Recent News

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 aims to educate, inspire

More than 250 behavioral health providers, service providers and educators attended the Battlemind to Home Mental Health Summit VII yesterday (Sept. 22), which aimed 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 Sept. 22 event focused particular attention on suicide prevention, while working to boost audience knowledge and understanding about military and veteran families. According to the most recent VA statistics, 20 veterans commit suicide every day. 

Keynote speaker Rita Nakashima Brock opened the summit with a presentation on moral injury and its impact on military members, veterans and their families. The National Center for PTSD describes moral injury as “an act of transgression, which shatters moral and ethical expectations that are rooted in religious or spiritual beliefs, or culture-based, organizational, and group-based rules about fairness, the value of life, and so forth.” Brock, a research professor of theology and culture, and director of the Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinity School, has written extensively on the subject, especially in context of returning combat veterans.

“When the troops come home, war remains with them, and the struggle to return to civilian life can feel worse than combat,” she said. “Rebuilding moral identity occurs as people slowly rebuild trust and relationships over a lifetime.”

In addition to Brock and other general session speakers, attendees listened to speakers in breakout sessions that were focused on a variety of topics. During a general session presentation by Joining Community Forces Indiana (JCFI), regions worked together on developing 2017 priorities and marching orders to deal with community issues. JCFI is the community engagement initiative that expands on First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden's "Joining Forces" campaign.

Powerful closing remarks were delivered by Silouan Green, a Marine veteran who developed the Ladder UPP life skills program after overcoming physical, emotional and spiritual challenges in the wake of a jet crash. His program has been used by thousands to make their lives more fulfilling and resilient after severe trauma.

Green spoke about veterans’ struggles with depression, PTSD and suicide, and he motivated and challenged all Battlemind attendees to take action on behalf of all who are suffering from these invisible wounds of war.

“The entire day was an opportunity for community leaders, behavioral health providers and others to learn about how they can better serve our military and veteran families,” said Martina Sternberg, Ph.D., assistant director of MFRI. “Once again, with support from our partners, we were able to engage with nationally-prominent leaders who can provide thought-provoking subject matter to help veterans throughout our communities to find fulfilling and enriching lives.”

  •  Posted on Sept. 23, 2016

Purdue honored with prestigious Civic Engagement Award

Purdue University was among five colleges and universities chosen this year from a hundred nominations to share in the 2016 Higher Education Civic Engagement Awards presented by The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars. Recipients were chosen based upon their leadership and innovation in civic engagement.

Steve Abel, Purdue’s associate provost for engagement, will accept the award on the university’s behalf. As a land-grant university, Purdue has long made service and engagement hallmarks of its approach to scholarship, Abel said. This commitment is illustrated in the Star Behavioral Health Providers program created by Purdue’s Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) in partnership with the National Guard and the Center for Deployment Psychology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

The award celebrates institutions in higher education where the commitment to leadership extends into civic roles in the communities beyond their own campuses. It aims to highlight, in particular, institutions that are forging transformational partnerships beyond campus to define and address issues of public concern, whether at the local, regional or international level.

For more information, read more in Purdue News.

  •  Posted on Sept. 20, 2016

Make a difference for service members, veterans and their families

Want to make an impact on women veterans pursing their degrees? Or perhaps you're more passionate about supporting homeless and nearly homeless veterans? September is a great time to make a contribution to MFRI and have impact on a variety of programs that help military members, veterans and their families. Learn more here about our initiatives and how to give.

  •  Posted on Sept. 7, 2016

Apply now for a Community Mobilization Grant

Application are now being accepted for MFRI'sCommunity Mobilization Grant Program, designed to support, grow and influence programs and practices that assist military families and veterans in local Indiana communities. The deadline is Sept. 15.

Grants that include a component related to homelessness, education, employment and/or mental wellness will receive a higher priority in the competitive grant scoring.

These grants may be used to:

  • increase availability and resources to innovative programming designed to support and assist military families and veterans across Indiana;
  • increase access to resources available to military families;
  • increase community awareness and understanding of the military family experience; and
  • decrease the unmet needs of military families in Indiana communities.

For more information, and to download the grant application, visit MFRI's Community Mobilization Grant page.

  •  Posted on Sept. 6, 2016

Focus Forward Fellowship launches successfully in Indianapolis


The Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University (MFRI) successfully launched a 10-months-long program this month that aims to engage and educate top-notch women veterans enrolled in higher education institutions.

The Focus Forward Fellowship is a new MFRI initiative designed to serve rising military-connected sophomores and juniors who are enrolled in four-year colleges and universities. From Aug. 11-14, the inaugural class of 14 fellows attended the weekend portion of the program, gathering in Indianapolis to take part in a four-day conference that presented educational opportunities, career preparation and a chance to engage with nationally-known mentor and leaders.

"I'm so happy that I was accepted into the Focus Forward Fellowship,” said fellow Hope Hallett, an Air Force veteran from Portland State University. “The mentors I have gained in just three days have already changed my life. I’m beyond enthralled to work with them and continue learning from truly incredible women.”

“How many times have you signed up for something, expecting nothing and have had your life shaken awake?” asked Sarah Dobos, another fellow and Air Force veteran who is pursuing her degree at University of North Carolina Wilmington. “The MFRI residency program this weekend has been my life line. Once a fellow, always a fellow. I’m beyond grateful to be a part of this program with all these strong and empowered women!"

The weekend portion of the program is being followed by additional web-based activities scheduled throughout the 2016-2017 academic year. Fellows were competitively selected for the fellowship, and attended at no cost to them.

MFRI’s outstanding inaugural cohort represented colleges and universities in 10 states. They are pursuing degrees ranging from nursing and psychology to marine biology and veterinary technology, and represent all branches of the service except the Coast Guard. Many are using the Post 9/11 bill for their higher education, and many have deployed in support of OIF/OEF/OND.

“I truly believe the program was life-changing for these women,” said Lauren Runco, director of education and employment at MFRI. “I can’t wait to see how they continue to grow and change over the coming year.”

To learn more or find out ways you can support the Focus Forward Fellowship, contact Runco at lrunco@purdue.edu or 765-496-6045 and follow the social media conversation at #FWDFellows.

  •  Posted on Aug. 15, 2016


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