Ensuring Quality Services and Support for Veterans On and Off Campus
The University at Albany commends military veterans for their service to our country. To recognize this service, we maintain a number of longstanding programs that provide the necessary financial, academic, and mental health assistance to all UAlbany student veterans. Over the past few years, UAlbany has been working diligently to expand available services and support, including:
- Creating a One-Stop Veteran Student Financial Service Center, with "front-of-line" service for all financial matters, GI Bill certification and identification of benefits, and flexible tuition payment plans;
- Organizing the Veteran Education Team (VET), a committee including key faculty, staff, and students aimed at identifying veterans' priorities and improving services;
- Creating the UAlbany Veteran Student Association; and
- Holding veteran appreciation, recognition, and information events.
For a complete list of UAlbany's resources, visit our Veteran Affairs webpages or contact one of our VET team members.
However, our commitment to veterans is not limited only to those on the UAlbany campuses. Many of our faculty, staff, and students make meaningful contributions through their research and service activities, seeking the best methods for helping vets return to civilian life. In recent news, two UAlbany faculty members in the School of Social Welfare have been awarded grants to help create and/or improve veteran services throughout New York State.
Professor Eric Hardiman Awarded Grant to Evaluate the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer-to-Peer Veterans Program
Dr. Eric Hardiman, Associate Professor in the School of Social Welfare, was awarded a grant from the New York State Office of Mental Health to conduct a mixed methods program evaluation of the Joseph P. Dwyer Peer-to-Peer Veterans Program. The program is a pilot demonstration project which was initially funded in 2012 in Jefferson, Rensselaer, Saratoga, and Suffolk counties, and has since been expanded to seven additional counties throughout the state.
Each county program has recruited and trained veterans to provide peer-based counseling and other supports to veterans in the community. Peer-to-peer interventions have been found to be a promising strategy for service members who are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Support services provided by peers can be particularly effective for those who have served in combat, binding individuals together and fostering the initial trust and credibility necessary for developing relationships in which individuals are willing to open up and discuss their problems. Peer services for veterans also represent a potentially rich source of outreach strategies for connecting with more difficult to reach veterans as well as an opportunity to use a preventive focus with regard to potential suicides.
Through the evaluation process, Dr. Hardiman and his research team are examining the implementation of the veteran peer support program with a focus on identifying the ingredients to successful implementation as well as the barriers to meeting program objectives. Evaluation findings will be used to inform potential replication efforts in other counties.
Professor Lynn Warner to Lead UAlbany's Efforts on Upstate Consortium Supporting Veterans' Health
Dr. Lynn Warner, also an Associate Professor in the School of Social Welfare, is leading UAlbany's efforts to coordinate a consortium of upstate New York schools of social work to support veteran behavioral health initiatives. The three-year, $480,253 competitive grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is intended to increase social workers' capacity to address the mental and behavioral health needs of veterans, military personnel and their families, and residents of medically underserved rural communities.
"The goal is to unite top schools of social welfare in a collaborative effort to expand and evaluate behavioral health field placements and inter-professional initiatives serving veterans and other marginalized and high need groups, particularly in rural areas," said Warner.
Under the umbrella of the Upstate New York Mental and Behavioral Health Education Consortium (UNY-MBHEC), the partners include the University at Buffalo, University at Binghamton, University at Brockport, Nazareth College of Rochester, Roberts Wesleyan College, and Syracuse University.