News

MFRI stands with the AAPI community

We, the undersigned organizations committed to supporting service members, veterans, caregivers, survivors, and their families, write to express our strong condemnation of the recent wave of violence against individuals of Asian descent in our country, and to express our solidarity with Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have strong representation among our veterans and military families. They are patriots who have strengthened the fabric of our nation, they have fought and won our wars, they have borne the burden of battle and cared for those who have borne that burden.

We affirm that violence against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders is violence against our entire community, and such activity – like all hate-based activity – is fundamentally wrong in every way, anti-American, and unpatriotic. We urge all members of the military and veteran family community, and all Americans who feel they may be targeted by discrimination, to seek help through their military chain of command, our organizations, or through law enforcement agencies in your area.

Sincerely,

Amazon
Armed Services YMCA
Blue Star Families
Bunker Labs
CareLinx
Code of Support Foundation
Cohen Veterans Network
Combined Arms
Easterseals
Easterseals DC VA MD
Elizabeth Dole Foundation
Dixon Center for Military and Veteran Services
Freedom Learning Group
Institute for Veterans and Military Families
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America
Modern Military Association of America
Military Spouse Chamber of Commerce
Military Child Education Coalition
Military Family Advisory Network
Military Family Research Institute
Military Officers Association of America
Military Women’s Memorial
National Math and Science Initiative
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
Operation Gratitude
Partners in PROMISE
PenFed Foundation
PsychArmor Institute
Psych Hub
United Through Reading
USAA
RallyPoint
Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregivers
Secure Families Initiative
Student Veterans of America
Team RWB
The Mission Continues
Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors
Travis Manion Foundation
Veterans Education Success
Vets’ Community Connections
Wear Blue: Run to Remember

The White Oak Collaborative is a cross-sector coalition of organizations committed to supporting service members, veterans, caregivers, survivors, and their families. For more information please contact whiteoakcollaborative@gmail.com.

MFRI shares resources for anti-racism

The terrible news yesterday of the murders in Atlanta reminds us all that bias, racism and hatred take many forms and are directed toward many groups. MFRI condemns such thoughts and actions, we stand in solidarity and we are committed to doing all we can to promoting anti-racism within and beyond our Purdue community.
 

Additional Resources

Purdue’s Military Family Research Institute to host Battlemind to Home Summit

Legal, mental health and community leaders will learn and share strategies to ease the transition from the battlefront to the home front for military personnel, veterans and their families during the 11th annual Battlemind to Home Summit on Oct. 27.

Hosted by the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University, the conference brings together a variety of experts to inform and educate Indiana professionals of the critical issues facing Indiana’s military families. A preconference will take place on Oct. 26. Both the preconference and the summit will be held virtually via the Whova conference app.

The Battlemind to Home Summit will feature keynote speakers Froma Walsh, a leader in the fields of family therapy and mental health and co-director and co-founder of the Chicago Center for Family Health, and Chad Robichaux, president and founder of the Mighty Oaks Foundation. After overcoming his own personal battles with post-traumatic stress disorder and nearly becoming a veteran suicide statistic, Robichaux founded Mighty Oaks to serve military communities with one of the most effective faith-based combat trauma and resiliency programs available.

This year’s summit will address:

  • Issues regarding legal needs and support.
  • How to address physical and mental health concerns during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The tools needed to create a sense of community within civilian life for military personnel.
  • 500 word essay helps within the community of civilians to achieve A grade

Participants of the preconference can select from one of the following three sessions:

  • The Intersection of Substance Use and Suicide: Understanding the Connection
  • Veteran Homelessness Community Forum
  • An Overview of VA and Military Benefits for Elder Law Attorneys and VA Accredited Representatives (this session is exclusively for legal professionals)

Past summits have taken place in Indianapolis and on Purdue’s West Lafayette campus and have attracted hundreds of attendees and participants from more than 100 organizations in Indiana and nearby states.

More than 400,000 veterans call Indiana home. Those still serving include 5,258 who are in active duty, 13,202 in National Guards and 5,553 in the Reserves. As a percentage of population, Indiana military-related suicide rates are 28.00 for every 100,000 persons versus 20.8 for every 100,000 civilians.

Registration for the conference is $45. The preconference costs an additional $20. Continuing education credits and scholarships are available. Registration is now open.

