Chez Veterans Center's Quarterly MSKC Newsletter
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Military Service Knowledge Collaborative Quarterly Newsletter

Spring, 2021


Spring is officially here and summer is just around the corner. I am seeing more and more new blooms on the trees and have even been able to open some windows while working from home. It’s refreshing. I hope you are seizing the time to really enjoy the turn of this season. It was a long winter, one that brought many challenges and lessons, and nothing is a better antidote for spring fever than getting outside and looking forward. 

Speaking of looking forward, we are already starting to brainstorm ideas for our next Annual Veterans Day Celebration at the Chez Veterans Center and are continuing to ignite new programs, services, and initiatives in service to our community. As we all move into spring with new projects, ideas and initiatives, I welcome you to reach out for opportunities to advance your work with military/Veteran communities. The MSKC network of community partners-- Veteran Service Organizations, Veterans Health Administration investigators, and DoD entitites-- continues to grow and with it, so too does the endless potential for generating and sharing knowledge. As always, thank you for the important work that you do. 

In service,




Join our Team: Engaging Women Veterans in Mental Health Research on Military Sexual Trauma

Military Sexual Trauma is a pervasive problem that a team of Veteran advocates and researchers out of the Chez Veterans Center is motivated to help solve through launching a project to build community with women Veteran Military Sexual Trauma (MST) survivors and practitioners. Our project seeks to empower MST survivors and practitioners as equitable partners in community engaged research by: 1)building collaborative relationships, 2) understanding research engagement needs and priorities, and 3) understanding survivor and providerperspectives surrounding access and barriers to treatment. We are inviting MST practitioners within the state of Illinois to join our team. This is a paid, two-year long project that involves virtual community-building meetings in year 1 and participating in an online research training in year two. Continuing education units will be offered to practitioners who complete this project. If you are interested in learning more, please complete this application as a first step.

Student Research Award

The Chez Veterans Center is excited to announce the following research and educational development opportunity for students: the Illini Veterans & Chez Veterans Center Student Research Award. The purposes of the Student Research Award are to both encourage student-veterans to participate in research and to highlight research activities centered on veterans and military-affiliated communities being conducted by UIUC students. Two awards of $1,000 each will be awarded this spring. Deadline for applications is April 11

Health Continuing Education: Position Announcement

The Chez Veterans Center is looking for assistance in developing a new Veteran Community Health Education Program. This position is a part-time, hourly graduate student position designed to help CVC staff develop and pilot this new program. The position is for one year, with a start date of May, 2021

National Virtual Career Fair for Military-Connected Populations

A research team led by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Chez Veterans Center completed a comprehensive, national study on Veteran employment with the post 9/11 generation. This Career Fair, taking place on April 8th, 2021 1-5pm CST, is part of our call to action demonstrating best practices for Veteran career fairs. 

MSKC Research Chat: Exploring the Needs of Military Families of Children with Disabilities

Meghan Burke, Associate Professor of Special Education, will share her research regarding military families with children with disabilities in the next MSKC Research Chat on Thursday, April 8th 12-12:45pm CST. The MSKC Research Chat Series includes short research and Q&A talks throughout the academic year. These talks are designed to disseminate knowledge back into our Military/Veteran communities and provides researchers an opportunity to both share their work and engage potential participants. View past talks here

Conversations in Veterans Studies Conference (virtual) Save the Date

The Veteran Studies Association, a nonprofit public organization, is hosting Conversations in Veterans Studies on May 18th, 2021 2-p.m. EST. This virtual event combines opportunities for formal and informal conversations with veterans studies scholars around the world.


Man in military uniform laying on the floor talking to three children sitting in a circle around him. There are toys on the floor and it looks like he is teaching them something. 

Research Collaboration Spotlight

Conducting and Translating Research with the Military Families Learning Network 

The Military Families Learning Network (MFLN) is part of the DoD-USDA Partnership for Military Families and serves military family service professionals. MFLN engages military family service providers and Cooperative Extension educators in the exchange of experiences and research to enhance the professional impact and encourage professional growth.

MFLN served as a critical partner on two (2019) MSKC Seed Grant projects, led by Meghan Burke and Hedda Meadan-Kaplansky, faculty of Special Education. Both projects focused on exploring and supporting the needs of military families with children with disabilities. In Dr. Burke's project, she created and implemented a 'Military Mentor' program that allows newly civilian families with children with disabilities to have support accessing services; participants in her study demonstrated increases in knowledge and empowerment when paired with a Military Mentor. In Dr. Meadan-Kaplansky's study, she created professional development modules for service providers who work with military families with young children with disabilities, offered online at no-cost to service providers through the MFLN. 

Throughout both projects, the MFLN served an active role in developing materials, recruiting participants, informing data collection procedures and measures, and disseminating project findings and outcomes.

Explore a Field Guide to Family Advocacy course (CEUs provided), co-created with Dr. Meghan Burke. 

Learn more about Dr. Meadan-Kaplansky's work with MFLN in her talk "Military Families with Children with Disabilities: Experiences and Needs."

Sign up for Dr. Burke's upcoming chat on April 8th 12-12:45pm CST, "Exploring the Needs of Military Families of Children with Disabilities." 


Resources for Researchers

The Educational Programming component of the MSKC is designed to help fuse the societal military-civilian divide and educate current and future researchers and providers on best practices for engaging Military/Veteran communities.

View the Top 5 Issues for Military Families Infographic

Blue Star Families recently released the results of their annual Military Family Lifestyle Survey that highlights the foremost issues impacting military families today. 

