Dr. Malloy publishes 70th research article: moral injuries among first responders
December 21, 2021
“I’m blessed to be able to continue my research, though at a slower pace now that I’m a President. I feel it’s important, as President and a senior academic, that I ‘walk the walk and talk the talk’ if King’s is going to enhance its research profile. We have so much potential here and I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished and where we’re going,” says Dr. Malloy.
Dr. Malloy's latest research paper, "Meat in a Seat: A Grounded Theory Study Exploring Moral Injury in Canadian Public Safety Communicators, Firefighters, and Paramedics," looks at the "moral injury" first responders suffer due to frustration, either in overall society or in the systems and organizations they find themselves in.
Moral injuries have led to many first responders leaving their profession or, in the most drastic cases, dying by suicide. Understanding what leads to these situations may determine mental health and resilience strategies to protect Public Safety Personnel (PSP).
The research “demonstrates the real-life implications of decision-making and the impact on an individual’s health when morals and values are contravened,” says Dr. Malloy. His future research on moral injury focus will be on leadership behaviour. Dr. Malloy wants to examine how organizational culture may foster ethical and virtue-based climates and existential awareness. His interest is to study how to help PSP’s prepare for morally injurious events in their challenging line of work.
Dr. Malloy has researched applied ethics and leadership for approximately thirty years. He believes such research helps people come to terms with the tragedies they experience during their service. He wants to continue the development of preventative training in terms of hardiness, resilience, and moral awareness of decision-making. As a philosopher, Dr. Malloy is curious how practical philosophy can be applied in helping people make sound decisions and therefore foster positive mental health.
The article, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, was co-written Lorraine Smith-MacDonald, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Edmonton and Faculty of Health Sciences, Western University; Liana Lentz, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Edmonton, Faculty of Health Sciences, Western University and Faculty of Science, Thompsons River University; Suzette Bremault-Phillips, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Edmonton; and R. Nicholas Carleton, Department of Psychology, University of Regina.
Dr. Malloy acknowledges the milestone he has achieved in the publishing of “Meat in a Seat” but says it is the quality and impact of the work that drives him. As he has in the past, Dr. Malloy stresses that, as President and a scholar, his primary interest “is to ensure that King’s can be that place where morals are respected, where ethical decisions and processes occur and where individuals can put their values into action (virtues) and find meaning in their work and study - this I think is the true role of leadership - all else is secondary.”