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2019 Innovation Award: Dr. Don Richardson

Dr. Don Richardson, recognized for his research innovations related to veterans with PTSD

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Dr. Don Richardson was recognized at the 2019 Lawson Impact Awards for his research and innovation in working with veterans with military-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  His study titled, “Predicators of Long-Term Treatment Outcome in Combat and Peacekeeping Veterans with Military-Related PTSD,” was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.



Throughout Dr. Richardson’s career, he has worked diligently to develop and implement best practice assessment and treatment guidelines for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members and veterans. He has developed and maintained two clinical research databases  ̶  a database of self-reported health status, by working with patients at the Operational Stress Injuries (OSI) clinic, and a treatment outcomes database. Through this data, he has demonstrated that military trauma populations are complex and are at greater risk of becoming resistant to treatment than most civilian trauma populations.

“Don is extremely deserving of this award,” says Dr. Cheryl Forchuk, Dr. Richardson’s nominator. “When I think of someone who does a great job of linking together research and clinical practice, Don is always someone who comes to mind.”

The treatment outcomes database gives researchers unparalleled insight into the pharmacologic interventions best suited for CAF members and veterans. With the ability to identify when individual patients are experiencing less-than-optimal outcomes, the research team can adjust their treatment plan accordingly.

Over the past 20 years, Dr. Richardson has published over 40 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters on the assessment and treatment of operational stress injuries, PTSD, major depressive disorder, substance use disorders, and suicidal behaviour. He has elevated awareness for the unique mental health challenges faced by CAF members and veterans who present with operational stress injuries.

In light of Dr. Richardson’s findings, he works to assess the current treatment modalities for PTSD, their utility for treating military populations, as well as complementary therapies that may prove beneficial.

Dr. Richardson’s dedication to military mental health research is evident through his unwavering effort and has attracted the attention of many prominent figures in the field of military and veteran health. In 2017, he was granted the opportunity to build a research and innovation center for advancing military and veteran health research and clinical practice. Through a generous donation from two community peers, Dr. Richardson established and leads the Macdonald/Franklin OSI Research Centre, located at Parkwood Institute.

“It is certainly an honour to receive this award,” says Dr. Richardson. “I wish to thank all of my clients for taking the time to fill out the repeated questionnaires, as well as the research staff who support this program, and who work tirelessly to help our CAF members and veterans.”