Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF), higher education’s first interdisciplinary academic institute dedicated to advocacy, research, support for military veterans and their families, was awarded a $500,000 grant by the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation. The grant will help support SyracuseServes, the first new program launching from the University’s National Veterans Resource Center and the latest community to become part of the IVMF’s national initiative to facilitate community-based care-coordination known as AmericaServes. Working alongside communities, AmericaServes seeks to improve access to care and navigation of resources for service members, veterans, and their families. In addition, the grant will enable IVMF to collaborate with Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs to map veteran services in communities across New York State.
Monsignor Gregory Mustaciuolo, Chief Executive Officer of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation says one of their key objectives in 2021 is to address the healthcare disparities related to race and income that have only been heightened since the onset of the pandemic. “These grants demonstrate our continued commitment to support a wide range of organizations improving the health and well-being of New York’s veteran and military family community.” says Mustaciuolo.
Launching this summer, SyracuseServes will be headquartered at Syracuse University’s National Veteran Resource Center in the Daniel and Gayle D’Aniello Building. The Syracuse collaborative will use lessons learned from AmericaServes’ 17 other communities, including Rochester, NY, Dallas, Seattle, Raleigh, Pittsburgh, and New York City. Working collaboratively with the City of Syracuse and its community partners, this program will look to enhance existing services, connecting veterans with vocational and social services to assist clients with VA benefits, transition assistance programs, education, employment, and mental health needs. With a “no-wrong door” approach, the IVMF’s community-based initiatives empower local communities to ensure military-connected clients receive efficient and timely support, as well as access to a wide range of resources they need.
“Today, the IVMF’s AmericaServes program is widely acknowledged as the gold-standard for how public, private, and non-profit organizations work together to serve veterans, service members, and their families,” says Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh. “We’re very excited about this new partnership, and the potential of this innovative community-based collaboration to ensure that the City of Syracuse is among ‘the best places’ for our veterans to live, work, and raise their families.”
Vice Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives and Innovation and Founder of the IVMF, Dr. Mike Haynie, says he is proud one of the first new programs launched at the NVRC will serve local Syracuse veterans and their families, including the many who study and work on the campus. “This grant is one example of how we’re bringing the vision of the NVRC to life in a practical way, leveraging the facility and the IVMF’s expertise to serve the social and wellness needs of veterans and families right here in Central NY,” Haynie says. “We look forward to positioning the NVRC as a community resource and working alongside other community partners in an effort to ensure that those veterans seeking services and care in our community, are able to navigate to the resources they need quickly. Through the IVCMF’s AmericaServes program we’ve been doing this work in communities across the U.S. for many years, and I’m thrilled that we now able to bring that experience to bear toward serving veterans and their families right here in Syracuse.”
The need for coordinated care in communities was identified in IVMF research which indicates relocating back into a community, finding employment, and adjustments to a life outside of the military leave families scrambling to find support from the patchwork of community organizations that support them. In addition, post 9/11 veterans are more likely than previous generations to be persons of color and to have disabilities resulting from their military service. Often, disparate organizations must work together in a community to support veteran families, but they are usually unable to collaborate and share information efficiently. This leads to a confounding process that does not meet a family’s needs.
The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization that aims to bolster the health outcomes of targeted communities like Veterans and their families by eliminating barriers to care and bridging gaps in health services. Named in memory of Mother Cabrini, a tireless advocate for immigrants, children, and the poor, the foundation provides flexible support for new and innovative approaches that enhance health and wellness across New York State.