Veterans’ Health

Project Title

Supporting Successful Transitions: Connecting New Veterans with Peer Mentors

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Veterans’ Health

Date Awarded

March 18, 2022


Finger Lakes






Each year, more than 200,000 service members transition from active duty to civilian life, 4,000 of whom resettle in New York State.

The transition from military service to civilian life can be challenging. The combined stresses of a perceived loss of purpose, geographic relocation, financial uncertainty, and underlying medical and psychological issues have led researchers to deem this period as the “deadly gap”—when new veterans face suicide rates more than two times higher than their civilian counterparts. A lack of communication and coordination at the federal, state, and local levels also hampers service members from getting a head start on their transition and being connected with the resources they need for a successful reintegration. New veterans are often left to navigate reintegration on their own. The Expiration Term of Service Sponsorship Program (ETS-SP) has created a scalable program that proactively addresses veterans’ needs before they leave active duty by using unique data dashboards and pairing veterans with peer mentors and resources in their destination communities. In 2022, NYHealth awarded ETS-SP a grant to expand its program within New York State and connect service members leaving active duty and transitioning to veteran status with peer mentors and community resources.

Under this grant, ETS-SP expanded the reach of its program into New York City and 13 counties in the Finger Lakes region. It established formal partnerships with local organizations to serve as community integration coordinators, which trained peer mentors to be paired with transitioning service members. Mentors received training through a VA-certified cultural competency/mentor training program that was previously supported by NYHealth. ETS-SP also conducted outreach to veterans leaving the military and with plans to settle in one of the identified regions. Finally, ETS-SP created virtual dashboard to provide a snapshot of data and information regarding transitioning veterans and the services most often requested in each region. Dashboards were also a secure way for veterans to share medical or discharge information with local providers. ETS-SP aggregated dashboard data to provide monthly needs assessments to each region and share vital information with the VA, the State, and each city’s Department of Veterans’ Services on the number and types of requests from transitioning veterans, demographics, and regional differences.