MFRI, which is based at Purdue, organizes the summit each year in partnership with the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, the Indiana National Guard, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiative and the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs. Organizers collaborate with the Indiana State Bar Association and Indiana Office of Court Services.

The term “battlemind” initially was used by military to talk about the inner strength needed to face adversity, fear and hardship during combat. The application of the term then was broadened to take in psychological resiliency both during and after deployment.

More information about the summit is available online, on the MFRI Facebook page or on Twitter using #battlemindIN.

MFRI’s Focus Forward Fellowship 2020 cohort selected

The Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University is proud to announce the selection of the 2020 Focus Forward Fellowship cohort. The Fellowship is an MFRI program designed to build skills, leadership and a sense of community among women student veterans and service members.

Fellows are competitively selected from across the country and participate in this program on scholarship. MFRI received applications from 71 eligible candidates for this year’s Fellowship. After a very competitive selection process, 20 women were selected from 16 different colleges and universities, representing four branches of service, and diverse areas of academic study.

MFRI Director and Purdue Professor Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth is eager to welcome the 2020 cohort.

She states, “We are very excited to welcome the 2020 Focus Forward Fellows. Networks of personal and professional support are now more important than ever, and we are eager to work together with these talented and already accomplished women to pursue their academic and career goals.”

These women will build a community of support as they go through the Fellowship. Taking place virtually this year, they will meet with mentors from major corporations via video conferencing, learn about their own strengths and how to maximize them, and identify strategies and resources to increase connections and successes on their own home campuses. In addition, they will gain confidence in their ability to problem solve and develop skills to help foster academic and career success. Once the curriculum portion is over, they will participate in an online community throughout the upcoming academic year.

“This Fellowship is a great opportunity to lean-in and share information about transitioning from service member to veteran,” said mentor Betty Moseley Brown, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and the 19th president of the Women Marines Association. “It is great to meet women veterans and collaborate on life’s journey with my sisters.”

To learn more or find out ways you can support the Focus Forward Fellowship, contact Keara Ludiker, MFRI Fellowship program manager, at kludiker@purdue.edu or 765-494-0048 and follow the social media conversation at #FWDFellows.

Madison County group receives support to help improve access to veteran resources

The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University and the Purdue Center for Regional Development recently announced that the Madison County Joining Community Forces Network’s Military Supportive Communities Initiative (MSCI) Pathway Project proposal was accepted.

The group will receive a $2,000 grant to revitalize outreach efforts on resources available to community agencies, military service members, veterans and their families. Another aspect of the grant is to increase collaboration between the Madison County group and statewide resources and organizations.

“WorkOne is excited to have this opportunity to collaborate with other organizations in our community and be part of the Military Supportive Communities Initiative Team,” said Alan Janney, disabled veteran outreach program specialist with WorkOne. “We believe the collaboration of organizations through the Joining Community Forces Meetings and Workshops will unite us in our efforts to serve our military service men and women, veterans and their families in Madison County. We greatly appreciate Purdue’s Military Family Research Institute in providing us with this outstanding opportunity to serve.”

The Madison County group has been active for nine years. It provides Stand Down events and focuses on current issues pertaining to military and veteran families in Madison County. They started the MSCI process in April 2019 and submitted their Pathway Project application in May 2020.

Members of the team have been studying demographic and economic data on their county and developed the skills needed to identify and act on priorities designed to benefit military and veteran families.

“The proposal from the Madison County Joining Community Forces Network was excellent,” said Bo Beaulieu, director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development. “It is very ambitious but doable because of the commitment and passion of the Madison County team members.”

Writer: Matthew Oates, 765-586-7496 (cell), oatesw@purdue.edu, @mo_oates

View original Purdue University news release. 

MFRI director Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth named distinguished professor

The Purdue University Board of Trustees on June 11 ratified MFRI’s director Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth as a Distinguished Professor of Department of Human Development and Family Studies. MacDermid Wadsworth has been a Purdue University College of Health and Human Sciences professor since 2001 and is an internationally-renowned expert on work and family life relationships, specifically on the resilience of military families. She has been a productive scholar with more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, more than 30 book chapters and nine edited or authored books. MacDermid Wadsworth came to Purdue in 1989 and has received the highest recognitions that the University bestows: the Morrill Award from the Office of the Provost, the Lu Ann Aday Award from the Office of the Executive Vice President for Research and Partnerships, and the Faculty Engagement Scholar Award. She co-founded MFRI in 2000 and has been MFRI’s director since 2007.

