From the Director:

As we enter into our 5th year, it is a good time to reflect on our focus in 2014 for the Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families at K-State. I am pleased to have outstanding colleagues and an Institute Advisory Board, comprised of military families, service members, and professionals, who help guide our mission and purpose. I also have to remind myself that we are really a very NEW Institute, in the grand scheme of things, and also have to be reminded to not attempt to do it ALL! (Often my goal!) But with great advisors and wonderful staff, it helps keep me balanced. I truly enjoy every day, which most days do not seem like doing “work” (occasionally it has its stressors but those are relatively infrequent, luckily!). Serving military families in the Flint Hills region has continued to be a primary focus of our work, with continuing partnerships with Fort Riley and the 1st Infantry Division and the Kansas National Guard, as well as other developing partnerships with academic programs, nonprofit organizations, and others whose mission is similar and whose enthusiasm for the work with military personnel and their families is unending. It also is reinforced on an almost daily basis of the importance of our work and the continuing need for programs to assist our military and veteran service members and their families. Their mission continues, as does ours.

Thank you for your support of the Institute and we wish you a very blessed 2014…Lots more to come!




Briana S. Nelson Goff, Ph.D.

Director, Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families

Professor, School of Family Studies and Human Services

Kansas State University

Director Receives Public Service Medal From Army


Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Briana Nelson Goff, professor of family studies and human services and director of the Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families, was honored at the K-State Alumni Center with the Department of the Army Outstanding Civilian Service Award.

Maj. Gen. Paul Funk, commanding general of the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley, and his senior leadership team presented the medal in recognition of her distinguished service to the U.S. Army as a leading member in the K-State-Fort Riley partnership.

Others from Kansas State University being honored were John Currie, K-State athletic director; Todd Holmberg, executive director of McCain Auditorium; and Daryl Youngman, associate professor of K-State Libraries.

The Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families addresses the health and resiliency of military personnel, veterans and their families after the battle. Nelson Goff and her team develop and manage programs such as specialized training on working with military families, comprehensive research on military family issues and services to the State of Kansas and the nation that address current and future needs of military families.

The Institute is in the School of Family Studies and Human Services in the College of Human Ecology, which is home to a unique cadre of scientists from diverse programs addressing the health and well-being of military personnel and veterans.

Spring 2014 Institute Events

Military Appreciation Day at the K-State Rodeo

On Sunday, February 23, 2014, the Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families hosted an informational booth at the Military Appreciation Event, held at the 58th Annual K-State Intercollegiate Rodeo. Several hundred tickets were distributed to military members and families in the area, who attended the rodeo. In addition, Miss Kansas USA Audrey Banach and Miss Kansas Teen USA also were in attendance, greeting Rodeo guests.



K-State Military Education and Family Initiatives Symposium

On Tuesday, March 11, 2014, over 100 people attended the K-State Military Education and Family Initiatives Symposium, sponsored by the Colleges of Education and Human Ecology at Kansas State University. The symposium was held at Riley’s Conference Center, Fort Riley. The event included opening remarks by COL Andrew Cole, Garrison Commander, Fort Riley, and Dean Debbie Mercer, College of Education, Kansas State University.  A keynote presentation on the historical partnership between K-State and Fort Riley was provided by Tony Crawford, K-State Libraries. The symposium included 12 break-out sessions in four separate tracks:

Understanding Today’s Military Students—2 tracks (K-12 and Higher Education)


  • Sandy Risberg: College and Career Ready Standards and K-State College of Education Military Ed-OPS Program for pre-and in-service teachers
  • Dr. Judy Hughey: K-State College of Education Military Connected Students & School Counseling

Higher Education

  • Kevin Shea, Maria Clark, Paul Berg & Ashley Gleiman: Panel on Impact of Multiple Combat Tours on Learning
  • Dr. Jane Fishback: Transition from Soldier to Student

Understanding Today’s Military Family Life Issues

  • Dr. Mary Bell: Game Changers: How Soldiers’ Rank and Deployment Status Affect Their Financial Behaviors, Knowledge, and Anxiety.
  • Dr. Joyce Baptist & Dr. Elaine Johannes: Today’s Military Youth: Research on Their Developmental Needs and Perspectives
  • Dr. Briana Nelson Goff: Trauma and the Military Family: Research on the Impact of Trauma and PTSD on Spouses and Families

Fostering Community Connections

  • Dr. Briana Nelson Goff and Kali Summers: Military Outreach Programs with K-State’s Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families
  • Ann Domsch and Dr. Elaine Johannes:  Kansas: Operation Military Kids and Programs for Military Youth
  • Dr. Bronwyn Fees, Jackie Cox, & Dr. Bradford Wiles: Fostering Community Connections in Young Children in Military Families

Closing comments were provided by Dr. Beth Funk, wife of the Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Major General Paul Funk, and Adjunct Faculty, College of Education, Kansas State University.



Corvias Military Housing Spring Into Fun Festival

The Easter Bunny hopped by Corvias Military Housing’s Spring into Fun event on Friday, April 18 at Rally Point Field, Fort Riley.  The Institute held an information booth along with a “special guest”—The WILD-Cat in the Hat (who looks mysteriously like our Director?!?! Is that Dr. Goff???). Activities included egg hunts by age group, face painting, crafts, train rides, games and interactive activities, prizes and a petting zoo.  It was a great day with several hundred military kids attending.

