MFRI unveils updated How to Help issue for caregivers

MFRI introduces a newly-updated How to Help issue today (May 21),  designed especially for professionals working with family caregivers.

The refreshed issue launches in conjunction with the release of a new national-level Measuring Communities Caregiver Snapshot, sponsored by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. The Foundation and its Hidden Heroes campaign aim to raise awareness and resources to improve the lives of 5.5 million loved ones who care for the country’s ill and wounded veterans.

A special two-day celebration of Hidden Heroes Cities begins Wednesday in Indianapolis. Actor Tom Hanks and Gov. Eric Holcomb join Sen. Elizabeth Dole at multiple events.

During the celebration, MFRI Senior Director Kathy Broniarczyk attends a luncheon panel that includes Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett and Boston mayor Rob Santiago. Broniarczyk will explain the purpose of Measuring Communities and the role of the Caregiver Snapshot, which was made possible after the Foundation gathered and provided the data for use in the Measuring Communities tool. 

On Thursday, a special one-hour edition of NBC News’ TODAY will be co-anchored by Hanks and Savannah Guthrie live from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It will highlight military and veteran family caregivers.

MFRI is honored to partner with the Foundation in its efforts to make lives better for military and veteran caregivers. We applaud the nation’s Hidden Heroes Cities who are dedicated to streamlining services and sharing best practices with their communities and beyond.

Strengthening behavioral health providers' service of military and veteran families

MFRI continues to receive support for sustaining Star Behavioral Health Providers (SBHP).

This community-based training program enables behavioral health providers to better meet the needs of military and veteran families, and its online referral system connects these families to trained providers.

Launching in Indiana with MFRI as a founding partner, SBHP is a nationally-recognized, award-winning program that been a model for federal legislation. It has expanded to nine states.

This fall, grants totaling $110,000 from organizations in Michigan, Ohio and Oregon will allow MFRI to provide evaluation assistance and continued support of those states’ SBHP implementation.

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Students from across campus build skills at MFRI

MFRI offers many opportunities for students to gain professional skills as interns, student employees and research assistants. The students who engage with military and veteran families at MFRI come from a variety of backgrounds, such as pharmacy, engineering, interior design, communications and more. Involving students in projects that enhance their professional and academic skills helps prepare them for future endeavors.

– Our Family Support team has two students working on specific projects. One student focuses on communication and logistics for Star Behavioral Health Providers and the other collects data for the Measuring Communities project.

– Our External Relations team intern researched, wrote and produced an educational video about MFRI’s collaboration with Joining Community Forces Indiana and the Indiana legal community. She also helped to research updates to MFRI’s How to Help series and provided communication support for MFRI.

– Two Education and Employment team interns are focused on processing data and assisting with evaluations of past Focus Forward Fellowship cohorts.

– Our Research director coordinates 13 undergraduate students, all of whom participate in telephone interviews for MFRI’s Family Journeys project. Most of these students also gain skills coding qualitative data while some assist with logistics and data management.

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MFRI's Focus Forward Fellowship serves women student veterans

Focus Forward Fellowship The Focus Forward Fellowship is a program designed to build skills, leadership and a sense of community among women student veterans. In 2017 two cohorts totaling 28 participants were invited to complete the Fellowship. A national cohort open to women student veterans across the country and a Colorado University specific cohort. 

The 2017 program focused on refining the learning objectives from the 2016 pilot year. These objectives included building a community support network with peers in the Fellowship program, increased network-building, recognition and application of personal strengths and the integration of their veteran identity with other identities in their personal life.

Collectively among all the cohorts, the program has influences 41 women representing all five branches of service, 35 higher education institutions and 21 states. The fellows have an average GPA of 3.39 with the 2017 cohort being 19% STEM focused.

A 2017 Fellow said, “When this opportunity was presented, I felt like it was fate. Who better to progress women veterans than fellow women veterans?”

The 2018 Fellowship will be held in July at Purdue University. Applications open in February.

