Participants sought: Conversations about post-deployment adjustment

University of South Florida researchers are seeking eligible military spouses or significant others to participate in a study that seeks to understand the experiences of partners who have (or have had) concerns about their service member’s post-deployment adjustment.

The research results may inform programs that assist military and veteran families.

Participation in the study involves two steps. First, spouses/significant others will take a 10-minute online survey to make sure they are eligible. The survey will also ask about their relationship history. Second, those interested in participating in a 45-60 minute follow-up video chat interview will be asked to provide contact information for scheduling purposes. The interviewer will inquire about their ideas and experiences as a military spouse or partner.

Those who complete the survey will receive a $5 digital Amazon gift card. Those who elect to participate in the interview will receive an additional $20 Amazon gift card upon its completion.

Only the researchers will see the information provided, except as may be required by law. No military organizations will have access to this data. If a report of this study is published or presented at a professional conference, no identifying information will be used.

In order to be eligible for the research, participants must:

  • be the spouse/significant other of a military service member or veteran;
  • have been married or together since before the service member’s most recent deployment;
  • have had one or more conversations with the service member about the challenges of readjusting to civilian life post-deployment; and
  • be 18 years old or older.

The service member or veteran must have (a) served in the U.S. military, (b) been deployed abroad (outside of the United States), and (c) returned from the most recent overseas deployment within the last two years.

For more information, or to participate in the research, email milfamstudy@usf.edu.

Communities selected to enhance lives of military members with MFRI’s Military Supportive Communities Initiative

The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University selected two communities to participate in the Military Supportive Communities Initiative (MSCI). 

MSCI is a two-component effort intended for places that are dedicated to improving the lives of veterans, service members and their families. The components include the Community Enrichment program and the Data Academy. 

Community Enrichment

Communities (or counties) selected for the Community Enrichment program will organize a representative team of local residents who will play a vital role in community development.

Two communities were recently selected for the 2019 Community Enrichment program.

Wabash Valley Military Support GroupWabash Valley Military Support Organization is located in Terra Haute, Indiana which is the largest urban catchment area of the Wabash valley. Terre Haute is home to several military components and has a history of community support and dedication to veterans.

 

James Ramer, Vigo County Veterans Treatment Court coordinator, said being part of MSCI will benefit the military community members in many ways.

“The program will allow for a guided approach to look at our community in a new way, a way that will focus on the communities needs for military families. As a result we hope to bring this new information to light when discussing community needs with new stakeholders who want to invest their time in the enhancement of military and veteran lives.”

4 County Joining Community Forces IndianaFour County Joining Community Forces Indiana, representing the military/veteran and family community in Howard, Miami, Cass, Pulaski and Fulton counties has worked to improve the lives of their local service members, veterans and their families since 2012.

 

Phil Turner, Four County Joining Community Forces Indiana co-facilitator, said the group is excited to be part of the project.

“Across the state of Indiana, there is a need for communities to focus on military and veteran families. 4 County Joining Community Forces Indiana’s goal is to support and assist military and veteran families in a five county area, but the impact of that support will greatly increase by being part of this program.”

Data Academy

The Data Academy will help community members to explore, refine and enhance their skills in using data. Selected communities will learn to use gathered data in ways that lead to community-level programs to enhance the well-being of military and veteran families.

Applications are for the Data Academy are due March 1 with selections announced in the spring of 2019.

Learn more about MSCI by visiting bit.ly/MFRI_MSCI

MSCI is a collaboration between MFRI, the Purdue Center for Regional Development and the Purdue University Extension Community Development Program.

MFRI helps organizations advance change for military and veteran families

The Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University (MFRI), in partnership with the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), hosted “Building Your Battle Plan to Support Military and Veteran Families” on Nov. 13 in Arlington, Va.