Unfortunately the annual Month of the Military Child (MOMC) Festival that was to be held at Fort Riley on Sunday April 27th had to be cancelled due to inclement weather.

Stay tuned for more opportunities to see the WILD-Cat in the Hat at future events!

Current Research with the Institute

Since 1998, the Trauma Research, Education, and Consultation at K-State (TRECK) Team has been involved with conducting a variety of trauma-related research projects. Under the direction of Dr. Briana Nelson Goff, research teams have been involved in research on military couples related to the TRECK Research. A mixed methods research design has been used in all phases of the TRECK Research, which has included quantitative questionnaires that identify post-traumatic stress symptomatology in both partners and quality of the current couple relationship. The qualitative interviews focus on the interpersonal impact of trauma on the couple relationship, intrapersonal effects of trauma exposure on both partners, and current relationship functioning. A total of 50 military couples were recruited from Fort Riley, Fort Leavenworth, and other areas of Kansas to understand how their war deployments to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) or Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) impact the soldiers, their partners, and their couple relationship. Since 1998, over 100 students have been involved with the TRECK Team research projects; 65 of those students have been undergraduate researchers. Undergraduate students have been involved in data entry, interview transcription, data analysis, research presentations and manuscript development. The qualitative analysis teams have included undergraduate research assistants participating in the data analysis of the interviews.

In 2013-2014, two research teams conducted data analysis with the TRECK military couples data, to gain an understanding of how disclosure of their previous trauma experiences (including but not limited to war deployment) for both partners may impact individual and couple functioning. These TRECK Research Teams included the following publications and projects (undergraduate students involved with the teams are indicated in BOLD below):

Kathryn Hartman, Kali Summers, Devon Perkins, Laura Walker & J. Kale Monk (manuscript submitted for review). Trauma disclosure in military couples: A comparison of trauma symptoms and relationship quality. Research team project, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.

- Undergraduate research poster presented at the K-State Research Forum, Manhattan, KS. (Received 1st place designation)

Kali Summers, Kathryn Hartman, Alex Billings, Megan Chevalier, Haley Hermes, Devon Perkins, Laura Walker, & J. Kale Monk (manuscript in process). Trauma disclosure and deployment experiences in military couples. Research team project, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS.

- Undergraduate research poster presented at the K-State Research Forum, Manhattan, KS.

Two articles related to the TRECK Team Military couples research also were published in Spring 2014:

– Monk, J. K., & Nelson Goff, B. S. (in press). Military couples’ trauma disclosure: Moderating between trauma symptoms and relationship quality. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, and Practice.

– Nelson Goff, B. S., Irwin, L., Devine, S., Cox, M., Orrick, K., & Schmitz, A. (2014). A qualitative study of single-trauma and dual-trauma military couples. Invited submission for a special section on dual trauma couples in the journal, Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, and Practice6, 216-223. doi: 10.1037/a0036697.

Available at:

SPRING 2014 Institute Interns

Devon Perkins was one of the Institute’s interns during the Spring 2014 semester. Devon graduated from K-State in May with a degree in Family Studies and Human Services with a minor in Conflict Analysis and Trauma Studies. Devon has been involved with the Institute since Spring of 2013. After graduation, Devon plans to pursue a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Colorado State University.




Laura Walker was one of the Institute’s interns during the Spring 2014 semester. Laura graduated from K-State n May with a degree in Family Studies and Human Services with a minor in Conflict Analysis and Trauma Studies and a certificate in Conflict Resolution. Laura has been involved with the Institute since Spring of 2013. After graduation, Laura will return to Kansas City to job search and explore different graduate and PhD programs to pursue.

What do our Interns DO at the Institute?

Each semester, we hire 1-2 part time student interns to work with us on our outreach and other work with the Institute. The students put in 320-340 total hours during the semester, completing an 8 credit hour internship in their degree program. The Interns have been involved with our research, outreach activities with the community, attending military-related events like the Corvias Spring into Fun Event and Fall Apple Days Festival, participating in monthly Victory Welcome events at Fort Riley sharing information with newcomers about the Institute, handing out flyers, attending military family trainings across Kansas, posting on Facebook and Twitter, untangling dog tags, answering questions about the Institute, …you name it, and they have probably done it! Below are our Spring 2014 interns “in action.”

Thanks for all you do for the Institute

Congratulations and best wishes!

Operation: Military Kids Programs

Pictured above (from left to right): Ann Domsch (KS OMK Coordinator), Laura Walker (Institute Intern), Kali Summers (AmeriCorps VISTA), Jackie Cox (Extension Project Coordinator), SGT Theresa Vail (Miss Kansas 2013), Devon Perkins (Institute Intern), and Sandi Smith (KS OMK Program Assistant)

In celebration of Month of the Military Child and Purple Up! Day, the Kansas National Guard Youth Program hosted a professional development on April 15th, 2014 in Wichita, Kansas. Kansas: Operation Military Kids members attended the event along with many other professionals who work with military kids. This event included two guest speakers: Dr. Sameer Hinduja and SGT Theresa Vail. Dr. Hinduja, Co-Director of the Cyberbullying Research Center out of Florida Atlantic University, spoke about cyberbullying and safe networking. SGT Theresa Vail, Miss Kansas 2013, spoke in regards to advocating for anti-bullying. The professional development was free to attend, the only requirement was attendees wear purple in celebration of Purple Up! Day for military kids.

