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April 8, 2015

Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University Argues for Greater Collective Purpose and Coordination in Veterans Services

Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University Argues for Greater Collective Purpose and Coordination in Veterans Services

Paper draws on public health and management research to make a case for greater coordination and collective impact among veteran service providers in communities; highlights preliminary outcomes from its first coordinated service provider network in New York City.

DrivingCommunityImpactThe Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University (IVMF) today released a report that underscores the need for greater coordination and collective purpose among public, private, and nonprofit organizations serving veterans and military families. The paper details what the authors describe as both a challenge and opportunity for communities to maximize positive outcomes for veterans and their families through “improved, evidence-based coordination” of supportive services. Titled, “Driving Community Impact: The Case for Local, Evidence-Based Coordination in Veteran and Military Family Services and the AmericaServes Initiative,” the publication leverages academic research from the public health and public management fields to highlight the promise of greater coordination, transparency, and data-driven practice among service providers.

The report comes at a critical time in the U.S., in which resources and support for veterans and their families remain high, yet elements of the veteran population remain vulnerable to financial, employment, family, or legal troubles, or worse, homelessness, substance abuse, and even suicide. The authors argue that, beyond unprecedented health care and service-related benefits, local community-based service providers play a critical role in supporting transitioning servicemembers, veterans, and their families. However, collective efforts at the community level remain largely fragmented and organized around individual organizations working largely in isolation.

The authors assert that collective impact, a framework for bringing diverse organizations together around complex social problems, is one promising model for communities to consider in their efforts to advance the lives of veterans and military families. They also highlight preliminary outcomes from the IVMF’s first pilot coordinated provider network in New York City. Launched in late 2014, AmericaServes is the Institute’s initiative aimed at supporting American communities across the nation committed to generating greater impact on the lives of their veterans and family members through the creation of comprehensive, accountable, and evidence-based service delivery networks of resources and care.

“Our observations of ongoing practice in the veterans’ space are sufficient enough to understand that the single-most obvious gap in community-based services supporting America’s veterans and their families is in fact the space between providers themselves. Unless we address this now through these collective designs and effort, our communities will never be in a position of strength and excellence to serve the needs of veteran families,” says Jim McDonough, IVMF’s managing director of community engagement and innovation.

“Some veterans’ needs are complex and require a combination of carefully managed health and social supports,” says co-author Nick Armstrong, IVMF senior director of research and policy. “No single organization—public, private, or nonprofit—can do it all. Improved coordination, particularly at the local community level, is a must if we want to see greater impact on our veterans and military families.”

IVMF Executive Director and Founder Dr. Mike Haynie adds, “The IVMF is uniquely positioned to leverage its resources to empower and support communities in their quest to deliver more inclusive, holistic, and impactful services to veterans and family members via coordinated, evidenced-based service delivery networks.”

Authors of the report are Nicholas J. Armstrong, Ph.D.; Colonel James D. McDonough Jr., USA (Ret.); and Daniel Savage, M.P.P.

View/download the report in its entirety

Follow the conversation on social media by Tweeting with @IVMFSyracuseU and using the hash tag #AmericaServes.

Leaders of the study and directors of IVMF are available upon request to discuss this report and the proposals put forth. Contact Wayne Westervelt, IVMF Director of Communications, at 315.443.5690 or


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