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Improving the health of military families

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BPC_150909_c_AR2_ExecutiveSummary.inddBy Sheri Hall for the BCTR

BCTR researchers have spent two years helping to improve the health and wellness of military members and their families.

The BCTR’s Military Projects team partnered with researchers from the Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation (CORE) to measure outcomes from the Healthy Base Initiative, a short-term project to demonstrate how healthy eating, exercise, and tobacco cessation can improve the lives of active service members and their families. The results were published earlier this year.

Their work was funded by a grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Department of Defense launched the project at 14 pilot sites across the world. First, they assessed the health and wellness of the military community at each site, then they implemented a variety of initiatives designed to improve health and wellness, such as fitness programs, menu labeling, cooking seminars, and tobacco cessation campaigns.

BCTR and CORE researchers worked with the Department of Defense Military Community & Family Policy and other researchers to evaluate which initiatives worked the best to help military families lead healthier lifestyles and develop conclusions that will inform a larger wellness initiative across the Department of Defense.

“Health care costs continue to be a large and rapidly growing part of the military budget and include the cost associated with active duty service members and their families as well as military members in the reserve components, retirees, and veterans,” explained Brian Leidy, senior extension associate at the BCTR and director of Military Projects. “Just like in the civilian population, metabolic diseases which are largely preventable through proper diet, exercise, and avoiding tobacco play a major role in the acceleration of these costs.”

The project identified a wide range of recommendations such as encouraging different service branches within the military to work together on health and fitness initiatives, finding ways to offer more healthy food options within military communities, offering childcare while adults exercise or participate in wellness activities, and creating more tobacco-free areas.

You can read the full list of recommendations in the Healthy Base Initiative executive summary and full report.

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Spring 2017 Talks at Twelve

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This semester we welcome speakers from across campus and across the U.S. for our spring 2017 Talks at Twelve series. Talks at Twelve are held in the Beebe Hall second floor conference room and lunch is served. These talks are free and open to all. No RSVP or registration is required, but notice is appreciated if a larger group is planning to attend (email pmt6@cornell.edu).

 

Wednesday, February 22, 12:00-1:00pm
Mental and Behavioral Health Facilities: Critical Research and Design Recommendations
Mardelle M. Shepley, Design and Environmental Analysis, Cornell University

 

 

comfortTuesday, March 7, 12:00-1:00pm
Beyond the Peer-Reviewed Article: Making Research Relevant for Community Stakeholders and Policymakers
Megan Comfort, Behavioral Health and Criminal Justice Research Division, Research Triangle Institute

 

 

Thursday, March 16, 12:00-1:00pm
Pain and Presence: The Clinical Use of Media
Andrea Stevenson Won, Communication, Cornell University

 

 

 

Thursday, April 13, 12:00-1:00pm
Healthy Base Initiative: Evaluating Programs to Encourage Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyles, and Tobacco-Free Living
Marney Thomas, BCTR, Cornell University

 

 

Thursday, April 20, 12:00-1:00pm
Data Driven Policy-Making in Child Welfare
Dana Weiner, Chapin Hall Center for Children, University of Chicago

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 25, 12:00-1:00pm
Weill Cornell Behavioral Geriatrics: Cognitive Impairment in Hospitalized Adults & Palliative & Mental Health Care
Elissa Kozlov and Keiko Kurita, Weill Cornell Medical College

 

 

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Talks at Twelve: Marney Thomas and Brian Leidy, Thursday, April 13, 2017

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Healthy Base Initiative: Evaluating Programs to Encourage Healthy Eating, Active Lifestyles, and Tobacco-Free Living
Marney Thomas and Brian Leidy, BCTR

Thursday, April 13, 2017
12:00-1:00 PM
Beebe Hall, 2nd floor conference room



From 2014 to 2015 the Military Projects staff, collaborating with the Department of Defense and other university partners, undertook an evaluation of the Healthy Base Initiative, a pilot demonstration of multiple evidence-based programs at 14 military installations across all services. Cornell’s task was to contact the target audiences at the end of the implementation period and determine their awareness of and engagement in the programs and note any changes in their eating, exercising, and smoking behaviors. Thomas and Leidy will share lessons learned in their joint presentation about the challenges and successes of evaluating a multi-site, multi-program project.

Healthy Base Initiative final report

Marney Thomas, Ph.D., is a senior extension associate and the former director of the Military Projects (1991-2009).

Brian D. Leidy, Ph.D., is a senior extension associate in the BCTR.  He is the director of the Military Projects, assisting military family support programs in the Army, Army Reserve, and Department of Defense with needs assessment, program evaluation, and research studies of programs and services offered to service members and their families.