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Happy Birthday to the U.S. Marine Corps

Happy birthday, Marines! MFRI wants to give all U.S. Marine Corps families an extra salute today as they celebrate the service’s 242nd birthday.

On Nov. 10, 1775, the Continental Congress approved a resolution that called for two Marine battalions to fight for America's independence at sea and on the shore. Passage of the resolution officially formed the Continental Marines.

Marines share a uniquely close relationship with the Department of the Navy, as the two services participate in joint operations and Navy chaplains and medical personnel have served in the Corps.

Corps values include honor, courage and commitment — so evident in the ways these brave men and women have served throughout our nation's history. The Marine Corps' motto, Semper Fidelis ("always faithful") was adopted in 1883 as a reminder to remain faithful to the mission, to each other, to the Corps and to country.

To date an average of 184,000 active duty and reserve service members serve in the Corps, according to U.S. Military Strength

MFRI salutes the Marine Corps today, as well as their families. Semper Fi

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US Air Force celebrates 70 independent years

We here at MFRI are looking skyward to wish the men, women, families and veterans of the United States Air Force a very happy 70th birthday.

As the youngest of the Armed Services, the USAF has a rich history. The U.S. Army purchased its first aircraft in 1909, only six years after the Wright Brothers made their first flight. World War II demonstrated the value of airpower and the need for an independent air service.

The Air Force officially came into being when President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act on September 18, 1947. Since then, the men and women of the USAF have played a vital and often decisive role in all of America’s conflicts.
Air Force planes and personnel have also undertaken hundreds of humanitarian missions, delivering life-saving supplies to victims of natural and man-made disasters. The Air Force today is the second-largest branch of service, with nearly 330,000 members on active duty and 71,000 Reserves.

More than half of Air Force personnel (57.5 percent) have families, a total of 445,000 spouses, children and other dependents who serve and sacrifice alongside their loved ones. The number of Air Force veterans is estimated at 4.1 million.

Purdue Air Force ROTC Detachment 220 is home to nearly 130 future Air Force leaders, commissioning more than 15 rated positions of pilot and navigator each year, along with a variety of other career fields. MFRI salutes these patriots and their families, who give much in service to our nation.


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Center for Families to host family symposium

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind — Purdue University"s Center for Families will sponsor a symposium titled "Status of Indiana Families: Issues and Answers" on Oct. 19 in Indianapolis.

The symposium will address some of the issues Indiana families face every day and present tools to navigate these challenges. It will also provide insight into critical issues facing Indiana families, from infants and children to the aging and elderly. Topics include issues of military families, low-income families seeking higher education, low-income single moms, and issues of rural and urban families.

Chuck Underwood, author of "The General Imperative"and "America's Generations in the Workplace, Marketplace and Living Room," will be the keynote speaker. Underwood is one of the pioneers in the field of generational study. The principles he established over the past 25 years, through research and work with clients, are now a permanent part of the discipline.
Other speakers will include researchers from Indiana University, Ivy Tech Community College, Marian University, Purdue University and Sagamore Institute.

The symposium will take place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Ivy Tech Community College Conference Center at 2820 N. Meridian St. in Indianapolis. The cost of the symposium is $50. Lunch is included. Online registration can be found here. Registration deadline is Oct. 9.

The Center for Families at Purdue University was established within the Department of Human wwwelopment and Family Studies in the College of Health and Human Sciences. The center collaborates with professionals, policymakers, corporations and more to integrate outreach, teaching and research activities that support families.The Military Family Research Institute is a Center for Families initiative.

For more information, please contact Kate Kester, the center's assistant director.

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Time is running out to register for Battlemind to Home

More than 200 community leaders, behavioral health providers and community members are expected to gather at the upcoming Battlemind to Home Mental Health Summit, which aims to help improve knowledge about military and veteran families and connect systems that best support them.

Held in partnership with the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University, the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center, the Indiana National Guard and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the event attracts participants from 100 organizations from across the state and region. This year it will be held Sept. 12 at the Indianapolis Marriott East in Indianapolis with sessions that focus on topics such as family reunification, mental and physical health and building supportive communities.

