Following four years of connecting policymakers and service providers with research to improve service members’ quality of life and family relationships, Auburn University has once again been awarded the Military REACH project by the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Military REACH is supported by the DOD-USDA Partnership for Military Families. Universities from across the country compete for the grant, and the USDA chooses the recipient based on its ability to produce research reports across the spectrum of family support and readiness, and maintain an online library that archives research related to military family well-being.
At Auburn, Military REACH is housed in the College of Human Sciences and led by Principal Investigator and Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Science Mallory Lucier-Greer. During the past four years, the Auburn team has authored 28 comprehensive research reports, distributed more than 340 brief research summaries, and created a digital library that houses more than 3,100 publications.
“I am proud of these products, but I am most proud of the impact that these products have made,” Lucier-Greer said. “Our reports inform and support policy decisions made by the DOD’s Office of Military Community and Family Policy. Our research summaries promote research literacy, military cultural competence, and the translation of research into practice. And our digital library promotes research accessibility to policymakers, helping professionals serving military families, and military families themselves.”
In addition to fulfilling the grant requirements, Military REACH at Auburn has also created a mobile application, online dictionary of research terms, community resource list, and monthly newsletter to connect service members, their families, and those who provide support and service to military families with important information. The team has also conducted numerous outreach events and trainings at military installations.
Lucier-Greer credits Auburn’s collaborative approach to Military REACH for its return. The project is supported by Catherine O’Neal, co-investigator and associate research scientist at the University of Georgia’s Department of Human Development and Family Science; the Auburn University Libraries, which maintains the REACH website and digital library, and informs the project’s team of best practices in information science and security; and the Auburn University Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, which provides students who engineered and maintain the website and mobile app.
For the next four years, Lucier-Greer will continue to lead the Military REACH team in its mission to connect the DOD, policymakers, and helping professionals with knowledge to better serve the needs of the service member community.
“I am looking forward to continuing the mission of Military REACH here at Auburn. Our team wants to support military families by mobilizing research into practical applications across the spectrum of family support, resilience, and readiness,” Lucier-Greer said. “In other words, we want to make family science research accessible and practical so that it can be used by the people who need it – policymakers, helping professionals, and military leadership. This is the heart of Auburn’s land grant mission – improving the lives of people across the nation, specifically military families, through forward-thinking education, research and scholarship, and service.”
For more information on Military REACH, visit militaryreach.auburn.edu.