This talk is open to all. Lunch will be served. Metered parking is available in the Botanic Gardens lot across the road from Beebe Hall. No registration or RSVP required except for groups of 5 or more. We ask that larger groups email Patty at pmt6@cornell.edu letting us know of your plans to attend so that we can order enough lunch.

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Doing Translational Research podcast: Brian Leidy

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Evaluating Military Family Programs
Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Brian Leidy
Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, Cornell University

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Doing Translational Research podcast: Brian Leidy

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0089_12_003.jpgBrian Leidy is director of The Military Projects in the Bronfenbrenner Center. In this podcast episode, Evaluating Military Family Programs, he and Karl discuss the project's work doing process evaluation for the military and the challenges and importance of supporting this unique community.

Brian D. Leidy is a senior extension associate and the principal investigator for the Military Projects in the Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research. This work is funded primarily through grants from USDA/NIFA. He has formerly worked as a managerial consultant for social service agencies and educational institutions evaluating training, social service programs, and policy initiatives; and at Cornell doing training in supervision and administration with adult protective service supervisors and adult home administrators throughout New York State. Prior to coming to Cornell, he worked in public child welfare and mental health programs for children and adolescents.

 

Doing Translational Research episode 8: Evaluating Military Family Programs with Brian Leidy

Also available on iTunes and Stitcher.

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Talks at Twelve: Brian Leidy and Marney Thomas, Thursday, November 10, 2016

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Family Violence Prevention and Intervention in the Military: U.S. Army Family Advocacy Command Support Study: Lessons Learned
Brian Leidy and Marney Thomas, BCTR

Thursday, November 10, 2016
12:00-1:00 PM
Beebe Hall, 2nd floor conference room



Over a 15 year period (2001–2016) the Military Projects staff have been studying the impact of command leadership on recidivism in family violence (child and partner maltreatment) in the U.S. Army’s Family Advocacy Program (FAP). The three sequential studies that were conducted,  using installation records and Army Central Register data, provided a unique opportunity to understand and analyze  how intervention is implemented in the Army and examine what contextual, organizational, family, and individual characteristics mediate recidivism in cases of both partner maltreatment and child maltreatment. Leidy and Thomas will share lessons learned in their joint presentation.

Brian D. Leidy, Ph.D., is a senior extension associate in the BCTR.  He is the director of the Military Projects, assisting military family support programs in the Army, Army Reserve, and Department of Defense with needs assessment, program evaluation, and research studies of programs and services offered to service members and their families.

Marney Thomas, Ph.D., is a senior extension associate and the former director of the Military Projects (1991-2009).

This talk is open to all. Lunch will be served. Metered parking is available in the Botanical Gardens lot across the road from Beebe Hall. No registration or RSVP required except fo groups of 5 or more. We ask that larger groups email Patty at pmt6@cornell.edu letting us know of your plans to attend so that we can order enough lunch.

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Military Projects updates U.S. Army “Victim Advocacy Program Manual”

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The U.S. Army in collaboration with other government and non-government agencies is committed to addressing domestic/ partner abuse with a comprehensive response to soldiers, victims, and their families. Army victim advocates have the crucial role of providing non-clinical advocacy services and support to victims. Their effective crisis intervention, on-going risk assessment, safety planning, and collaboration with other first responders is essential to communicating the seriousness of domestic abuse to both the victim and the offender.

The Military Projects was recently awarded NIFA (USDA) funding to update the U.S. Army Family Advocacy Program “Victim Advocacy Program Manual” that standardizes the information and training provided to victim advocates in order to optimize the advocacy services they provide to military members and their families. The training manual will be converted in to a user-friendly self-guided tutorial that will serve as an orientation for new victim advocates on policy guidance and relevant Army protocols about domestic/partner abuse prevention and intervention. However, it will also serve as a refresher for experienced advocates with the inclusion of specialty topics that advocates use in their work with victims of domestic/partner abuse such as lethality assessments, safety planning, domestic abuse reporting options, male victims, children and domestic abuse, and provider self-care. The tutorial also informs advocates about the many additional resources found within Army culture that emphasize strengthening and maintaining resilience and readiness.