Led by experts and authors of MFRI’s initiative, “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families,” guests from nonprofit and veteran service organizations came together to create specific, targeted plans to support and advance transformational change in family support for military and veteran families. The text (Hughes-Kirchubel, MacDermid Wadsworth & Riggs, 2018), offers key insights that focus on how organizations can produce powerful supports for military families before, during and after major conflicts. Contributors integrated knowledge gained during their work with families and distilled recommendations into practical, experience-based chapters.

Panel discussion precedes guided exercises

A panel discussion kicked off the event, with each providing the audience with insight on finding effective solutions for issues facing military and veteran families. They offered recommendation based on sector-wide experiences in the years following 9/11.

“These important groups came together to actively engage and collaborate to find solutions for military and veteran families,” said Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, MFRI director. “History has shown us that major conflicts can arise without warning. These changes affect military and veteran families in a variety of ways. With this in mind, the attendees began to build viable solutions that can be strategically implemented during a future major conflict.”

Scholars honored for excellence in research on military and veteran families

The 2017 and 2018 MFRI Excellence in Research on Military and Veteran Families awards were also presented at the event. To find the top paper of each year, eight prominent scholars reviewed over 700 scientific articles, and helped conduct multiple rounds of review.

MFRI established the award in 2015 to recognize the best research on military-connected families. It is awarded to authors of research that combines exceptional rigor with important insights about military and veteran families. Nominations for this award are neither solicited nor accepted. Instead, a panel of top scholars reviews all the published research during the year and then determines the recipient.

About AUSA

The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) is the only private, nonprofit professional organization serving all components of America’s Total Army and its supporters. Since 1950, AUSA has provided a voice for the Army and vital services for Soldiers, Army civilians, and their families to advance the security of our nation. If you have a connection with the Army—professionally or personally—AUSA is your resource for exclusive access to scholarships and grants, business opportunities, educational resources, philanthropy initiatives, family programs, influential representation, and genuine relationships with a supportive Army community.

Military and Veteran Family Research in Excellence Award recipients announced

The Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University (MFRI) will present the 2017 and 2018 Awards for Excellence in Research on Military and Veteran Families today (Nov. 13).

Eight prominent scholars reviewed over 700 scientific articles from each year. Multiple rounds of review yielded the winning articles.

The 2017 selection, Post-9/11 veterans and their partners improve mental health outcomes with a self-directed mobile and web-based wellness training program: A randomized controlled trial, appeared in the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

The 2018 selection, How family structures and processes interrelate: The case of adolescent mental health and academic success in military families, appeared in the Journal of Family Issues.

“One of our goals at MFRI is to increase the impact of excellent research, and this award helps strengthen connections between researchers, policy makers and practitioners,” said Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, MFRI director. “We are thrilled to recognize and celebrate the excellent work of these outstanding scholars.”

The 2017 award recipients include:

  • Janet Kahn, Ph.D., LMT, University of Vermont
  • William Collinge, D., MPH, LCSW, Collinge and Associates, Inc.
  • Robert Soltysik, M.S., Optimal Data Analysis, LLC

The 2018 award recipients include:

  • Amy Laura Arnold Ph.D. CFLE, ICF
  • Mallory Lucier-Greer, Ph.D., Auburn University
  • Jay Mancini, Ph.D., University of Georgia, Athens
  • James Ford, Ph.D., University of Georgia, Athens
  • A.S. Wickrama, Ph.D., University of Georgia, Athens

MFRI established the award in 2015 to recognize the best research on military-connected families. It is awarded to authors of research that combines exceptional rigor with important insights about military and veteran families. Nominations for this award are neither solicited nor accepted. Instead, a panel of top scholars reviews all the published research during the year and then determines the recipient.

MFRI is also pleased to announce the articles that received an honorable mention for each year.

2017

2018

To learn more about past recipients, visit the MFRI Excellence in Research Award page.

The awards will be presented at a co-hosted event with the Association of the United States Army titled “Building Your Battle Plan to Support Military and Veteran Families.” 

