News release – VAC announces creation of second Centre of Excellence
Today the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence, announced the funding for the Centre of Excellence on Chronic Pain at McMaster University. The Centre of Excellence will focus on the creation and distribution of knowledge and research on chronic pain, one of the most prevalent health concerns among the Canadian Veteran population.
Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members, Veterans and their families face unique challenges due to the nature of military service. VAC’s 2016 The Life After Service Survey found chronic pain contributed significantly to various challenges for Veterans. Compared to the general Canadian population, Veterans experience higher levels of physical and mental health challenges, including higher rates of chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, and suicide. Chronic pain is unique and challenging to treat, requiring interdisciplinary attention to complex biological, psychological and social factors.
McMaster University is well-positioned to host the Centre of Excellence on Chronic Pain, as it currently houses both the Michael G. DeGroote National Pain Centre and Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care (IPRC).
Faculty members are also health care professionals at the Michael G. DeGroote Pain Clinic of Hamilton Health Sciences, which treats a significant number of Veterans who are referred to the clinic by physicians from across Canada.
The announcement was made at the McMaster University Medical Centre and the Centre of Excellence on Chronic Pain will be located in the Michael DeGroote Centre for Learning and Discovery (MDCL).
“The research conducted by the new Centre of Excellence on Chronic Pain will allow the delivery of the best chronic pain treatments and supports for Canada’s Veterans. By identifying new and emerging treatments, we will help Veterans and military members get better. The Centre of Excellence will test innovative therapies that can be shared with health professionals across the country.” – the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
“We know that through research, best practices will be developed to better treat the large number of Canadian veterans suffering from chronic pain. The new centre of excellence will ensure that veterans throughout the country will receive evidence-based treatments to improve the quality of their lives.”- Dr. Ramesh Zacharias, medical director, Centre of Excellence on Chronic Pain; assistant clinical professor, Department of Anesthesia, McMaster University; medical director, Michael G. DeGroote Pain Clinic at Hamilton Health Sciences
“People from every walk of life can suffer from chronic pain, and Veterans suffer in higher proportions than the public at large. McMaster University is known around the world as a pioneer in health sciences education and of chronic pain research. McMaster will be a fantastic home for the Centre of Excellence for Chronic Pain.” – The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Member of Parliament for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas and Minister of Seniors
- To support the centre, Budget 2019 proposes to provide Veterans Affairs Canada $20.1 million over five years, starting in 2019–20, with $5 million per year ongoing.
- Veterans Affairs Canada’s Life After Service Survey 2016 found the prevalence of chronic pain among Veterans (41%) was almost double that of comparable Canadians (22%).
- The Life After Service Survey 2016 found chronic pain to be a factor in Veteran mental health problems and suicides, contributing significantly to various challenges in their lives.
- Chronic pain is a research priority for the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Health Canada, and the Chronic Pain Network.
Veterans Affairs Canada
Office of the Minister of Veterans Affairs