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Military Projects join global experts to examine military research

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Brian Leidy

Brian Leidy (director, Military Projects) recently participated in an invitation-only summit at the University of Southern California considering the problems faced by military, veterans, and their families. Fifty researchers from national and international universities met to discuss how research can help understand and address such issues as employment, homelessness, health care, and suicide. Leidy gave a talk emphasizing the need for more and better program evaluation. His talk was part of a panel addressing the research needs of military families. Leidy noted that "the main concern was that the attention families receive will fade even faster than the attention the veteran population receives. At least the Services all have extensive family programs. The VA [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] still does not have any programs that address the needs of military families. The closest they come is offering support programs for family members who end up being caregivers to veterans." Leidy also worked with a group to create  a ten-year research agenda for military families.

The inaugural summit, titled Closing the Gap, aimed to start the conversation and work towards creating a national research agenda targeting the most critical issues faced by service members, veterans, and military families.

 

Global experts convene to drive military research - USC News

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Roundtable addresses women veterans’ particular challenges

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Dawn Seymour '39, a World War II flier with the Women Airforce Service Pilots, participates in the roundtable.

Dawn Seymour '39, a World War II flier with the Women Airforce Service Pilots, participates in the roundtable.

Brian Leidy, director of the BCTR’s Military Projects, participated in a panel at a recent roundtable discussion at Cornell on the issues women veterans face. These issues include invisibility, devaluation, work/family balance issues, the lack of jobs in a recession, and the translation of military skills into civilian ones. The panel, Cornell Women Veteran Roundtable: From Service Boots to Civilian Shoes, also included Jordanna Mallach from the New York State Division of Veterans’ Affairs and was moderated by veteran Lyndsi Prignon.

The focus of the roundtable was to provide a forum for employers to better understand how to recruit and retain veterans as employees. Through their years of work with military families, the BCTR’s Military Projects staff are familiar with the experiences of service men and women and are connected to and knowledgeable about the military and civilian programs and services available to assist them in work and life transitions. Brian Leidy noted,

The majority of women veterans that we engage with have transitioned to civilian work in military family support programs or are the spouses of active duty or reserve military who are currently serving. Although these women veterans may have a lot in common with the women who took part in the Cornell Women Veteran Roundtable, they are still very much associated with the military by employment and/or family ties and have not transitioned back to civilian life in the same sense as the women veterans who may now be students or employees in the Cornell and Ithaca communities. Only a small percent of the US population serve in the military, so many may not understand the specific challenges faced by veterans. Our involvement on the panel was to provide information, background, and a framework for a non-military audience about the experiences and challenges that women veterans may face as they leave military service.

The Military Projects have been working with military family support programs since the early 1990s, initially with the Army and Marine Corps but more recently with all the Services through the Department of Defense. They also recently began working with the Army Reserve Family Programs. Currently The Military Projects conduct research and program evaluation projects, facilitate outreach efforts to engage military families in services, and provided evidence-/research-based programming materials and technical assistance to support the military staff professionals who provide direct family services. The Military Projects’ involvement with military service men and women and their families primarily occurs while they are still serving on active or reserve duty. Nonetheless, having done deployment and reintegration studies as well as needs assessments for various military programs, Military Projects staff are familiar with the challenges that service members and families face when transitioning back to either installation or civilian life.

 

Women veterans face challenges, panel says - Cornell Chronicle

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Military Projects and CORE partner to evaluate the military’s Healthy Base Initiative

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On September 26, 2013, BCTR's Military Projects and the Cornell Office for Research on Evaluation (CORE) were awarded a grant by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Defense under Agreement No. 2013-39580-21518 to partner with the Department of Defense Military Community & Family Policy, Healthy Base Initiative (HBI) team to assist with measurement and evaluation. HBI is a demonstration project for Operation Live Well, aimed at increasing the health and wellness of the total force, including civilians and family members by focusing on making informed nutritional food choices, increasing physical activity, controlling weight, and encouraging tobacco cessation.

Eleven of the pilot sites participating in the assessment are military installations (Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Sill, Okla.; Ft. George G. Meade, MD; , Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii; Sub Base New London, Conn.; Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho; Yokota Air Base, Japan; Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center/Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command, Twentynine Palms, Calif.; Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.; U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass.; March Air Reserve Base, Calif.; and Camp Dodge, Iowa). The remaining two sites participating are the Defense Logistics Agency, Fort Belvoir, Va.; and Defense Health Headquarters, Falls Church, Va.. Each site is offering an innovative mix of nutrition, fitness and wellness programs and services.

During this one year project, BCTR and CORE will be assisting HBI in the development of evaluation plans for individual programs as well as assessing the overall impact of their interactions at pilot site locations. This will be the third partnership between CORE and the Military Projects.

Update (May, 2017):
Healthy Base Initiative final report

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