In 2008, while exploring the needs of New Yorkers coping with both mental health and substance use disorders, NYHealth identified returning Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans and their families as a population whose concerns were not being met.
Meeting the Needs of Veterans and Their Families
Research supported by NYHealth has revealed that veterans who have recently transitioned to New York after their time in the service would benefit from access to a wider range of resources affecting their health and wellbeing. Of these veterans, approximately half prefer to receive care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), while the other half prefer to receive care from community providers. Yet, research has shown that only 2.3% of private health care providers in New York State are capable of delivering the culturally competent care many former service members may require. Veterans deserve the best care possible, regardless of where they are treated. This approach increases both the quality of existing services and coordination between government and community agencies, which is essential to addressing the needs of New York’s Post-9/11 generation of veterans.
NYHealth’s work in this area seeks to underscore that the health issues returning veterans and their families face, including mental health challenges, are not solely military issues, but issues of public and community health that should be addressed by a variety of stakeholders, including local, state, and federal government agencies; community-based organizations; and other private funders.
Our goals include:
- Increasing access to and the quality of comprehensive community-based services for veterans and their families.
- Preventing veteran suicide using a public health approach and deploying preventive measures.
- Expanding access to evidence-based, culturally competent mental health services.
Strategies for achieving those goals include:
- Serving as a thought leader, convener, and advocate to improve the health of returning veterans and their families through public policy and increasing the visibility of issues veterans face.
- Investing in landmark studies and research opportunities to better understand the needs of Post-9/11 veterans.
- Elevating and addressing the needs of minority veterans.
For more information about this priority area, please contact Senior Program Assistant
Senior Program Assistant
As Senior Program Assistant, Liz Ward supports the Healthy Food, Healthy Lives and Veterans’ Health program areas. She assists program staff and senior management with grants management, grantee communications, event coordination, and programmatic research. She works closely with program staff to help design and develop grant opportunities.
Prior to joining NYHealth, Ms. Ward was an executive assistant for a woman-owned, New York City-based lobbying firm, responsible for event coordination, communications, public relations, and general administration. She also worked in Boston as a paralegal for the Consumer Assistance Program at Health Law Advocates and as a development intern at Health Care for All. She also interned for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Outreach and Enrollment Program at the Western MA Food Bank, where she assisted people with their SNAP benefits applications and helped organize community outreach events.
Ms. Ward holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Health, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, and a certificate in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She is currently pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree, concentrating in Urban Development and Sustainability, at CUNY Baruch’s Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, with an expected graduation date of May 2021.