MFRI director appointed to serve on National Academies committee

Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, professor of Human Development and Family Studies and director of the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University, has been appointed to serve on a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine committee that focuses on military families’ well-being.

MacDermid Wadsworth’s work is published in numerous scholarly journals. She has received numerous awards, including Purdue’s Morrill Award, which recognizes outstanding career achievements with impact on society.

As a member of the Committee on the Well-Being of Military Families, MacDermid Wadsworth will work with colleagues across the nation to address:

  • What can be learned from the positive experiences military families have and the protection conferred on them through supports provided by the Department of Defense and service branches.
  • How the challenges presented by military life, such as frequent moves, exposure to trauma, economic status, parents and other stressors can influence children’s social-emotional, physical, biochemical and psychological development, and how those effects may vary across racial, ethnic and other characteristics.
  • The mechanisms by which resilience can be fostered in military children and families, with attention to the broader literatures on human development, stress exposure and resilience, as well as available research from other countries.
  • What is needed to strengthen the support system for military families, with attention to consistency of the current system of services and resources across population subgroups, service branches and military status.

“My primary research interest is in the relationships between work conditions and family life, especially among military and veteran families,” she said. “I am honored to have been invited to serve on this committee.”

She has provided invited testimony to inform Congress about military and veteran issues and contributed to Joining Forces, a national initiative to increase support of service members, veterans and their families. She is editor of a series of scholarly texts that examine risk and resilience in U.S. military families. The latest, “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families,” was released this year.

MFRI is a unit of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Purdue University. One of the world’s premiere research institutions, Purdue is Indiana’s land-grant university, and supports missions of learning, discovery, and engagement.