Watch 15 Things Veterans Want you to Know

PsychArmor asked hundreds of Veterans what they wanted civilians, employers, educators, health care providers, and therapists to know about them. These comments were used to create the topics of this course, which is the cornerstone course for PsychArmor and was created to educate anyone who works with, lives with, or cares for our military Veterans. PsychArmor is a nonprofit that offers FREE online training courses and resources for Americans so they can effectively engage with and support military service members, Veterans, and their families.

Watch Engaging Military/Veteran Communities in Research: Guidance for UIUC Researchers

This talk was part of the IHSI DoD Grant Writing Workshop in winter of 2021 and covers cultural and operational considerations of engaging Military/Veteran communities for research as well as how the MSKC can support researchers on campus. 




Participate in Current Research 

Your experiences can help transform our communities. Join us.

Community Engagement Research Project with Women Veteran Military Sexual Trauma Survivors

Purpose: To understand Military Sexual Trauma (MST) survivors’ and practitioners’ experiences, perspectives, and priorities about mental health treatment and research.

Eligibility: Women Veteran (previous military service) MST survivors residing in Illinois

Participation entails: Commitment to a two-year long project. First you complete a short (10 min.) online form and if selected to participate, year 1 entails two (2 hr.) virtual zoom meetings with other women Veteran MST survivors and 1 (day long) virtual community event on MST. Year two involves monthly virtual research trainings.

Compensation: $50/hr

How to participate: complete this online form to apply


Tinnitus and Hearing Loss Study

Purpose: To discover how the use of MRI can help us to better understand tinnitus and hearing loss in order to development new treatments and therapies.

Eligibility: Current or previous military service, between the ages of 21- 64

Participation entails: Visiting the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign to complete a behavioral assessment (about half and hour) and an MRI (1 hr).

Compensation: up to $75 plus reimbursement for parking

How to participate: email or call (217) 333-7561


Caregivers of Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury Study

Purpose: To understand the needs and experiences of caregivers of Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury  in order to identify and provide recommendations for new programs and services.

Eligibility: 60 years of age or older, married/partnered or widow of a veteran with TBI, current unpaid caregiver of a veteran with TBI or former caregiver of a veteran with TBI who has passed away

Participation entails: Complete a brief online survey and one 90-minute online small group interview

Compensation: $40 gift card

How to participate: email or call (217) 244-9363


Veteran Brain Health Study

Purpose: To understand the needs of Veterans who struggle with brain health (PTSD, TBI, mental health) and what changes Veterans and caregivers want for better diagnosing and treatment options. Part of this study also focuses on understanding how Veterans want to be engaged in research.

Eligibility: Current or past service members and caregivers/spouses

Participation entails: Completing a 15-20 minute online survey

Compensation: NA

How to participate: Take the survey.


Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Epilepsy Study

Purpose: To learn more about the relationship between Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Epilepsy.

Eligibility: 18 years old or older, current or previous military service, have been diagnosed with either Post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE) or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), willing and able to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan

Participation entails: Visiting the Beckman Institute on the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus to complete health questionnaires (about half an hour) and one MRI scan (one hour)

Compensation: $15 per hour for time and travel

How to participate: email or call (217) 326-0200



Funding Opportunities

DoD Defense Medical - Battlefield Resuscitation for Immediate Stabilization of Combat Casualties
Deadline: April 7, 2021

DoD - Lung Cancer Research Program: (1) Career Development Award; (2) Concept Award
Deadline: April 20, 2021

DoD - Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program: Discovery Award
Deadline: May 13, 2021

DoD Breast Cancer Program - (1) Breakthrough Award Level 3; (2) Breakthrough Award Level 4; (3) Innovator Award; (4) Transformative Breast Cancer Consortium Award
Deadline: June 23, 2021

DoD - CDMRP Ovarian Cancer Program: (1) Academy Award; (2) Clinical Translational Research Award; (3) Investigator-Initiated Research Award; (4) Pilot Award; (5) Proteogenomics Research Award
Deadline: July 8, 2021

DoD - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Research Program: (1) Clinical Development Award; (2) Therapeutic/Biomarker Pilot Trial Award; (3) Therapeutic Development Award; (4) Therapeutic Idea Award
Deadline: July 15, 2021

DoD - Lung Cancer Research Program: (1) Clinical Translational Research Partnership Award; (2) Investigator-Initiated Translational Research Award
Deadline: July 28, 2021

DoD - Gulf War Illness Program: (1) Clinical Evaluation Award; (2) Idea Award; (3) New Investigator Award; (4) Research Advancement Award; (5) Therapeutic/Biomarker Trial Award
Deadline: August 19, 2021

DoD - Focused Program Award
Deadline: August 26, 2021

DoD - Peer-Reviewed Medical Research Program: (1) Investigator-Initiated Research Award; (2) Technology/Therapeutic Development Award
Deadline: September 2, 2021

NIH- High Priority Areas for Research Leveraging EHR and Large-Scale Data 
Deadline: September 7, 2021

Army Research Institute BAA for Basic Research in Behavioral Sciences 
Concept paper due: May 15, 2022, Full proposal due: August 4, 2022

Air Force -- Research Lab - Airman Readiness Medical Research (ARMR) Hybrid BAA
Deadline: May 01, 2025

Have an Idea for a New Project?  We can help shape your idea, find partners to bring your idea to life, and provide you with tools needed to create a successful project focused on solving challenges facing Military/Veteran communities. Submit your idea here.