A new on-campus research center will be named in honor of outgoing University of Memphis President Dr. David Rudd.
The Rudd Institute for Veteran and Military Suicide Prevention will focus on Rudd’s own area of psychology: suicide prevention research, particularly for military veterans.
The appointment was officially announced by the chairman of the university’s board of trustees, Douglass Edwards, at his meeting earlier this month.
“The institute will focus on expanding access to and availability of empirically informed approaches to improving the overall well-being of active duty service members and American veterans who have served and sacrificed,” Edwards said. .
After taking a sabbatical, Rudd plans to return to U of M as a professor to lead the new research facility. In an emailed statement to the Daily Helmsman, he gave more details about the institute.
“We will focus on a wide range of veteran issues, but the bulk of the work will revolve around suicide risk assessment and treatment,” he said. “The work is focused on the development, validation, and delivery of effective treatment alternatives for active duty soldiers and veterans at risk of suicide.”
According to Rudd, work has already begun to lay the foundations for the institute. For now, it will be located within the Department of Psychology at the U of M.
“As we develop and expand clinical service delivery,” he said, “this effort will be housed in Memphis in an external and private location given the unique clinical requirements and needs.”
After earning his undergraduate degree at Princeton, Rudd went on to earn his doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin. Throughout his career, he has published over 200 research publications and co-authored several books on suicide prevention. Additionally, he was the past president of three separate psychological associations and has testified eight times before Congress on issues involving veterans and suicide.
The expertise that comes with being a leader in your field has already proven beneficial for the new institute. Rudd explained that there has already been interest in funding new research.
“Our first study, which has already been funded at $2.2 million by the Department of Defense, is a randomized clinical trial that will be conducted in Fort Carson, Colorado,” he explained. “This is a new treatment approach for soldiers having suicidal thoughts and/or attempting suicide.”
During the meeting, Edwards spoke about another positive impact on the U of M Dr. Rudd leaves behind, speaking of the administration’s culture.
“It’s a culture of collaboration and cooperation like I’ve never seen in any organization…it goes from the president’s office right down to graduate assistants and students. They understand why we’re here, and what we do, and that’s the culture that Dr. Rudd has instilled in this organization, and you can’t underestimate that.
The university has benefited in other ways from Rudd’s work in psychology.
“Under the leadership of Dr. David Rudd, the University of Memphis has been recognized as one of the top military-friendly schools for seven consecutive years,” Edwards said. “Helping and supporting veterans has been a top priority for Dr. Rudd during his tenure as President.”
Given that, Edwards said they wanted to allow Rudd to continue his best work here in Memphis.
“Effective work in this area is almost entirely about hope and, arguably, the most rewarding work I’ve ever done,” Rudd said. “To date, our work has offered help to veterans in significant pain, helped them find hope, reconnect with loved ones, and find lives worth living.