Dr Heidi Cramm is an Occupational Therapist and Associate Professor at the School of Rehabilitation Therapy, Queen’s University.

Could you tell us a bit about what you are currently working on?

Right now, we are doing a few projects. One is looking to identify both how military families are impacted by COVID-19 and what kinds of organizational and communities resources and services are available to meet new needs.

We are working on building the military family researcher network and trainee capacity through a number of initiatives. There is so much that this community needs us to work on, and we can’t do it without attracting new research trainees to this important area of work.

What got you into your field of study in the first place?

As an occupational therapist, I was working in child and adolescent mental health services in a military community. The number of families coming in who were from military families was surprising, but there was no research available to help me understand their unique health and health system access challenges. In Canada, there is a public healthcare system but it is administered at the provincial level, so every time a military family is posted to a new location in another province, there is a fair bit of system navigation required to be able to sort out how to get the services. Military families move 2-3 times more frequently than other Canadian families, so the impacts of these moves can accumulate in relation to health and school transitions. When I started in my faculty position at Queen’s University in Canada, I had an opportunity to work with the Canadian Institute for Military & Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR), which was based in my department, to begin to carve out a research program related to military families.

What advice would you like to give PhD students and early career researchers that you wish someone had said to you?

Get involved—in research outside of your own project, connect with peers, value mixed methods and cross-disciplinary approaches.

What are your top tips for getting published?

Target journals that will give you some breadth, but know what your discipline values.

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