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The Atlas Institute for Veterans and Families thanks reference group members for their invaluable contributions

OTTAWA, ON — November 29, 2023 — The Atlas Institute for Veterans and Families extends its deepest gratitude for the invaluable participation of the inaugural cohort of reference group members who have provided input and feedback to Atlas over the last three years as their terms ends today. “We would like to thank all reference group members for their contributions over their three-year term that have guided the Atlas Institute’s work in service to Veterans and Families across Canada,” said Fardous Hosseiny, President and CEO of the Atlas Institute. “These last three years have been a period of building and growth for the organization and the reference groups have been paramount to all the work that we have accomplished here.”

Hosseiny added that what was particularly remarkable about the individuals who came together in response to the original callout in the fall of 2020 was their willingness to step up at a time when the Atlas Institute was still an unknown entity. “These four groups of stakeholders who answered the call to join us at that time were answering a call to a vision. And that is substantially different than coming forward to join a known commodity,” he said, adding that to do so took an immense amount of trust in the vision that was being shared and in the early leadership of the organization.

The Atlas reference group membership is made up of volunteers wiling to provide strategic advice and expertise on specific initiatives and priority areas, and to serve as champions for Atlas at external events. “Whether as Canadian Armed Forces or Royal Canadian Mounted Police Veterans, Family members, service providers or researchers in the space, the purpose of reference groups has been to offer diverse forms of expertise or experiences in Veteran mental health promotion, research, practice and policy together to support the betterment of the mental and well-being of Veterans and Veteran Family members. They guide the work at Atlas by creating infrastructure for input, feedback and strategic advice from a multidisciplinary and diverse group.”

Over the past three years, 42 reference group members have responded to 30 expressions of interest in Atlas projects, including critically the organization’s rebrand from the original Centre of Excellence on PTSD and inaugural five-year strategic plan, They have also supported with a resource on moral injury for Veterans and Families, suicide prevention resources in collaboration with the Centre for Suicide Prevention and the early stages of community consultation with the development of First Nations, Inuit and Métis resources, among others.

In addressing outgoing reference members, Hosseiny said, “Thank you for bringing your unique perspectives, and importantly, your passion to the work at Atlas over this three-year commitment. Our success as an organization in this very short time can be attributed to you, this community who supported us with your knowledge, your experiences and your guidance.

He added, “As this cohort winds up their term, the reference group model will shift somewhat but will still incorporate lived experience, service providers and researchers to guide our work moving forward. “We are looking forward to welcoming the next cohort of reference group members starting today and to learn from them over this upcoming term.”