About MFRI

The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University conducts research on issues that affect military and veteran families and works to shape policies, programs and practices that improve their well-being. Founded in 2000, MFRI envisions a diverse support community that understands the most pressing needs of military and veteran families. To achieve this, MFRI collaborates to create meaningful solutions for them. This internationally-recognized organization is located at Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences, in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

About AUSA

The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) is the only private, nonprofit professional organization serving all components of America’s Total Army and its supporters. Since 1950, AUSA has provided a voice for the Army and vital services for Soldiers, Army civilians, and their families to advance the security of our nation. If you have a connection with the Army—professionally or personally—AUSA is your resource for exclusive access to scholarships and grants, business opportunities, educational resources, philanthropy initiatives, family programs, influential representation, and genuine relationships with a supportive Army community.

Indiana community mourns the passing of beloved former MFRI assistant director

Military Family Research Institute staff, students and the wider Indiana community are mourning the death of former Assistant Director and Air Force veteran Martina Sternberg, Ph.D., who died Sept. 2 in Navarre, Florida.

The 53-year-old veteran dedicated her career to military-connected families, and her passion for making people’s lives better is a theme that will live on at MFRI. She was an integral part of building Battlemind to Home Summit into the collaborative success it is today.

“Martina will always be remembered as person with a huge heart and an exuberant spirit,” said Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, director of MFRI. “She was an enormous part of building MFRI’s work, and above all was a wonderful and supportive coworker and friend.”

Community mobilizer, tireless advocate

Martina was an active member of her community, participating in local programs to assist those in need. She started a Trauma Intervention Program in Florida and the Grandparents Raising Grandkids Association. With a smile that could brighten the room, her enormous personality and wealth of selflessness will be sorely missed by all.

At MFRI, she led community mobilization efforts, expanding them to include work on behalf of student veterans and rural veterans. Her relentless work with homeless veterans helped thousands via fundraisers, benefits, and Stand Downs, which earned her several prestigious awards, including the Distinguished Hoosier Award presented by the Governor of Indiana, and the Veteran of the Year Award. Martina was a prominent gay rights advocate, and as a result, was invited to the White House when President Obama signed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Bright light, ‘big influence’ and mentor

Phil Turner, MFRI veteran justice outreach specialist, worked with her before being hired at MFRI.

“I remember Martina being an influence in my life and we didn’t even know each other that well,” he said. “In my small hometown in northeastern Indiana, we were struggling to find resources to help our local veterans. Under Martina’s leadership we gained a veteran Stand Down program that still is being used to this day. After joining MFRI, Martina became a mentor. I will always be thankful for her leadership and care for military and veteran families.”

Martina was a bright light in this world and touched many lives by broadcasting her radiance. After her time at MFRI, she moved to Florida where she is survived by her husband Scott Sternberg, daughter Jessica Craig, grandson Gabriel Craig and other beloved family members. She was preceded in death by her mother Dolores Henry, her son Joshua Craig and her brother Martin Preston.

Visitation will be Sept. 9 from 1:30-3:30 p.m. at Harper-Morris Memorial Chapel. Funeral services will be Sept. 10 at 10 a.m. at St. Sylvester’s Catholic Church.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Gabriel’s Trust Fund.

Battlemind to Home Summit registration closes Oct. 1

Registration for Battlemind to Home Summit, one of the most engaging military and veteran health summits in the state, closes Oct. 1, 2018.

Battlemind will be held Oct. 9 in Indianapolis at the Marriott East. The event brings together subject matter experts to educate Indiana professionals about the critical issues facing our veteran population. Sessions for 2018 focus on topics related to mental health concerns, community mobilization, legal needs and support and more.

Christy Collette, Military and Family Research Institute Outreach Specialist, said attendees will choose two breakout sessions to participate in at registration.

“There are 12 breakout session for attendees to choose from. Topics such as engaging veterans in your community, VA claims and faith based initiatives are just a few session participants can engage in.”

