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Magrath Community Engagement Award Spotlight: Pennsylvania State University

In recognition of their extraordinary community outreach initiatives, four APLU member institutions have been selected as regional recipients of the 2016 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award. As regional winners, East Carolina University, Pennsylvania State University, Portland State University, and Purdue University will represent and compete for the national C. Peter Magrath Community Engagement Scholarship Award, which will be announced Sunday, November 13 in Austin, Texas during the APLU Annual Meeting.

After more than a decade and a half of war in the Middle East, U.S. military families continue to face a variety of challenges like extended deployments, high levels of chronic stress due to having a loved one in harm’s way, as well as the visible and invisible wounds of war that service members return home with. To address these challenges, Pennsylvania State University launched the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness. The Clearinghouse fosters interdisciplinary applied research, implementation science, and outreach efforts that promote the health and wellbeing of military service members and their families.

Evidence-based programs have been proven to enhance wellbeing and health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs for veterans and their families. Yet until recently, the military has been reactive to crises and it has rapidly implemented social service programs – many of which lack scientific evidence. Meanwhile, budget cuts have reduced social service providers’ access to professional training. As a result, many practitioners are unfamiliar with the very evidence-based programs and practices that are most needed to help military families.

During its six-year history, Penn State’s Clearinghouse has worked to help promote evidence-based programs to help military families. It has developed partnerships with the Departments of Defense and Agriculture as well as with each individual military service branch and its programs cover the social service and healthcare spectrum – spanning providers, clinic directors, program managers, and policy analysts. The Clearinghouse focuses on five activities with its partners:

  • Analyzing the evidence of programs and practices that professionals can implement with military families;
  • Offering consultation, coaching, training, and continuing education, to build professionals’ capacity to implement evidence-based programs and practices;
  • Conducting applied, community-participatory research relevant to military family health and wellbeing;
  • Developing evidence-informed programs, products, policy, and training to promote family resilience; and
  • Providing students with immersive learning opportunities to prepare them for research and practice in the field.
  • Economic Development & Community Engagement

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