on the growth of military and Veteran family research in Canada over the past twenty years will be shared.

Lynda Manser, MMgt

Understanding The Comtemporary Canadian Military Family
Lynda Manser, MMgt, Associate Director, Research and Strategic Program Development, Military Family Services, Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services

Over the last ten years, there has been a growing body of research on the realities of Canadian military families. In 2018, CFMWS analysed demographic data and reviewed over 200 internal studies and external reports to compile detailed information on the scope of the issues, the scale of the number of families affected by those issues, and potential recommendations and strategies to improve their experiences.

We now have a comprehensive picture of the state of Canadian military families. We know who they are, how many there are, where they live, what their composition is. We have a better understanding of different family segment personas. We know the military challenges they face. And we know that the majority of families are doing well, but a small percentage struggle. We also know that a very small percentage are accessing military and MFRC support services. But are these the same families that are struggling? Why are these families struggling while most are not? Is this trend different from the general population, or from other countries? All of these questions point to the need to shift the research focus from the general toward specific gaps in knowledge.

Nicola Fear, DPhil

Military Families: New And Emerging Issues From An International Perspective
Nicola Fear, DPhil, Professor of Epidemiology at the Academic Department of Military Mental Health, Co-Director of the King’s Centre for Military Health Research

In this presentation, I will give a brief overview of the research currently being conducted on the health and wellbeing of military families from an international perspective with a particular focus on the UK. I will then move on to discuss some of the new and emerging issues in the field. This section of the talk will highlight, for example, the ongoing impacts of CV-19 on health and wellbeing (including changing caring responsibilities), help seeking challenges for family members and the lack of research on non-traditional families. I will finish by summarising the work in this field along with some of the remaining gaps in the evidence base.


Panel - Expediting Research to Practice

Panelists: Dr. Deborah Norris, Lynda Manser, Prof Nicola Fear, Shelley Hopkins, Executive Director of the Halifax & Region Military Family Resource Centre and Tamara Kleinschmidt, Executive Director, Trenton Military Family Resource Centre

Moderated by Nora Spinks

Panel - Forecasting Forward: Inspiration and Aspiration

Panelists: Maj Nathalie Auger, DPS3 Team Lead – Military Family Initiatives, DGMP Strat, Military Personnel Command, Canadian Armed Forces/Government of Canada, Nathan Svenson, Research Director – Veterans Affairs Canada, Cyndi Mills, Owner, Publisher and Editorial Director, Canadian Military Family Magazine and Kara MacNeil, Director of Evaluation & Learning at the Halifax & Region Military Family Resource Centre

Moderated by Nora Spinks

Closing Remarks

Heidi Cramm, PhD

David Pedlar, PhD

Symposium Ends