Building Responsive Communities: Organizing and Evaluating for Successful Military Transitions

Session Number: 2063
Track: Military and Veteran Evaluation
Session Type: Panel
Tags: collaboration, Collective Impact, Community Health and Wellbeing, Military, Veterans
Session Chair: Stephen H Axelrad [Lead Associate - Booz Allen Hamilton]
Presenter 1: Joe Buehrle, SAY San Diego [Director]
Presenter 2: Pat Clifford [Clifford Consulting]
Presenter 3: Nathan Graeser [Community Program Administrator - USC Center for Innovation and Research, Social Work]
Time: Oct 27, 2016 (03:00 PM - 04:30 PM)
Room: L501

Abstract 1 Title: Military Transition: The Spouse Edition – Partnering with communities to design family-centric transition models.
Presentation Abstract 1: 28% of military families describe their overall transition from active duty to veteran life as “difficult” or “very difficult” (Blue Star Families 2015 Military Lifestyle Survey). Service members do not transition alone. Inclusive designs that empower the whole family are imperative. In response, San Diego’s multi-sector Military Family Collaborative developed the series, Military Transition: The Spouse Edition: workshops tailored to build a community of support and specifically meet the needs of military spouses. The innovative series leverages highly knowledgeable and DOD sponsored/qualified speakers by repackaging transition information in a user-friendly toolkit that is presented in an open peer based learning format which encourages discussion and questions. The model, evaluation design and tools will be discussed, emphasizing not just impact around knowledge and information gains, but also social-emotional confidence, access to resources, and peer support. The presentation will also tie in Zero8hundred, a county-wide military transition support initiative.
Abstract 2 Title: Covering all the bases: Designing a holistic community support system for veterans
Presentation Abstract 2: Veteran support systems are often fragmented and confusing, causing a “sea of goodwill” for transitioning veterans. Designing programs that help align this sea of goodwill rather than exacerbating it are challenged by existing sector silos and organizational competition. In response, the Tristate Veterans Community Alliance (TVCA) has designed coordinated pipeline for transitioning veterans, including the creation of a single, collaborative point of entry called the Veteran In Processing (VIP) Center. The TVCA has been developing an evaluation plan for this system along with its key partners including the United Way, Easter Seals, 211, the USO, and others. The plan started with shared goals and research question and has evolved into a common scale to measure consumer-level transition data and linkages with sector-specific outcome measures. The TVCA has also authored a second bi-annual community report that brings together relevant data, assesses the impact of community efforts, and makes recommendations for action.
Abstract 3 Title: Designing Evaluations for Innovation: Using pilots to drive innovation and evaluate service delivery in the Veteran landscape
Presentation Abstract 3: Very few evaluations have been used to inform services provided, and even less, provide any meaningful information for the community to adjust their services to provide more timely, useful and efficient help for Veterans in need. What is needed is a mechanism for developing feedback in real time. Pilots provide a platform for social service professionals to create and modify programs and services in real time, reducing wasted resources while maximizing positive social impact. You cannot plan for innovation; however, you can create the conditions for it. In utilizing pilots through an innovation fund open to the community, you can create a fast-paced positive feedback loop for evaluating and informing services. In this session, we examine utilizing pilot to enhance knowledge and innovation in addressing complex social issues. Through these techniques, social service professionals in the Veteran may begin to solve the problem of slow and ineffective programs and services.
Audience Level: All Audiences

Session Abstract: 

Veterans transitioning from military service to civilian life offer both opportunities and pitfalls for communities. In the last decade, increasing numbers of “helpers” have created a perfect storm due to lack of coordination and alignment. Despite massive efforts, many communities still lack the ability to learn and react in our services are delivered. Additionally, in line with Patton’s research, most evaluation efforts focus on a few points of service delivery and lack the information and rigor needed for broad application and adaptation of services. To address these issues, community veteran collaboratives are working together to comprehensively support military families, market services more clearly, and improve quality. They are exploring appropriate community-level goals, best practices, and appropriate short- and mid-range indicators. Panelists include leaders from three of the leading community veteran collaboratives. They will present on their efforts to define, measure, and push policy change around veteran transition.