Veterans’ Health

Grantee Name

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Inc.

Funding Area

Veterans’ Health

Publication Date

April 2014

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

October 5, 2008 – July 18, 2011

Since 2001, more than 2.2 million American men and women have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

After serving overseas, thousands of returning troops face significant challenges, including unemployment and serious mental health issues. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Inc., (IAVA) has worked to identify and resolve these issues on both national and local levels by building awareness, forming strategic partnerships, and providing assistance and advocacy. A major challenge for IAVA and other similar organizations, however, is finding and engaging returning veterans and their families, particularly National Guardsmen and reservists. IAVA has addressed this challenge by connecting with returning veterans and their families through online strategies, and has built a strong base of members, of which 7,000 are returning veterans.

To better understand the challenges and needs of returning veterans and their families, NYHealth awarded IAVA a grant to partner with the RAND Corporation to develop a needs assessment of veterans in New York State, which provides a local snapshot of the quality of life for veterans nationwide.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Conducted community building in New York State through the New York City Veterans Day parade, job fairs, employer training workshops, and social activities;
  • Recruited veterans and family member participants for the focus groups that were part of RAND Corporation’s study, “A Needs Assessment of New York State Veterans: Final Report to the New York Health Foundation;”
  • Promoted wide dissemination of the needs assessment through a strong media presence; and
  • Condensed the key findings of the needs assessment into a report, “New York’s Newest Veterans,” which details how various challenges impact veterans in New York State and identifies the top issues facing new veterans returning to New York State: unemployment, mental health, and navigating eligible services and benefits.