Leading civilian UK centre of excellence for military health research

The idea that to serve means 'to be the best' has persisted in Western history for over 2,000 years. Military service can have long-lasting physical and mental benefits. However, it is well established that the negative consequences can last long after leaving service and impact on the individual, their families and the local community.

The King's Centre for Military Health Research at King's College London are collaborating with colleagues from the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the University of Bristol on a new research project entitled 'Preparing the body and mind for war in the ancient and modern Armed Forces'. The project will involve academics, teachers and members of the Armed Forces community, and is supported by the Elizabeth Blackwell Institute for Health Research, University of Bristol.

As part of the upcoming project, the team are hosting a workshop which will take place on Wednesday 5th October 2022. The workshop will be a hybrid event so you are able to attend either in-person (in Bristol) or online.  

What are the aims of the workshop?

The purpose of the workshop is to help you develop new understandings of military and veteran health before and during military service, by considering ancient and modern attitudes.

The workshop will allow you to share knowledge with those in historical and health-related fields, as well as Armed Forces community members. The aims of the workshop are to:

  1. Explore how military and veteran health has changed over time, e.g. life expectancy, medicine, trauma, attitudes to wellbeing
  2. Understand those changes in relation to wider social and historical contexts
  3. Instigate plans for improving health and wellbeing management and awareness of military health in military and educational institutions

What will the workshop involve?

Each attendee will be expected to present for 5-10 minutes in response to the workshop theme, which will be followed by roundtable discussion. Topics to present could include:

  1. What is war preparedness in terms of mental and physical health?
  2. How do serving personnel talk about their own health? To what extent is the health of a soldier linked to the unit?
  3. How does technology intersect with soldiers' ideas about health and self-care?
  4. Where is there evidence of self-care or awareness of health in historical materials?
  5. What kinds of assessments are used to determine the health of potential recruits?
  6. What aspects of military service benefit or hinder the soldier's health (mental or physical)?
  7. How far does stigma prevent soldierly self-care or reporting of health problems?
  8. How are different bodies and minds treated in a military context, e.g. different genders?
  9. What are the lasting effects of a military health regime?
  10. What does evidence tell us about the unique health care needs of soldiers?
  11. How can awareness of military health be improved in the media and/or education?

We hope that the initial workshop will lead to further events themed around physical and mental fitness for war.

Are you interested in attending the workshop?

If you are interested in attending the workshop please contact Dr Daniel Leightley by email [email protected]. Please also include whether you would prefer to attend the workshop in-person (in Bristol) or online.

More details of the event (e.g. time, location) will be provided to those who are interested in attending.

Headline photo by Photo by Roberto Catarinicchia / Unsplash.

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