Kansas State University has long partnered with Fort Riley to meet the needs of America's soldiers, a tradition that will continue with K-State's Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families.
The new institute will coordinate the multitude of research and outreach programs that touch on the well-being of military personnel, veterans and their families after the battle, said Briana Nelson Goff, the institute's director.
"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," she said. "The institute will structure and organize the various programs already in place that are committed to furthering our knowledge of military families."
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, a part of K-State's College of Human Ecology. 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 provide an important connection with the K-State Research and Extension office at Fort Riley, which officially opened in spring 2009.
"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.
"Increasingly, for today's professional military, the aftermath of wartime service has consequences not only for 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 is set for Friday, Oct. 2, and 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.