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College of Human Ecology

Military families institute opens Oct. 2

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families logoThe new Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families will coordinate research and outreach programs that address the well-being of military personnel, veterans and their families after the battle.

The institute opens on Oct. 2. Briana Nelson Goff, professor and associate dean of the College of Human Ecology, serves as director.

How to cope with aftermath of wartime service

"This is a critical time to support military families and to further understand the unique impact these deployments have, particularly when experiencing multiple deployments, extensive exposure to trauma and new issues like traumatic brain injury," Goff said.

"The institute will structure and organize the various programs already in place that are committed to furthering our knowledge of military families," she added.

It continues the active partnership among Fort Riley, the Kansas National Guard and K-State to meet the needs of America's soldiers.

The health and security of military families is among the top priorities and an area of expertise for the School of Family Studies and Human Services. The school was awarded more than $13 million in extramural funding in 2008 for research and programs related to military families. The school and new institute also will connect with the K-State Research and Extension office at Fort Riley, which opened in spring 2009.

Will coordinate researchers, educators, professionals

"This institute represents a culmination of years of research, education and outreach work -- and the beginning of new era of discovery and service to the less than 1 percent of our national population that ensures the security of America and our way of life," said Art DeGroat, K-State's director of military affairs. "The creation of this institute is profound and will help the nation understand the challenges, demands and support required for our military families."

The development of the institute began with discussions among several faculty and administrators. It will work to coordinate a multidisciplinary group of researchers, educators and professionals tackling issues including the effects of trauma on deployed personnel and family, and the impact of deployment on marriage, children, employment and family income.

Deployment affects soldiers, families, communities

"Increasingly, for today's professional military, the aftermath of wartime service has consequences not only for soldiers' and veterans' well-being, but for their families and communities," Goff said.

Besides coordinating efforts in this arena, the institute also will provide K-State students with specialized training on working with military families, conduct comprehensive research on military family issues and provide services to the state of Kansas and the nation that address the current and future needs of military families.

"The Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families will provide an avenue for K-State to become a national leader on the military family and capitalize on the current programs," Goff said. "It is our plan to develop additional military family research and programs to meet the current and future demands faced by these families."

The official opening of the Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families will coincide with the College of Human Ecology's Legacy of Excellence celebration. At the celebration, several military personnel, the 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley will be honored with college awards.

Prepared by K-State media relations and Human Ecology communications

This article was posted on Thursday, September 10, 2009, and is filed under College News, Family Studies & Human Services.