Military families are families first. Though their context and culture might be a bit different – as it is with all families – as Cooperative Extension professionals, part of helping them see the benefits of accessing Extension programming might be promoting our own understanding of the needs of military families. Therefore, Cooperative Extension is in the position to educate, provide resources, and referral on things that we would typically supply to civilian families.
In a recent article published in the Journal of Extension, authors identify opportunities for how Cooperative Extension, the nation’s Land-Grand University System that translates research-based information into educational programs, can support military families within their state and local communities.
Innovation in health and human sciences requires that knowledge trickles down to individuals who depend on it for their livelihood. This is where the Cooperative Extension System could empower and support the nearly 1.5 million active duty military families across the nation.
The well-being of families in the military is essential to the Department of Defense (DoD) and its goals for service readiness. Historically, DoD programs and resources were designed for the service member, but research shows family-related factors play an important role in service member’s readiness (Barlas et al., 2013). As such, DoD has robust programs and policies in place to support military families but there are still opportunities for community involvement.
Read more on how Cooperative Extension can better serve military families at: Opportunities to Support Military Families.
Barlas, F. M., Higgins, W. B., Pflieger, J. C., & Diecker, K. (2013). Department of Defense health related behaviors survey of active duty military personnel. ICF International. https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA582287.pdf
Brauner, R. A., & Crocker, A. B. (2022). Ready to Serve: Opportunities for Cooperative Extension to Support Military Families. The Journal of Extension, 60(1), Article 17. https://doi.org/10.34068/joe.60.01.18