Kansas: Operation Military Kids staff have been visiting the School Age Center and the Middle School/Teen Center on Fort Riley every other week. We have established relationships with the staff, so that we can be a future resource. We have provided the School Age Center and the Middle School/Teen Center with 4 boxes of Burpee Seeds, containing 100 packets each. Burpee Seeds are Welcome Home Gardens that military children can plant with their families. We also provided the Middle School Teen Center with 30 Kansas Garden Guides for their gardening club. Finally, we have provided a 4-H Health and Fitness curriculum, including jump ropes for the children to use.

Starting in January 2014, we have been conducting support groups for military children at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School and Lee Elementary School in Manhattan, KS. We have been focusing on physical fitness, gardening/planting, art, community and resiliency in these groups. On January 24th, we participated in Lee Elementary School’s Military Family Night. We had the Zoom Book Albums available for the kids to make. Using a computer program, the children were able to create personalized picture books! Parents participated in creating these picture books with their children. On April 29th, we participated in Theodore Roosevelt Elementary School’s Military Family Night. We were also able to have the Zoom Book Albums for the kids to make, as well as a parachute activity for the children.

‘Big Red One’ Leaders Share Fort Riley’s Future with Community


Leaders of the 1st Infantry Division shared their vision of Fort Riley’s future with community leaders from across the state April 11 at the Regional Campaign Plan 2020 rollout.

 More than 50 leaders from Junction City, Kan.; Manhattan, Kan.; and even the Kansas statehouse were in attendance for the event, which provided a guide to major events planned for the post in the next six years. These include joint training agreements, the completion of the new hospital on Fort Riley and the privatization of utilities on the historic post.

“I want everybody to understand that this asset, this post, is their post,” said Maj. Gen. Paul E. Funk II, 1st Inf. Div. and Fort Riley commanding general. “This is your Army.”

Funk said the campaign plan was a regional plan that has strategic implications for the area.

“What I hope to see is the improvement of the infrastructure so we improve the roads around the post so that we can expand and actually limit the amount of traffic and the impact we have on the day-to-day lives of local citizens,” the commanding general said. “We have world-class facilities that will attract world-class partners to the region.

“We’ll be able to hire top-notch professionals from around the world that want to come to this great central Flint Hills region and be part of this phenomenal community.”

Funk told the gathered leaders Fort Riley will privatize its utilities in 2016.

Privatization “will be good for this community; it will be good for all the communities,” he said. “We’ve had some power problems on the base — 52 major outages last year — and it’s because of our growth … and how rapidly we’ve been able to expand Fort Riley. And now we’ve got to get the infrastructure to catch up.”

The campaign plan also addresses the future reorganization of the “Big Red One” to accommodate the reduction of forces on Fort Riley by 1,200 to 1,700 Soldiers

“We will lose one brigade here, but of that we’ll actually grow the other two brigades,” Funk said.

Lt. Col. James Collins, the division’s assistant chief of effects who led the presentation of the campaign plan, gave further details about the reorganization.

“The changing force structure ensures the 1st Inf. Div. remains ready well into the future and is able to provide the Army with adaptable forces,” he said. “The entire team here is committed to mitigating the impact of the reduction on our Soldiers, families and communities to the greatest extent possible.”

Area leaders appreciated the look at Fort Riley’s future, as well as the opportunity to try their hands at some of the post’s high-tech training simulators following the campaign plan rollout.

Kansas Speaker of the House Rep. Ray Merrick remarked the training was much different than what he received in the Marine Corps in 1960.

“It’s really a good program,” Merrick said of the campaign plan. “This is a very important part of the economy of Kansas. We need to keep the base going strong.”

Guests to the post had the opportunity to observe and use equipment simulating real-life situations division Soldiers may find themselves in while deployed.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to come out to Fort Riley and find out what real Soldiers do,” said Mark Edwards, a civilian aide to the secretary of the Army and a Junction City-based attorney.

Edwards said Funk and his staff did a wonderful job of sharing information with the community at large.

“I liked to hear how they are going to address a time in which we’re not going to have as much money,” Edwards said. “As a region, we need to be able to be proactive on behalf of the Army and do everything we can to make sure people understand that this is a great opportunity to come to Fort Riley and train.

“We’re really the premiere division-level installation in the Army, and things like this just reaffirm that.”

Funk took the opportunity to invite the public as a whole out to visit the post.

“We’ve been in this region for 160 years,” Funk said. “I’m sending to people all over the region an open invitation to come see their Army. This is the Big Red One. My name is Funk and I’m a Big Red One Soldier. Come out and see us at good-old Fort Riley, Kansas.”