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Magrath Community Engagement Award Spotlight: Purdue University’s Military Family Research Institute

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 during the APLU Annual Meeting November 13 in Austin, Texas.

Purdue University’s Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) is a national, state, and local collaboration that strengthens the community mental health infrastructure for members of the military, veterans, and their families.

Over two million members of the U.S. military have been deployed in the past 15 years, leading to as many as 400,000 cases of mental health problems. Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan join over 20 million veterans of prior conflicts. Due to the increased number of veterans returning home from conflict, the need for behavioral health services has outstripped the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration’s capacity, increasing the importance of community-based providers.

Together with the National Guard and the Department of Defense’s Center for Deployment Psychology (CDP), Purdue’s Military Family Research Institute created Star Behavioral Health Providers (SBHP) to improve the preparation of community-based civilian behavioral health providers and better serve military and veteran families. Star Behavioral Health Providers offers training about military culture, common conflict-related mental illnesses, and evidence-based treatments, as well as a publicly-available registry of trained providers.

The project incorporates multiple levels of action. The lead partners (MFRI, the Defense Department’s CDP, and the National Guard) designed the program’s content and procedures, and now assists states with implementation. Within participating states, the program is led by a partner university that shares resources such as manuals and materials, funding, facilities, and program innovations.

The projected has resulted in over 75,000 hours of training delivered to over 8,000 community-based behavioral health, more than 86 percent of whom report using program training materials in their work with clients. Scholarly products include project manuals and materials; peer-reviewed articles and chapters; national, regional, and local presentations; congressional testimony; and federal legislation.

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