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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.

Purdue center's partnerships aim to assist Department of Defense


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies, home to the Military Family Research Institute, has partnered with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Community & Family Policy (MC&FP) on four projects that seek to strengthen Department of Defense programming for military families.

Led by Human Development Family Studies (HDFS) faculty researchers in conjunction with the military research institute (MFRI), these projects focus on a range of topics, from early childhood education and care, to evaluation of family programming and the creation of a new curriculum.

Professor James Elicker has engaged MFRI researchers to assist in his study of preschool access for 4-year-old children with military parents. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) project seeks to identify gaps in military preschool programs on installations overseas and recommend ways to address them. Elicker says his team will make site visits and conduct about 125 interviews with education leaders at overseas bases, including school administrators and staff working at overseas child development centers. Elicker’s team is working with the Department of Defense Education Activity as well as MC&FP on this project.

“We will gather information about current preschool program coverage and quality and then recommend ways to expand services in a cost-efficient manner,” Elicker said. “This is a nice opportunity for me to broaden my perspective by working on a project that serves military children.”

Distinguished Professor Douglas Powell is also focusing on young children, leading a five-year project, with assistance from MFRI, HDFS faculty and staff, and partners in other departments and institutions, to develop a new curriculum for DoD child development centers and family child care homes. This new research-based curriculum will not only be used in the largest employer-sponsored child care system in the world, it will eventually be offered to civilian child care systems at no cost.

“We are exceedingly proud to be working with NIFA, HDFS, the DoD, andothers to be partners in these projects,” said Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, director of MFRI. “These efforts help the DoD ensure that Service members have the support they need to fulfill their responsibilities both to their military service and to their families at home, and the impact will be felt around the globe for years to come.”

In addition to these child-centered projects, MFRI, along with faculty from Purdue’s Institute for Homeland Security, the Department of Consumer Sciences and Retailing, Kansas State University’s Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families and the University of North Carolina Greensboro, has entered into a cooperative agreement with NIFA to evaluate selected family support programs across the armed forces. Researchers are exploring data surrounding family support programs chosen by the individual services: two financial readiness trainings, and one emergency preparedness training and resilience training for couples experiencing repeated deployments. The goal is to equip the services with data to document and further improve the outcomes achieved by these programs.

These projects join a 2012 collaboration among MFRI, NIFA, the Department of Defense and the National Military Family Association that resulted in the publication of How to Help Military and Veteran Families. The original series of 11 issues offer valuable information to various audiences to help them assist and support members of the military, veterans and their families. Five new How to Help issues will be released later this year.

“These collaborations bring national attention to the capacities within our department and Purdue’s College of Health and Human Sciences,” says Doran French, HDFS department head. “MFRI’s depth and breadth of experience with military families, combined with the individual expertise of our faculty members, make a perfect combination to help the DoD build its capacity to effectively and efficiently serve military families and provide them the best possible services.”

Contact: Beth Johnson, director of External Relations, Purdue University Military Family Research Institute, 703-927-7429,


  •  Posted on April 14, 2015

Invitation to participate in military research

Prior and current military personnel are invited to consider participating in an IRB-approved dissertation research examining the relationship between several factors and sexual harassment in the military.

The study is being done by Ph.D. student Lauren Cunningham of the Counseling Psychology program at Ball State University. Her faculty advisor is Dr. Theresa Kruczek, Ph.D., HSPP.

The research involves several questionnaires and a brief activity that will take approximately 15 to 20 minutes to complete and there is no obligation for individuals to participate, and there is no penalty for those who choose not to participate. The survey must be completed on a computer rather than a tablet or mobile device.

Some of the questions may be sensitive in nature and some may be emotionally stimulating.  Professionals and trained staff are available to speak with participants 24-hours a day to provide crisis counseling, information, and other resources. The list of contacts includes:

Participants can click on the link below to read the study'a consent form and complete the questionnaires. (Please copy and paste the link  to the internet browser should it not open after clicking it).


  •  Posted on March 26, 2015

Former MFRI student earns top honors

Purdue alum and former Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) undergraduate student Laura Compton Frey was recently named the 2014 National Council on Family Relations (NFCR) Outstanding Student. This prestigious title is awarded to an NFCR graduate student member who has demonstrated excellence as a student and shows great potential for contributing to the family studies discipline. Frey  is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Kentucky where she studies family processes, suicide, stigma and military culture. Congratulations, Laura!

Laura Frey photo

Laura Frey press release

  •  Posted on March 5, 2015

MFRI participates in 2nd Purdue Day of Giving

Mark your calendar for April 29, this year’s Day of Giving date. This one-day-only bonus program and hourly challenges mean more dollars for your favorite school or program, such as MFRI.

This year, you can double your impact to MFRI. In conjunction with the Office of the Provost, the College of Health and Human Sciences and the Department of Human Development and Family Studies is using $250,000 in non-recurring funds to match philanthropic gifts that establish a permanent endowment. Last year, thanks to the incredible generosity of the Purdue family, Purdue Day of Giving raised an incredible $7.5 million in just 24 hours, granting countless opportunities  for our community. Join us April 29 as we continue to grant opportunities and create lasting impact.

  •  Posted on March 5, 2015

Got Your 6 launches program to challenge misconceptions

To combat the stereotypes and misconceptions about veterans that currently dominate popular culture, Got Your 6 has launched a new program recognize film and television projects that portray veterans accurately and responsibly.

The program, 6 Certified, was established to encourage more normalized depictions of veterans on film and television, according the Got Your 6 website. The website also explained that a study commissioned by the organization revealed that “the general public currently reports seeing only extreme depictions of veterans—as either heroic or broken—on film and television. These portrayals significantly influence public perception of veterans overall, yet are not representative of the actual veteran population.”

6 Certified films will contain a representative and balanced depiction of veterans, as well as make and fulfill at least one of six pledges, including casting a veteran, developing a multidimensional veteran character or consulting with veterans, family members, or subject matter experts in an effort to create accurate portrayals of veteran life.

Last fall, MFRI signed a memorandum of understanding with the Got Your 6 campaign to support six key pillars of veterans’ reintegration to the civilian world: jobs, education, health, housing, family and leadership. Joining MFRI in support of Got Your 6 are more than 60 major stakeholders and partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors, including Joining Forces, Student Veterans of America and Habitat for Humanity.

  •  Posted on March 4, 2015

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