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Stay updated on the latest MFRI news as well as news pertaining to military families and those who work to assist them.


Battlemind to Home VI increases knowledge, connections

Battlemind to Home VI Symposium concluded another successful event last week, with participants leaving inspired to create stronger, more supportive communities for service members, veterans and their families.

Sponsored and organized by the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI), the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center, the Indiana National Guard and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Aug. 19-20 event featured keynote speaker retired Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, director of the Killology Research Group. In addition, a number of other veterans and military members helped to boost audience knowledge and understanding about military and veteran families.

Resources and presentation from the symposium have now been posted online.

Experts from the Veterans Health Administration's Post-Deployment Health Group, Veterans Benefits Administration, MFRI, Indiana National Guard and the VA, discussed veteran and military-specific issues. In addition, Maria Granger, presiding judge for Floyd County Superior Court, and Thomas L. Clem, judge for Madison County Circuit Court, presented a session on Indiana's veteran treatment courts. The event closed with inspirational presentations from Dorothy Simpson-Taylor and Faith Killiam.

“Battlemind continues to serve as an opportunity for community leaders, behavioral health providers and others to learn about how they can better share resources and gather information to serve our military and veteran families,” said Martina Sternberg, Ph.D., assistant director of MFRI. “With support from our partners, we have been able to host another thought-provoking event and engage in dialogue with those making change in their own backyards.”

Past Battlemind symposia attendees explained how the two-day conference continues to affect their work with veterans and members of the military.

“My work in rehab has been positively influenced by my knowledge gained here in building rapport and accomplishing goals with clients and their families,” said one behavioral health provider who works with military and veteran families.

“This is my fourth year, and I’m already looking forward to future conferences,” another participant said. “The speakers are amazing, especially those with high credentials in civilian society. They have a great ‘big picture’ and help us sort out the issues and resources more clearly.”

  •  Posted on Aug. 28, 2015

As event nears, excitement builds

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – For the fifth year, the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University is working with the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center and other organizations to help increase community support for veterans and military families.

More than 400 participants will attend the Battlemind to Home VI Symposium Aug. 19-20 in Indianapolis. Sponsored and organized by MFRI, Roudebush, the Indiana National Guard and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the event is designed to help service providers create stronger, more supportive communities for service members, veterans and their families.

The keynote speaker will be retired Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, director of the Killology Research Group. A scholar, author, and expert in human aggression, violence and violent crime, Grossman is a former West Point psychology professor. He has made contributions to the understanding of killing in war, including war's psychological costs, root causes of violent crime, and healing the victims of violence.

Other speakers include experts from the Veterans Health Administration's Post-Deployment Health Group, Veterans Benefits Administration, MFRI, Indiana National Guard and the VA. These speakers will discuss issues such as veteran experiences, VA claims, the Post-9/11 GI Bill and military families. In addition, Maria Granger, presiding judge for Floyd County Superior Court, and Thomas L. Clem, judge for Madison County Circuit Court, will present a session on Indiana's veteran treatment courts.

"The presenters challenge community leaders, service providers and those working to support our veterans with evidence-informed information," said Martina Sternberg, MFRI assistant director a member of the Battlemind planning committee. "They also help to motivate and inspire. During networking sessions, attendees learn about organizations that can help to support their own efforts. Battlemind gets rave reviews from our participants, who come back year after year because they understand its value."

Last year, Battlemind to Home V resulted in a partnership between MFRI and the VA's Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The group is developing a veterans' rural health initiative expected to launch this year as a two-state pilot program.

"Battlemind continues to be an excellent source of information, networking and new collaborations," Sternberg said. "We can't wait to see what this year has in store."

Follow Battlemind to Home VI on social media using #b2h6.

Contact: Beth Johnson, director of External Relations, MFRI, 703-927-7429, bethjohnson@purdue.edu

  •  Posted on Aug. 11, 2015

MFRI appoints new director of education and employment

MFRI Logo INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Military Family Research Institute announced on Monday, June 29, that Lauren Runco Williams has joined the organization to lead its growing education and employment initiatives.

Williams comes with a wealth of experience in the student veteran space, having previously served as the Director of Military and Veteran Services at Marywood University, as well as the VA Certifying Official on its Scranton, Pennsylvania campus. She also draws from her personal experience as a military family member who understands firsthand the challenges that service members face as they enter higher education institutions and workplaces.

As MFRI's new director of education and employment, Williams will continue research efforts and build partnerships with institutions of higher education, as well as national employers.

"I am excited to join the leadership team and look forward to further developing MFRI's programs to improve the lives of military members and veterans as they transition from active duty to other educational and professional pursuits," she said.

Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, director of MFRI, said "Lauren's breadth of experience and training within higher education institutions, as well as her clear dedication to and understanding of the military and veteran community will allow MFRI to engage new frontiers in our work with educators, administrators and employers."

While at George Mason University, Williams created "Beyond GI Joe: The Contemporary College Student Veteran," to teach student affairs professionals best practices when working with student veterans on campus. She has presented at multiple regional and national conferences.

Williams currently serves on the board of GI Jobs Military Friendly Schools, and the Pennsylvania Student Veteran Coalition. In addition, she serves as the NASPA Region II Representative of the Veterans Knowledge Community and in March 2015 was named the chair-elect of the Veterans Knowledge Community. She has received a number of honors, including the Department of the Army Commander's Award for Public Service, and the "Supra et Extra" award from the NASPA Veterans Knowledge Community.

Williams holds a bachelor's degree in international relations from the University of Scranton and a master's in higher education administration from Marywood University.

  •  Posted on June 29, 2015

Latest higher education report released by SVA, MFRI

Student Veterans of America, in partnership with MFRI, has released the fourth in an eight-part series of higher education reports today (June 25).

The Landscape in Higher Education series documents the promising practices and lessons learned through the efforts of MFRI's higher education initiative, Operation Diploma.

The newest report, "Appreciating military service realities: Higher learning institution policies regarding deployment and GI Bill benefits," recognizes the complex nature and demands of military life, including its multiple commitments and competing obligations. The report also describes how to help mitigate the challenges of military service and minimize delays in academic progress for service members and veterans.

Operation Diploma awarded grants to two- and four-year public and private institutions, which used the funds to better serve more than 6,000 student services members and veterans. Schools that received Operation Diploma grants submitted accountability reports describing their progress and results.
Other Landscape reports will be released this summer.

  •  Posted on June 25, 2015

SVA, MFRI release new higher education series

Student Veterans of America, in partnership with MFRI, has released the third in an eight-part series of higher education reports today (June 11).

The Landscape in Higher Education series documents the promising practices and lessons learned through the efforts of MFRI's higher education initiative, Operation Diploma. The newest report, "Rallying the troops: Enlisting support of faculty, staff and community veterans" identifies ways student veterans can successfully engage faculty and staff in activities that help them better understand military culture.

Through Operation Diploma, grants were awarded to two- and four-year public and private institutions. These grants, and their proceeds, affected the lives of more than 6,000 student service members and veterans. Schools that received Operation Diploma grants submitted accountability reports describing their progress and results.

Other Landscape reports will be released this summer,

 

  •  Posted on June 11, 2015


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