Military Family Research Institute

The Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs wants to promote the benefits of hiring veterans, and teach employers to accommodate some of their unique needs. 

A summit on Wednesday is one in a chain of efforts aimed to decrease veteran unemployment.

In 2014, the unemployment rate among post-9-11 veterans was 10 percent, nearly double the state’s overall rate. 

Yet by the end of 2015, the rate among newer veterans dropped to just 1.4 percent. 

Deanna Pugh is the director of employment and education for the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs.

Kathy Swendiman /

A bill penned by Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly would seek to address doctor shortages in military hospitals by training physician assistants to administer psychiatric treatment to servicemembers.

The bill is attached to the 800-page National Defense Authorization Act, an annual piece of legislation that outlines military funding and expenditures. The Senate Armed Services Committee approved the NDAA last week.

“What we’re trying to do is in effect guarantee that there’s more than enough there for everyone who wants to talk to somebody,” the democrat says.


More than 500,000 children ages five and younger have parents on active military duty for the United States.

The Department of Defense wants to make sure they have access to quality early childhood education.

Purdue is helping the DoD identify any gaps in services and develop a universal curriculum for all of its preschool programs.

The Department of Defense maintains the largest employer-sponsored child care system in the world.

Lilly Endowment gives $2.4M to Purdue's MFRI

Nov 12, 2013

Purdue’s Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) will be able to continue its work for another year, thanks to a $2.4 million grant from the Lilly Endowment.

The Institute aims to improve the lives of members of the military, veterans and their families by providing access to counseling, as well as education and employment initiatives. Another priority is to conduct research that can improve military programs, practices and policies in this area.

Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, MFRI director, says research being done at the Institute has helped identify gaps in services.

Month of the Military Child

Apr 12, 2013

April is the Month of the Military Child, and for more than 25 years, children of U.S. service members around the world have been honored for their sacrifices and contributions to their families’ well-being.        

An estimated 1.2 million military children experienced deployment of a parent since 2001 between active-duty, Reserve and National Guard forces. Of that, more than 21,000 come from Indiana, which has the sixth largest National Guard in the country.

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) says he wants greater focus on preventing suicide among active-duty military service members and veterans, including an increase in outreach to vets.

Last year, more troops took their own life than died in combat in Afghanistan.  And Donnelly says 43% of service members who committed suicide never sought help.  He says trying to combat the problem of military and veteran suicide needs to involve erasing the stigma of seeking help.

A special event will showcase the achievements of Indiana’s award-winning student veterans’ organizations (SVOs) from three years of organization plan competitions.

Operation Diploma, an initiative of the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue, has invited six SVOs to present their achievements to a panel of expert judges before a live audience Saturday, October 27, at the NCAA Headquarters.

The SVO Hall of Fame is the culmination of seven previously-held grant competitions sponsored by Operation Diploma.

Participating SVOs include:

Operation Purple Camp serves military children

Jun 7, 2012

Children of service men and women are getting a crash course in leadership thanks to Purdue’s Military Family Research Institute (MFRI).

Operation Purple Camp invites kids for activities like judo, grasshopper dissection, and cooking, all with a focus on building leadership skills.

Leah Rivera traveled from Chicago to participate in the camp.

"We need to use teamwork and some of the leadership skills we [learned], and it was a lot of fun. I've met a lot of new friends and done many activities I haven't tried before."

Purdue Program Helps Student Veterans

Dec 7, 2011

A Purdue-based organization is giving money to student service members and veterans across the state to pursue a college degree.

The Military Family Research Institute is giving $7,000 to programs at four higher education institutions.

The grants which are funded by Purdue’s Operation Diploma are intended to help service members transition to campus life.

Since 2008, the initiative has given nearly $2.5-million to higher education institutions and student veterans’ organizations.