Breakout sessions include:

  • Suicide gatekeeper training
  • VA claims bring calm to veterans
  • Engaging veterans as assets in your community
  • Discharge upgrades
  • Veterans Treatment Court – a mock court session
  • Increasing community awareness about veteran families and caregivers
  • Maximize the Influences of Veteran Treatment Court mentors
  • Counseling on access to lethal means for individuals in crisis
  • Building blocks for energizing communities
  • Office of the Indiana Attorney General assistance for service members and their families
  • VA Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives
  • The ethics of representing clients with diminished capacity

First time attendees have the opportunity to apply to the Colonel Roger Peterman Scholarship, covering the registration cost of attending Battlemind.

“Roger retired from the Indiana National Guard after 33 years of service and served on the Battlemind planning committee since its beginning. This year we are offering one paid registration in his honor.”

Colonel Roger Peterman scholarship applications are due Aug. 13.

Register Now

Battlemind is hosted by the Military Family Research Institute, in partnership with the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center, Indiana National Guard and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Find information about Battlemind on social media by following MFRI on Twitter using #battlemindIN, and “like” MFRI on Facebook.

For questions or inquires contact Collette at flynn14@purdue.edu.

MFRI book highlights post-9/11 lessons learned from supporting military families, veterans

The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University recently released “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families,” a new experience-based book that highlights lessons learned from supporting veteran and military families during and after operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Findings in the book reveal that when planning for a military conflict, leaders in Congress, the executive branch, and service organizations should prioritize military and veteran families as a part of defense strategy during conflicts.

The book draws on lessons learned from U.S. policymakers, Congress members, Department of Defense officials, and leaders in sectors such as higher education, behavioral health, corporate America, and more. Key insights focus on how to produce effective and agile support systems for military and veteran families before, during, and after times of war. More than 100 leaders contributed to this valuable resource, providing knowledge they gained working firsthand with military families after 9/11 and distilling lessons learned and recommendations into practical, experience-based chapters.

“During each new conflict, we learn more about how best to support service members,” says Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, Ph.D., director of MFRI. “Our findings indicate that the military is strongest when service members know their families are taken care of and when families have the tools and resources they need to support their service member.”

A road map for supporting veteran and military families

In addition to sharing lessons learned, “A Battle Plan” acts as a road map for supporting veteran and military families, addressing how to:

  • Integrate family support systems into defense strategy.
  • Anticipate issues and challenges that are likely to affect military families.
  • Adopt policies that help, not hinder, military families during times of conflict.
  • Ensure that military families have a voice in the conversation.
  • Identify urgent gaps in support systems.
  • Navigate the rapidly changing world of service organizations.
  • Plan more effectively for medical and caregiving needs.
  • Provide the resources military and veteran families need after military conflicts wind down.

The book was edited by Linda Hughes-Kirchubel, MFRI’s director of external relations, Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, MFRI’s director, and David Riggs, executive director of the Center for Deployment Psychology. To learn more about “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families,” visit www.mfri.purdue.edu/battleplan.

About Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University

The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University conducts research on issues that impact military and veteran families and works to shape policies, programs, and practices that promote their well-being. Founded in 2000, MFRI envisions a diverse support community that understands the most pressing needs of military and veteran families. To achieve this, MFRI collaborates to create meaningful solutions for them. The nationally recognized organization is located at Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences, in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

Operation Hire A Hoosier Veteran job fair June 27

The Military Family Research Institute is one of several organizations sponsoring Operation Hire A Hoosier Veteran. The 12th annual employment and resources fair is organized to provide employment assistance to service members, veterans and their families. This year the fair will be June 27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in the Agriculture/Horticulture building.

New this year is the resources area, where experts will provide guidance to job seekers in resume building, interviewing techniques, social media best practices and fair strategies.

The fair will be open from 9 a.m. to Noon for service members, veterans and their families with the remaining part of the day also open to the general public and military community members.

Employers seeking to hire service members, veterans and their families are encouraged to attend. Employer sponsorship options include:

  • Basic Registration ($190)
  • One Star Employer ($275)
  • Two Star Sponsor ($500)
  • Three Star Sponsor ($750)

Job seekers and employers can register and find additional information at www.ohhv.org.