16th Apr, 2021

Armed Forces families research earns University of Worcester academic prestigious award

Rob George 17th Feb, 2021

AN ACADEMIC from the University of Worcester has received an award for her research with Armed Forces families.

Dr Gabriela Misca worked with Professor Janet Walker OBE on Living In Our Shoes, an independent and comprehensive review into understanding the needs of, and support provided to, service families. They have both now received the 2021 Special Award for FiMpacT, awarded by the Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre.

The review was commissioned by the Secretary of State for Defence and led by Andrew Selous MP. The report, which was published in June 2020, had 110 recommendations, many of which the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has agreed to implement. It will form the basis of the MOD’s 2021 Families Strategy, which will have a significant impact on the lives of UK Armed Forces families.

Dr Gabriela Misca is Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Worcester and an expert in child and family psychology, with a current focus on military families. Recipient of a 2015-16 Fulbright Scholar Award, she spent a year in the USA collaborating with practice agencies, Veteran Administration establishments and research partners to identify best practices in supporting military and veteran families and assess their cultural transferability to the UK.

Dr Misca said: “A growing body of research sheds light on the lived experiences of military families across the globe, the challenges they face, and their remarkable resilience. It is vital effective policy and practice are grounded in research evidence and the Living in our shoes recommendations have drawn on both national and international studies.

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Force in Mind Trust, said: “Dr Misca’s expertise in understanding the complexity and diversity of military and veteran families and their support needs contributed to the analysis and interpretation of the review findings, leading to recommendations that are fully evidence-based.

Andrew Selous MP, who led the review, has also congratulated the researchers. He said: “It was an enormous pleasure to work with Jan and Gabriela.

“They were not only extremely knowledgeable and professional but were also brilliant at engaging one-to-one with all the family members we had the privilege of listening to. With my political awareness and with the academic rigour I think we made a very good team.”

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