Recent News

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

Service at the top: Our Presidents and their military service

Washington's Birthday is a United States federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February in honor of our nation’s first President. It is popularly known as "Presidents Day" and used as an opportunity to remember all presidents, not just George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday is also in February.

With that in mind, we consulted the National Constitution Center to learn about presidential connections to the military. For example, did you know George Washington was still in the Army at the time of this death? And that Abraham Lincoln served for three months in the Black Hawk War of 1832, where his job was to bury the dead? Of the 43 men who have served as President (remember: Grover Cleveland served twice):

  • 31 had some type of military experience, either in active duty, reserves or in a militia;
  • 12 held the title of General during their careers; and
  • 3 (Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Jimmy Carter) were educated at military academies.

Perhaps right now one of our America’s future presidents is serving in one of our military branches, gathering leadership skills and experience to take him or her to the highest levels of service. MFRI thanks all who have served, as well as their families. Happy Presidents Day!


  •  Posted on Feb. 15, 2015

MFRI goes "Back to Class" with Purdue alumni, supporters

Representatives from MFRI’s family programs, community mobilization and education and employment initiatives are in Naples, Florida, going “Back to Class” with Purdue University alumni and supporters at the university’s President’s Council Weekend.

The weekend enables Boilermakers from all over the nation to renew friendships, build new ones, and enjoy fellowship with other Purdue leaders, students and the university’s world-class faculty. MFRI staff has been invited to take part in “Back to Class” activities which help to inform and educate attendees. Subjects cover everything from dark matter to wine appreciation.

MFRI’s panel, “Following in the Footsteps of the Greatest Generation,” will allow attendees to interact with and learn from the newest generation of veterans and their families. The round-table discussion will include evidence-based information from Director Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, who will cover a number of issues, including:

  • the unique nature of the current conflicts;
  • post-traumatic stress disorder; and
  • behavioral health challenges for military, veterans and their families.

Panel members will describe their personal experiences in the education, employment and community mobilization domains to demonstrate the needs and challenges of veteran and military families.

“This is a great opportunity for us to connect with Boilermakers who want to learn more about how they can support military and veteran families,” said Beth Johnson, director of external relations at MFRI. “We’re excited for Naples and honored to be invited to take part.”

  •  Posted on Feb. 10, 2015

SBHP trainings announced in six states

Six states across the nation are registering community members and behavioral health providers for a no-cost training program that aims to increase attendees’ understanding of military and veteran issues.

Star Behavioral Health Providers (SBHP) is announcing trainings in California, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and South Carolina. Created by the Indiana National Guard (INNG), Purdue University’s Military Family Research Institute (MFRI), the Bethesda-based Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP) and Indiana’s Family Social Service Administration (FSSA), this three-tiered program expands behavioral health care options for service members, veterans and their families through trainings that deliver information about specific challenges associated with military service.

In addition, SBHP’s online registry enables military-affiliated individuals, their families and referring professionals to locate licensed providers who have completed all three tiers of training.

SBHP Tiers One and Two offer information about military culture, deployment-related issues and challenges associated with military life. These tiers are open to all service providers and community members. Tier Three, open only to licensed clinicians who have attended the previous tiers, provides clinical skills that focus on evidence-based treatments to address some of the behavioral health issues facing service members, veterans and families. Trainings are provided by the CDP in collaboration with MFRI and each state’s local collaborators.

For up-to-date training locations and dates, visit

  •  Posted on Feb. 9, 2015

MFRI, Center for Families celebrate 2015 milestones

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Center for Families (CFF) and the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) are using their 20th and 15th anniversaries, respectively, to honor "Strong Families, Strong Communities" and the idea that families in all forms play a central role in creating resilient, vibrant communities.

"Strong Families, Strong Communities" will be reinforced throughout the year with various CFF and MFRI engagement opportunities such as events and online activities.

On April 25 CFF and MFRI will host a celebratory gala at the Conrad hotel, 50 W. Washington St., in Indianapolis. More information about the gala, including online registration, is available on the anniversary website.

"We hope everyone will come and enjoy an evening of wonderful food, inspiring speakers and uplifting entertainment," said Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, who is director of both organizations. "The gala is a chance for us to thank those who have worked diligently to serve families over the last 20 years and for those who support stronger families and communities to see what we are all about."

Founded in 1994 as part of Purdue University’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Health and Human Services, CFF is a reminder that families, in all of their diverse forms, are the foundation of society. Serving as a catalyst to integrate outreach, teaching, and research activities that support families, the center continues to increase and enhance collaboration among academic disciplines, professionals, policymakers, corporations and community organizations. Examples of this include the Family Impact Seminars, Rosabeth Moss Kanter Award for Work-Family Research and MFRI.

In 2000 the center created MFRI with funding from the Department of Defense. MFRI’s original mission was largely research-based, but it has expanded to include outreach, thanks in part to increased funding from the Department of Defense, and funding from Lilly Endowment Inc., Sesame Workshop and others.

MFRI's mission is to extend and strengthen the ability of military and civilian organizations to help service members, veterans and their families. By designing and implementing outreach activities that assist military families and conducting research with and for these families, MFRI helps generate new knowledge about their experiences and how the systems around them can better operate to improve their lives. Both centers operate under the philosophy that working with other high-quality individuals and organizations brings the most substantial benefits.

"Collaborative partnerships increase the breadth and depth of each institute's impact," MacDermid Wadsworth said. "CFF and MFRI offer a way for Purdue faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends to bring about change focused on families. We are able to help families become more resilient by building relationships with collaborators around the country including federal agencies, state legislatures, employers and community organizations. We believe that, in turn, will create stronger communities."

  •  Posted on Dec. 19, 2014

Communities step up to honor military-affiliated families

Indiana communities honored all who are military-affiliated this month, using Veterans Day and other opportunities as a platform to increase awareness and knowledge about these military members, veterans and their families.

With MFRI's help, many communities staged Stand Downs, connecting those who have served with the resources they have earned. During September, October and November, MFRI-supported Stand Downs were held across the state in 10 communities. In addition, more than 700 organizations throughout Indiana offered military-affiliated families discounts for a
minimum of a week and in some cases for the entire year.

In 2013, more than 57,800 veterans were homeless on any given night, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). During Indiana Stand Downs, homeless and at-risk veterans and their families received a variety of services, including housing referrals, VA and medical benefit counselors, and access to employment resources. In addition, community volunteers, local leaders and college students gained valuable knowledge about the challenges and opportunities these families face.

Closer to MFRI’s home, Purdue University, like many higher education institutions, dedicated a full week to honor military members, veterans and their families. Activities culminated on with a Military Appreciation Day football game, where Boilermakers recognized those who serve and have served. During pre-game activities, MFRI helped to shared information about its mission to Purdue friends and alumni who attended the President's Council brunch, hosted by the University Development Office.

  •  Posted on Nov. 17, 2014

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