Time is running out to register for this educationally-rich experience, and space is limited, so register soon. Attendees receive breakfast, lunch, all symposium materials, and continuing education credits (CEUs) for their participation. 

“We know from participant feedback that Battlemind to Home builds knowledge and creates relationships among communities that work with veterans and their families,” said Christy Collette, Outreach Specialist for MFRI. “This year’s program will continue to be focused on expanding knowledge and increasing supports, so that our communities are strong and vibrant places where veterans can thrive.”

Battlemind helps participants become more aware of veterans’ needs, while motivating them to make changes to serve them better.

“I have become more aware of our society's past and current failures to meet the needs of veterans whose lives are so disrupted by PTSD, and I have been challenged to consider being an advocate to help overcome these,” said one 2016 Battlemind attendee. “I have a personal and professional responsibility to know where services exist and how one can access them; and I should do everything I can to inform veterans within my sphere of influence of the services they may need.”

Another attendee said the event was “interesting and sobering, with great application to my work.”

This is the eighth offering of Battlemind, and the event has wwweloped a strong reputation for helping community partners gain greater appreciation and understanding of the challenges facing returning combat veterans and their families. Community interest in joint collaborations for further enhancing care for veterans has spiked from the awareness raised in the past seven offerings of the symposium.

Thanks to the generous support of community-minded organizations, we are able to offer the registration fee for this year’s event to $50 per attendee.

Use #b2h17 to join the conversation, and follow @MFRIPurdue on Twitter and Facebook.

Registration for Battlemind to Home Mental Health Summit is limited, so sign up soon. If you have any questions, please contact: MFRI Outreach Specialist Christy Collette at


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Happy birthday, Coast Guard!

The Coast Guard was founded on Aug. 4, 1790, when America's Congress authorized the building of 10 vessels to enforce tariff and trade laws, prevent smuggling, and protect the collection of federal revenue.

Help celebrate this special day by educating others about about America's first and smallest service. Here are some fun facts you can share:

  • More than 41,700 active-duty military; 7,800 reserve military part-time employees; 8,300 civilian full-time employees; and 31,000 civilian auxiliary volunteers serve in the Coast Guard.
  • Since 2003, the service has operated as part of the Department of Homeland Security.
  • During World War II, 241,093 Coast Guard members served.
  • The service's core values are honor, respect and wwwotion to duty.
  • Alex Haley, who wrote the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "Roots,“ was the Coast Guard’s first journalist.
  • The Coast Guard has a special FAQ to help answer Coast Guard families' questions.
  • Admiral Paul F. Zukunft is the current Top Commandant of the service.
  • The Coast Guard motto is "Sempar Paratus" – "Always Ready."
  • President George Washington commissioned the first Coast Guard officer, Captain Hopley Yeaton, on March 21, 1791.


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Military spouses sought to participate in research

Colorado State University Doctoral Candidate Heather Chadwick and colleagues are seeking research participants for a study on the lived educational experiences of military spouses who are pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Called "A Qualitative Study on the Nontraditional Undergraduate Experiences of Military Spouses," the study asks participants to complete a brief demographic survey and participate in a 1 hour audio-recorded interview to discuss experiences as a military spouse pursuing an undergraduate degree. The interview will take place at a time and location that is convenient and comfortable to each participant.

Investigators are also asking participants to complete an activity after the initial data analysis is completed. The activity is called member checking, and involves participants' reviewing the transcript to ensure its accuracy. This activity will involve no more than 1 additional hour. 

Participation in this research is voluntary. Anyone taking part in the study may withdraw consent and stop at any time without penalty.  Each participant will be compensated with a $10.00 Wal-mart gift card. Researchers will not collect names or personal identifiers of anyone agreeing to take part.

If you would like to join the study, or have any questions about the research, please contact Heather Chadwick at 714-423-8595,, or Dr. Linda Kuk



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