Franciscan Health partners with Purdue University to support families as they cope with the COVID-19 pandemic

Franciscan Health’s Community Health Improvement team is partnering with Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) to help families strengthen their resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Families Tackling Tough Times Together is a program to support families by providing tools and activities on a weekly basis. Guided by scientific evidence about family resilience, this “pop-up” program is being developed by HHS along with contributing partners from Purdue and beyond, including Franciscan Health.

“It’s impressive to see the efforts that Franciscan is making to not only treat patients but also to support family strengths and resilience during the pandemic,” said Dr. Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, a professor in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Purdue who is working with a large team of volunteer faculty, staff and students to build this initiative.

“Dr. MacDermid Wadsworth was a guest speaker within our Childhood Trauma and Back-to-School Virtual Series over the summer. It was incredible to hear her speak about the need for family resilience, and I’m thrilled that we’ve continued to align our community health efforts,” said Katie Schmitz, Community Health Improvement Coordinator for Franciscan Health.

The pandemic is a very big challenge. How families cope can affect both parents and children for a long time. For nine weeks this fall, Families Tackling Tough Times Together will provide weekly collections of ideas for families to use. These tools are free, flexible, and informed by science. They are designed for families of all types, with tailored suggestions for children, youth, young adults and older adults, and suitable for both civilian and military families. The program will provide:

  • * Nine weekly collections of resilience-building activities you can use.
  • * Information about resilience for you and your family.
  • * Opportunities to ask questions of experts.
  • * Messages of support and encouragement.

Families are invited to join a public Facebook group ( or visit the project website ( where they will find materials and activities tied to a specific aspect of resilience.