Professor Duncan Shields, PhD

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Duncan Shields, PhD is a clinician who, over the past 23 years, has specializing in providing front-line mental health services to military and police veterans and first responders. Since 2015, he has held an appointment as Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia (UBC). There, he co-founded The Men’s Initiative, collaborating on systemic change projects that connect men and women to mobilize “men of influence”, in business, professional sports and in uniformed services, to lead changes for the benefit of their peers, their families, and their communities.

From 2009-2012, Dr. Shields worked with UBC colleagues, Dr. Marv Westwood and Dr. David Kuhl, to develop, refine and test a group-based model for helping military and police veterans in their transition from operations to civilian life. His current work builds upon this foundation, focusing on research, evaluation and program development of initiatives that support the maintenance or re-establishment of resiliency and well-being for first responder and military personnel coping with operational and traumatic stress injuries.
He is currently working with the BC Professional Firefighters Association, which represents 3000 firefighters in British Columbia, Canada, on a number of initiatives to support members in their work. Major initiatives include pilot testing a “firefighters-helping-firefighters” residential resiliency program, based on lessons learned from the Veterans Transition Program he co-developed, and helping build a peer support program. He is also leading a large qualitative study of operational and posttraumatic stress that explores urban fire fighters’ work experiences, and how they learn to view, and to cope with, operational and traumatic stress within the culture of the fire hall.

Committed to community service, Dr. Shields contributes his volunteer time in a variety of roles. He served as Chair of his professional association from 2007-2015, and was a founding member of the BC Community Action Initiative, a $25 million fund established to strengthen the role and capacity of the community sector in improving mental health services. Dr. Shields also served on the BC Ministry of Health’s Family Mental Health and Substance Use Task Force, and the Ministry of Health Integrated Action Team, overseeing implementation of the provinces ten-year Mental Health Plan. He is the recipient of a number of awards for his research and service including from Wounded Warriors Canada, the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association, and the BC association of Clinical Counsellors.

Before his academic studies, Dr. Shields served as an infantry reservist with the Governor Generals Foot Guards, where he served a class B posting to Ceremonial Guard, and developed a lifelong appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our military. Today, he remains a proud member of his Regimental Association.

2016 Publications
Shields DM, Kuhl D, Lutz K, Frender J, Baumann N, Lopresti P. (2016). Mental health and well-being of military Veterans during military to civilian transition: review and analysis of recent literature. Vancouver BC: Report prepared for Veterans Affairs Canada and the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research.

Shields, D. (2016). Military Masculinity, Movies and the DSM: Narratives of institutionally (en)gendered trauma. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, Vol 17(1), 64-73.

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