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In 2015, Wayfound CEO, Dr. Megan McElheran, was invited by CTV Alberta to participate in a panel interview on Canadian Forces active and reserve soldiers, and Operational Stress Injuries. She was joined on this panel by Lieutenant Colonel (Ret.) Chris Linford, a former Canadian Forces soldier. Recognition of the like-minded outlooks between Megan and Chris incited them to continue their conversation following the CTV interview, as they sensed potential opportunities for collaboration. Chris and his wife, Kathryn, had newly formed the Couples Overcoming Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Everyday (COPE) program, which was an intensive, five-day residential treatment program for military and veteran couples impacted by operational stress injuries, and particularly PTSD. Given her background, Chris invited Megan to attend and co-facilitate the second COPE program that would be offered in British Columbia in June 2016. The program, with its emphasis on group process, recovery from OSI/PTSD and uniformed service personnel, was an ideal fit for Megan’s skills and interests. In addition to introducing Megan and Wayfound to the COPE program, this opportunity was the genesis of the ongoing complementary relationship between Wayfound and the charitable sponsor of the COPE program, Wounded Warriors Canada (WWC).
Following her involvement with the COPE program, Megan and some of her associates became heavily involved in program delivery for WWC. The Trauma Resiliency Program (TRP) followed with its launch in the Fall of 2017, which was developed by Dr. Timothy Black. The standard of excellence that WWC set for clinical service delivery was evident to Megan and Wayfound focused on becoming more involved with the WWC programming as they expanded their mandate to include all public safety personnel.
Around this time, Megan began to develop the Before Operational Stress (BOS) program, with its development having been influenced by elements of the COPE and TRP programs. A distinction of BOS has remained to provide upstream intervention and education. In 2017, WWC identified a goal of adding an upstream delivery to their list of clinical programs and determined BOS to be the curriculum they were seeking. Wayfound and WWC entered into a memorandum of understanding early in 2018 to work in partnership towards the evaluation and pan-Canadian dissemination of the BOS program. WWC provided the initial funding for the postdoctoral fellow who was hired to complete independent evaluation of the BOS program through the Canadian Institute for Public Safety Research and Treatment. They additionally provided the initial funding for the first 150 participants who completed the BOS program.
Wayfound and WWC are tremendously proud of the partnership we have formed, and we are pleased to highlight the significant roots of connection between our two organizations. We will continue to work in partnership as the BOS program is disseminated across Canada and beyond. With the feedback we have received from organizations we have served, we have now developed a lecture series format of the BOS program for new recruits; a virtual, peer-driven version of the program; and a digital, go-at-your-own pace offering to provide broad availability of the BOS content for all public safety personnel across the country.