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Families Tackling Tough Times Together

Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) is pleased to launch Families Tackling Tough Times Together, a program to support families as they deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Guided by scientific evidence about family resilience, the “pop-up” program is being developed by HHS along with contributing partners from Purdue and beyond, with the aim of helping families strengthen their resilience while they cope with the crisis. Families are invited to join a public Facebook group where they will find materials and activities tied to a specific aspect of resilience. All materials are carefully vetted and include engaging and fun activities that fit easily into daily life. Families with children, youth, young adults and older adults will find materials tailored for them. Additional features include podcasts with experts, live events and community engagement activities. All are welcome; we especially welcome military families. 

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MFRI’s response to COVID-19

The safety and well-being of our staff and those we serve is an issue we take very seriously. MFRI is following the guidance from Purdue University about social distancing and the State of Indiana’s stay at home order.  We are paying close attention to updates and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We know that the current situation impacts our work and initiatives. We are working to assess each initiative and devise alternate (contingency) plans that allow us to carry on with our work supporting military and veteran families and those that support them. We thank you for your patience as we implement these plans. We encourage everyone to do your part to protect the health of others and continue to support each other and those you come in contact with.

For the most up-to-date news, view Purdue University’s COVID-19 website.

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April is the Month of the Military Child

Every April MFRI celebrates the Month of the Military Child, showing appreciation for approximately 2 million military children who serve alongside their parents.

Military children play an important role in the armed forces community. That’s because their parent’s service requires of them daily sacrifices and can create unique challenges when compared to their civilian peers.

Ways to honor military children

Celebrate Military Kids! April is the Month of the Military Child

Sponsored by the Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy, the Month of the Military Child is a time for communities to honor these children. It’s a time to say, “Thank you for your service.”

There are many things you can do to say thank you. You can celebrate Purple Up Day by wearing purple on April 15th. You can buy military-friendly books for your local library. Your business can offer discounts to military families. Consider downloading and sharing MFRI’s How to Help series. Each issue provides evidence-based guidance on how a particular community or profession can help military families, including children.

The DOD encourages communities to plan special events in April to honor military children. “These efforts and special events will stress the importance of providing children with quality services and support to help them succeed in the mobile military lifestyle,” the Department of Defense Education Activity (DODEA) writes. Learn more on the DODEA’s website.

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National Academies releases report on strengthening military families

Deployment and the general challenges of military life affect not only service members but also the families who depend on them as they support the nation. And the needs of military families reflect the diverse needs of modern American families.

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine — “Strengthening the Military Family Readiness System for a Changing American Society” — reviews challenges and opportunities facing military families and what is known about effective strategies for supporting and protecting military children and families. The report, which was co-authored by MFRI’s Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth and an esteemed committee of leaders, assessed available data and research on military children and families, including those who have left the military, with attention to differences by race, ethnicity, and other factors.

Undertaken by the National Academies’ Committee on the Well-Being of Military Families, the study was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense and focuses on its Military Family Readiness System (MFRS), a network of agencies, programs, services, and individuals that promotes the well-being and quality of life of military service members and their families.

The report found that DOD’s MFRS has many good features and offers support not usually available in the private sector; however, it could be strengthened in a number of ways, including by though attention to a more comprehensive, coordinated framework to support well-being, resilience, and readiness.

Recommendations included that DOD strengthen the MFRS so that it:

  • Provides a comprehensive continuum of support across providers, locations, and changing benefit eligibility.
  • Facilitates adaptive and timely approaches to stepped service delivery according to individual family needs.
  • Draws upon effective evidence-based or evidence-informed approaches.
  • Integrates routine screening and assessment tools into the delivery of family support programs.
  • Builds and employs a robust infrastructure of both implementation and outcome data that supports continuous quality improvement.
  • Coordinates referrals and care across military and nonmilitary resources, institutions, and communities.

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The report also recommends that the DOD promote better civilian understanding, both within military community and the broader community, of the strengths and needs of military-connected individuals, addressing misinformation, negative stereotypes, and lack of knowledge commonly found in the civilian sector about military life and service members.

 

About the National Academies: The National Academies are private, nonprofit institutions that provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions related to science, technology, and medicine. They operate under an 1863 congressional charter to the National Academy of Sciences, signed by President Lincoln. For more information, visit nationalacademies.org.