Daniel Perkins, principal scientist and founder of the Clearinghouse for Military Readiness at Penn State and professor of youth and family resiliency and policy in College of Agricultural Science, was recently featured on The Heinz Endowments “We Can Be” podcast.
Perkins is the principal investigator of the largest-ever longitudinal study of post-911 transitioning veterans, “The Veteran Metrics Initiative”. In the podcast, Perkins discusses highlights from the project’s research findings with host Megan Andros, The Heinz Endowments’ senior program officer for veterans.
Beginning with an initial cohort of nearly 10,000 post-9/11 veterans who had recently left active-duty service, the study has followed this group for approximately four years as they transitioned from active military duty to civilian life. Perkins discusses the innovative use of common components analysis to distill the programmatic elements of programs designed for veterans and evaluate their effectiveness in helping improve military-to-veteran transitions.
According to Perkins, the study was designed to improve the well-being of veterans and their families by providing important new data to veteran serving organizations (including VA and community providers), policy makers, veterans, and their families. “The results are informing a wide range of stakeholders as they consider ways to more effectively deploy veteran transition assistance efforts.”
For example, veterans who experienced adverse childhood experiences, such as emotional or physical abuse, and who saw combat, were three to 10 times more likely to report having problems transitioning to civilian life. Veterans serving organizations, therefore, need to better identify people who have had these types of traumatic experiences to ensure they receive a high level of transition assistance.
While many post-9/11 veterans are making a good transition to civilian life, Perkins cautions that all is not well. “A number of veterans are having difficulties with health and wellness, employment, and underemployment,” Perkins continued. “Our data reveal that a sizeable number of veterans are significantly underserved, and this fact may be associated with a decrease in the number of individuals who are thinking about serving in the military.”
The “We Can Be” podcast series explores the often moving, sometimes funny and always inspiring accounts of some of the most accomplished, caring and action-oriented individuals in the social change arena and how these leaders are working to answer President Abraham Lincoln’s plenary call that it is our country’s duty to support those that bear our military battles.
Listen to the podcast titled “Groundbreaking data on post-9/11 veterans transitioning to civilian life is paving the path for a better way” here https://www.podbean.com/ew/pb-ct43u-12cacfa.
The Heinz Endowments, headquartered in Pittsburgh, models solutions to major national and global challenges, and has a long history of supporting work to improve the lives of veterans and their families.
The Clearinghouse for Military Readiness at Penn State University is an applied research center committed to advancing the health and well-being of service members, veterans, and their families. The Clearinghouse takes a solution-oriented approach that includes conducting applied research studies, building workforce expertise through training and resource provision, implementing, and evaluating evidence-informed programs and practices, and delivering objective data and policy-relevant findings so that decisions are based on the best science and evidence available. The Clearinghouse is located within Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute.