New fellowship will benefit first responders and healthcare workers impacted by trauma

A new fellowship established by HRI in partnership with Rob Horne and family is bringing hope for first responders and healthcare workers living with trauma-related illness.

The Paul Horne Memorial Fellowship in Post-Traumatic Stress Injury and Recovery honours the legacy of Detective Inspector Paul Horne, a decorated military veteran and police officer who lived with post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI) as the result of on-the-job trauma. Tragically, Paul took his own life on August 11, 2018.

To honour Paul’s memory, the Horne family has partnered with HRI to advance research and discoveries that will help other first responders, including healthcare professionals, living with PTSI. Together, they established the fund to address the urgent need for clinical scientists dedicated to this important work in Canada.

About Paul Horne

Paul was the youngest of four children born to Marj and Gord Horne of Oshawa, Ontario. He was an accomplished skier, a loving father, and a loyal friend. He trained at the Ontario Police College and went on to become a highly respected and decorated member of the Ontario Provincial Police. During his career with the OPP, Paul worked with the Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau, and he served a one-year tour in Bosnia with the Canadian Armed Forces. He was dedicated to making life better for others.

Paul developed PTSI after being exposed to traumatic events at work and while serving in Bosnia. Sadly, it wasn’t until much later that his family and friends would understand the profound impact these experiences had on his mental health.

In 2018, Paul took his own life. That same year, several other officers were lost to suicide. In an effort to address the alarming suicide rate among first responders, the Horne family met with the OPP, the Office of the Provincial Ombudsman, and the Office of the Chief Coroner. They supported ongoing inquiries and sought opportunities to make a difference for others like Paul.

In 2020, the Horne family met with HRI’s founding philanthropists, the Schlegel family, who shared HRI’s story of research dedicated to helping people with PTSI. Paul’s brother, Rob, saw an opportunity to honour his brother’s legacy in a way that would help others.

The Paul Horne Memorial Fellowship in Post-Traumatic Stress Injury and Recovery

Rob Horne, his partner Wendy, and two of their children, Abbey(left) and Kirsten(right).

Together, the Horne family and HRI established a fund to support post-doctoral fellows conducting research in PTSI diagnosis, treatment, and recovery with first responders and healthcare providers.

“Now more than ever, the magnitude of the mental health crisis among our country’s first responders and healthcare workers is clear,” says Paul’s brother, Rob Horne.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought this problem into the spotlight. Now my family is shedding light on how we can help.”

Fellows will work alongside Dr. Margaret McKinnon, HRI Research Chair in Mental Health and Trauma and renowned trauma scientist, to conduct groundbreaking research that will make a difference in the lives of people experiencing trauma-related illnesses.

“There are very few clinician-scientists working in this vital area of trauma research and recovery in Canada,” says Dr. McKinnon.

“But HRI is opening doors for new trauma scientists, including urgently needed clinician-scientists. These early career scientists are our greatest hope.”

The Horne family says that the Paul Horne Memorial Fellowship will accelerate the scientific progress already made by HRI, both in terms of diagnosing subtypes of trauma and in testing customized treatments for first responders, including healthcare professionals.

“This work is already underway at HRI, and our family is lending support to move it forward. This work will help others suffering from PTSI, and that’s what Paul would want” says Horne.

The Horne family has made the first donation to the fellowship.

“We are truly honoured to serve Paul’s legacy and our country in this way,” says Dr. McKinnon.

“Research that is turned into knowledge and quickly applied to help people is one of the greatest hopes we can offer. Every day, we count on our first responders to keep us safe. Today, we want them to know they can count on us to do the same.”

Donations to the Paul Horne Memorial Fellowship can be made here: https://hriresearch.com/donate/paul-horne-memorial-fellowship/