The 7th national forum is being held in Vancouver for the first time.
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Melissa Shaw

Vancouver is hosting a Military and Veteran Health Research Forum for the first time.

Co-scientific director of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, Stephanie Belanger, says the forum was held in partnership with the University of British Columbia and the University of Victoria.

Belanger says the forum features 150 research presentations on a range of topics adddressing the physical, social and mental health needs of military personnel.

“How can we use that expertise and training that military members have and transfer that into their civilian life? How can we train the leaders of tomorrow and smooth the challenges that are associated with any transition but this one is quite a big one, coming from military service to civilian life,” she says.

Belanger says the forum is a chance for policymakers to engage with researchers.

“The public often thinks that the government is either not interested or doesn’t want to see the reality but they do analyze the needs. They recognize that there is work to be done to better enhance the well-being of the serving members, the veterans and their families. They are here to listen. They are here to hopefully make a difference.”

Retired Canadian Forces Captain Stephane Bourassa, who is now an experimental medicine student at Laval University, was sharing research about the impact of gas masks on index of efforts and breathing patterns.

Calian's Sharon Daly is one of the 600 attendees and she’s raising awareness about the Military Family Doctor Network.

The program launched in January as a partnership with Military Family Services to provide healthcare to members of Canada's Armed Forces.

Daly says military families move frequently and access to a family physician is an issue.

She says the program has connected 300 people from 140 military families with physicians across the country through Calian's network of about 149 clinics.

The 7th annual Military and Veteran Health Research Forum runs until Wednesday at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver.

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