News - Nov 2019

New findings released from study examining long-term recovery outcomes

HRI has released an infographic featuring recent findings from a study that aims to shed light on the process of recovery from mental illness and addiction.

The Recovery Journey Project is a multi-year, longitudinal study conducted and led by researchers at HRI. As an independent research organization, HRI works with treatment providers to collect data from former patients and clients for up to one year after treatment to better understand the progress patients make and challenges they face during recovery.

The primary goal of the project is to provide evidence that can guide and continually improve treatment approaches to help people achieve long-term recovery.

Since 2015, HRI has conducted research with patients who receive residential treatment for addictions at Homewood Health Centre, in Guelph, Ontario. Recent findings were published in an infographic and accompanying background report. The infographic shows changes in various indicators of recovery for patients who were admitted to the Addiction Medicine Service between April 2016 and March 2017 and whose progress was followed from admission to 12 months after completing treatment.

View the infographic

View the background report

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Investigating the experience of female military members and veterans exposed to inappropriate sexual behaviour

With support from the Government of Canada’s Defence Engagement Program, HRI has launched a collaborative effort to better understand the unique experience of servicewomen. Specifically, the project aims to explore the relationship between exposure to inappropriate sexual behaviour during military service and the onset of moral injury among female military members and veterans.

Moral injury refers to the psychological distress that individuals may experience when their personal moral beliefs have been betrayed – either by themselves or by someone else (e.g., an authority figure.)

“Inappropriate sexual behaviour has been linked to moral injury in other armed forces settings,” says Dr. Margaret McKinnon, Homewood Research Chair in Mental Health and Trauma, and lead investigator on the study.

“Unfortunately, the majority of studies to date have been conducted in U.S. settings, so the impact of this behaviour is unknown in the Canadian context.”

Experiences that lead to moral injury are strongly associated with the development of post-traumatic stress disorder, major depressive disorder, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. With a better understanding of how moral injury may factor into the experiences of servicewomen affected by inappropriate sexual behaviour, treatment providers can intervene more quickly and effectively.

“Another major goal of this initiative is to mobilize scholars, clinicians and policy makers who can work with us to address concerns related to moral injury within these populations,” says McKinnon.

Key collaborators on this project include:

Focus groups are now underway with female military members and veterans to discuss their experiences and the events that may trigger potential feelings associated with moral injury, such as shame and guilt.

Workshops are also being held with researchers, clinicians, and scientists to examine the psychological consequences of exposure to inappropriate sexual behaviour and the potential steps that can be taken to address these concerns in partnership with the military.

On October 23, 2019, the research team hosted an interactive workshop at the annual Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Research (CIMVHR) Forum. Thought leaders from the government, academia, industry, health and philanthropic sectors were present to share ideas and insights on how to move research, prevention and intervention strategies forward.

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HRI Scientists honoured for research contributions

Dr. James Mackillop elected to Royal Society of Canada

In September 2019, HRI Senior Scientist, Dr. James MacKillop, was elected to the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

The College recognizes emerging scholars, artists, and scientists and brings its members together to develop interdisciplinary approaches to urgent matters that concern all Canadians, from environmental sustainability to advances in health science.

Photo credit: Dr. Mark Crowther

Dr. MacKillop is the inaugural holder of the Peter Boris Chair in Addictions Research, the Director of the Peter Boris Centre for Addictions Research, Co-director of the Michael G. DeGroote Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research, and a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences at McMaster University. His research leverages multidisciplinary perspectives to generate novel insights into addiction. To date, this work has generated more than 120 peer-reviewed publications and other works.

Dr. Ruth Lanius wins Banting Award for Military Health Research

HRI Associate Clinical Scientist, Dr. Ruth Lanius, was the recipient of the 2019 Banting Award for Military Health Research, an honour presented at the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) Forum, which took place in Ottawa, Ontario from October 21-23.

Named after Sir Frederick Banting, a researcher, physician and Nobel laureate who discovered insulin, the Banting Award is presented annually to a Canadian researcher making important advances in military health research.

Dr. Lanius received the award for her work using advanced brain imaging to better understand post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her team uses technology to test adjunct treatments for PTSD, such as providing real-time feedback to patients about their brain waves and teaching them to re-regulate brain activity.

As the recipient of the Banting Award, Dr. Lanius has also been invited to be keynote speaker at next year’s Forum.

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Dr. John Kelton joins HRI Board of Directors

HRI is pleased to welcome Dr. John Kelton to our Board of Directors.

Dr. Kelton is a Distinguished University Professor and Executive Director of the Michael G. DeGroote Initiative for Innovation in Healthcare at McMaster University in Hamilton. He assumed his current role in 2016, after completing a 15-year term as McMaster’s Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Vice-President for Health Sciences. He also served concurrently as Dean of McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

During Dr. Kelton’s tenure, McMaster earned recognition as one of the top 40 universities in the world in medicine and health sciences.

Dr. Kelton is a practicing hematologist at Hamilton Health Sciences. He leads an internationally recognized research program exploring platelet and bleeding disorders. He has also earned global attention for his research on bleeding disorders of pregnant women and heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.

In 2015, Dr. Kelton was named a member of the Order of Canada. He has been awarded an honourary Doctorate of Science from the University of Waterloo, an honourary Doctorate of Law from the University of Windsor, and an honourary Doctorate of Science from Western University. He is also the recipient of a Prix Galien Research Award.

Dr. Kelton brings a wealth of experience to the HRI Board of Directors. His expertise in clinical research and innovation will be an asset as HRI continues to accelerate Canadian progress in clinical treatment and outcomes for mental illness and addiction.

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2018-2019 Annual Report now available

HRI’s latest Annual Report highlights some of the milestones that our donors and supporters helped us achieve in 2018-19. We are pleased to share these stories with you – stories that demonstrate the difference we are making together to help people experiencing mental illness and addiction.

Thank you for following and supporting our work. Thank you for giving us so many reasons to celebrate.

Read the Annual Report now

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