Military Family Health and Security
by Jenny Barnes
United States soldiers risk their lives everyday to meet the needs of the country and to protect its citizens, but they cannot do it alone. Most soldiers are supported by loyal families and loving wives and children who should not be forgotten.
Briana Goff, professor of family studies and human services at Kansas State University is an integral part of the Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families, initiated at K-State.
"Our focus is on military families," Goff said. "We have a number of faculty in the school of family studies that do military work. I've worked in the area of trauma and traumatic stress."
There are a variety of other areas besides traumatic stress that the institute capitalizes on in order to strengthen military families. The institute is a way to unite each component and those involved with them.
"We've had a lot of faculty that have had projects and research programs and the institute is a way to formalize that relationship and to provide an umbrella component of the college and of the school of family studies, as well as for K-State," Goff said.
The institute, among other outreach efforts that the Center for Engagement and Community Development has advocated, truly is a way to involve military with the university and foster a growing partnership. Currently, K-State has about 44 programs working with the military, and university President Kirk H. Schulz is looking to use that statistic to strengthen the school's presence nationally.
"One of the things that President Schulz has talked about is being a top 50 public university by 2025 and one of the areas that he's hoping will promote that is our work with the military," Goff said.
The institute has already begun specific projects in collaboration with Ft. Riley, including the military base's 2015 campaign.
"The 2015 campaign plan is a strategic plan for Ft. Riley and K-State are specifically named in it in several places, including the institute," Goff said. "One of the major areas they're looking at is building a resiliency campus, really focusing on resiliency and soldiers and family members."
From this side of the campaign, Ft. Riley is really showing its desire to partner with a top land-grant university to fortify both sides of the partnership: that of the military base and that of the university and its students and faculty members. The campaign focuses on areas the base wants to improve upon and specifically on ways that community partnerships can assist and benefit Ft. Riley's soldiers and residents.
The Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families is looking to expand K-State's recognition as a land-grant university through focusing on the needs of military families first and presenting the institute in a formal light.
"Our hope is that by having a formal institute, we'll be able to expand and increase K-State's reputation as a top land-grant university, both in terms of conducting research as well as outreach and education," Goff said. "Being able to put their (military families) needs first is the focus of the institute."