Community Events & Engagement

Building ecosystems and expanding networks.

Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth is sitting in a wheel chair shaking hands with Dr. Jeni Hunniecutt as Dean Cheyl Handley-Maxwell and Ms. Ingrid Wheeler watch.
From left to right: United States Senator Tammy Duckworth, Dean Cheryl Hanley-Maxwell, Dr. Jeni Hunniecutt, Mrs. Ingrid Wheeler

Annual Veterans Day Celebration

Each November, the CVC’s MSKC hosts our Annual Veterans Day Celebration. This event is designed to bring together Military/Veteran stakeholders with researchers, providers, and policymakers to dialogue and brainstorm about the challenges facing our communities.

Group of staff and guests stand shoulder to shoulder posing for picture dressed in suits and professional attire.
From left to right: Ingrid Wheeler, Dr. James Kelly, Justin Constantine, Dr. Jeni Hunniecutt, Dr. Aaron Anderson

Explore past events:

2020 – Veterans in the Labor Market: Readiness – Recruitment – Retention

2019 – Making the Invisible Visible: A Dialogue on Veteran Traumatic Brain Injury

2018 – Women Veterans: Health, Community & Legacy

Student-Driven, Community-Engaged Research

As a collaborative, the CVC’s MSKC regularly supports and works together with offices and units across campus. The Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute‘s Community-Academic Scholars Initiative matches UIUC undergraduate students with community-based research projects for a supportive 10-week summer research experience. The CVC collaboratively supports students in this program who are selected to engage in Military/Veteran centric community-based research projects.

2021 Project(s)

Identifying the Changing Responsibilities and Support Needs of Aging Caregivers of Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury

This study includes web-based group interviews with older spousal/partner caregivers of Veterans with mild, moderate and severe TBI to 1) understand changes in responsibilities and capabilities of older caregivers of Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury and 2) identify support and services older caregivers of Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury need over time for sustained wellbeing while aging. The faculty mentor for this project is Prof. Sandraluz Lara-Cinisomo and the Chez Veterans Center is the community partner.

Optimal Mechanisms of Service Delivery and Utilization for Service Suppliers and Rural-Veteran Consumers

The goal of this project is to help reduce the existing barriers to healthcare utilization among rural veterans. To achieve this goal, we investigate experiences and challenges in different types of rural veteran healthcare consumers when they search and access their needed services. We will also examine various characteristics of individual providers and organizations that serve rural veterans to understand their needs and challenges in engaging their veteran clients. The faculty mentor for this project is Prof. Chung-Yi Chiu and Illinois Joining Forces is the community partner.

2020 Project(s)

Liz Spurlock, a senior pursuing a double major in Psychology and Molecular & Cellular Biology, worked with Reginald Alston, a professor in the Department of Kinesiology & Community Health, Jeni Hunniecutt, at the Chez Veterans Center, and Kirk Hauser, facilitator of the local Veterans Breakfast Club, to virtually conduct a needs assessment as part of a larger effort to develop a strategic plan for how to successfully engage with Veterans in the Champaign-Urbana community on the topic of Veteran brain health. Read more.

Community Engagement for Research

If you work for an organization that provides services and/or benefits to military-connected individuals, the MSKC can help you:

  • Partner with Illinois researchers and experts on projects that can serve your organization by helping track and compile data and metrics, including program assessments
  • Network with community leaders serving Military/Veteran communities
  • Expand your reach to military/veteran communities at the local, state, and national level

If you represent an organization that serves and/or is comprised of Military service members, Veterans, and/or military family members, and are interested in collaborating, we invite you to connect with us.

Research Presentations/Workshops for Community Organizations

If you work for an organization that would benefit from a research presentation or training in a Military/Veteran specific topic, please complete this form or email Jeni Hunniecutt at to inquire.

Reserve Research Space

Do you need space for your research with Military/Veteran communities? If you are a researcher on the UIUC campus, we welcome you to complete this form to request space to use at the Chez Veterans Center for your work.