Terri Tanielian

Photo of Terri Tanielian
Senior Behavioral Scientist
Washington Office


M.A. in psychology, American University; B.A. in psychology, Boston University

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

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Terri Tanielian is a senior behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation and an internationally recognized expert on military and veteran health. She is currently on a leave of absence. Her areas of interest include military and veterans health policy; military suicide; military sexual assault; psychological effects of combat, terrorism, and disasters. She has led multiple studies to assess the needs of veterans and to examine the readiness of private healthcare providers to deliver timely, high quality care to veterans and their families. She has also examined community based models for expanding mental health care for returning veterans and their families.

As the former director of the RAND Center for Military Health Policy Research, she spent a decade overseeing RAND's diverse military health research portfolio. She was the co–study director for a large, non-governmental assessment of the psychological, emotional, and cognitive consequences of deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan entitled Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery. She was also the codirector for RAND's study Hidden Heroes: America's Military Caregivers, the first representative study of military caregiving in the United States. She also recently completed a feasibility assessment examining the integration of DoD and VA purchased care approaches.

Tanielian has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and reports. She currently serves as a fellow in the Military Service Initiative for the George W. Bush Institute. She was a member of the planning committee for the 18th, 22nd, and 26th Annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy, which focused on mental health needs and recovery following September 11, Hurricane Katrina, and deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, respectively. She earned her M.A. in psychology from American University.

Recent Projects

  • Psychological and cognitive injuries associated with combat and deployment
  • Access to mental health services in the military and veteran health systems
  • Needs and well-being of servicemembers, veterans, and their families
  • Suicide in the military
  • Psychological and behavioral aspects of terrorism, disasters, and public health emergencies

Selected Publications

Farmer, CM, Tanielian T, Buttorff C, Carter P, Cherney S, Duffy EL, Hosek SD, Jaycox LH, Mahmud A, Pace NM, Skrabala L, and Whaley C, Integrating Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs Purchased Care: Preliminary Feasibility Assessment, RAND Corporation (RR-2762), 2018

Tanielian T, Farmer C, Burns RM, Duffy EL, Setodji, CM, Ready or Not? Assessing the Capacity of New York State Health Care Providers to Meet the Needs of Veterans, (RR-2298), 2018

Tanielian T, Batka C, Meredith, LS., Bridging Gaps in Mental health Care: Lessons Learned from the Welcome Back Veterans Initiative, RAND Corporation (RR-2030), 2017

Rajeev Ramchand, Terri Tanielian, Michael P. Fisher, Christine Anne Vaughan, Thomas E. Trail, Caroline Epley, Phoenix Voorhies, Michael Robbins, Eric Robinson and Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar, Hidden Heroes: America's Military Caregivers, RAND Corporation (RR-499), 2014

Eric R Pedersen, Kathryn E. Bouskill, Stephanie Brooks Holliday, Jonathan Cantor, Sierra Smucker, Matthew L. Mizel, Lauren Skrabala, Aaron Kofner, Terri Tanielian, Improving Substance Use Care: Addressing Barriers to Expanding Integrated Treatment Options for Post-9/11 Veterans, RAND Corporation (RR-4354-WWP), 2020

Terri Tanielian and Lisa H Jaycox, eds., Invisible Wounds of War: Psychological and Cognitive Injuries, Their Consequences, and Services to Assist Recovery, RAND Corporation (MG-720), 2008

Coreen Farris, Terry L Schell, Terri Tanielian, Physical and Psychological Health Following Military Sexual Assault: Recommendations for Care, Research, and Policy, RAND Corporation (OP-382), 2013

Meadows, Sarah O., Terri Tanielian, and Benjamin Karney, eds, The Deployment Life Study: Longitudinal Analysis of Military Families Across the Deployment Cycle, RAND Corporation (RR-1388-A), 2016

Honors & Awards

  • President's Choice Award, 2008 and 2014, RAND Corporation
  • President's Award, 2009, RAND Corporation
  • Health Services Research Impact Award, 2011, AcademyHealth

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: BBC America; BBC World News; Boston University's Common Thread; C-SPAN Washington Journal; Head Space and Timing; Homeland Response; Military Times; NBC Nightly News; Newhouse News Service; Newsday; NPR; PBS; Roll Call; WHRV-FM/WHRO, HearSay


  • Terri Tanielian waits for a House Committee on Veterans' Affairs hearing to begin in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, photo by Grace Evans/RAND Corporation

    A Voice for Veterans on Capitol Hill: Q&A with Terri Tanielian

    Terri Tanielian, a senior behavioral scientist at RAND and an internationally recognized expert on military and veteran health, spent six months as a fellow with the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. She helped the committee develop a comprehensive suicide prevention strategy.

    Nov 6, 2020

  • A U.S. Air Force airman sits with his head in his hands, an arm from offscreen reaches to put a hand on his shoulder, photo by Nadine Barclay, TSgt/U.S. Air Force

    PTSD and Substance Use Disorders Are a Vicious Cycle for Veterans

    It is not uncommon to see a co-occurrence of PTSD and heavy use of substances, which can rise to the level of a substance use disorder. It may be necessary to challenge how the needs of veterans are addressed to remove barriers to care that make treating these co-occurring disorders simultaneously so difficult.

    Sep 15, 2020 Military.com

  • A female doctor talks to a young man who looks down, photo by SolStock/Getty Images

    How a New Tool Could Help Mental Health Providers Deliver More Effective Care

    The mental health workforce needs the proper tools to meet the needs of the communities it serves. A key element of this is high-quality training in how to deliver evidence-based treatments. RAND developed a new tool designed to assess how well a specific training aligns with the most critical features of effective training.

    Mar 1, 2019 The RAND Blog

  • Soldier on a train resting his head in his hands

    Invisible Wounds: Closing the Gaps to More Effectively Address These Injuries

    Too few of the veterans who experience mental health issues get the help they need. Even fewer get the right care. Closing these gaps will require raising awareness about the barriers to care, and changing how the mental health care system is organized and delivers services.

    Sep 29, 2016 George W. Bush Institute

  • The Midnight Mission shelter on skid row before a Veterans Day observance for homeless veterans in Los Angeles, California, November 11, 2013

    Veterans Battle Mental Health Issues After Iraq and Afghanistan

    Researchers have made great progress capturing the consequences of coping with injuries sustained in the theater of war, but the emerging picture is shadowed in grays. A series of recent findings presents a bleak portrait of the cost of modern war to service members, their families, and their health care providers.

    Jun 4, 2015 U.S. News & World Report

  • San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland signals a first down after an interception against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium, November 16, 2014

    Traumatic Brain Injury Isn't Just an NFL Problem

    Chris Borland retired early out of concern for his long-term mental and emotional health as a result of football's well-documented link to traumatic brain injury. Hopefully, his bold move will lead to better prevention and treatment of brain trauma in football, but it is also an issue for young athletes, military veterans, and others.

    Apr 30, 2015 Washington Post PostEverything

  • Military family walking on a path through the woods

    Honoring America's Veterans Requires Helping Their Families, Too

    This Veterans Day, the United States especially honors the millions of veterans living with service-related illnesses and injuries. But it's also important to recognize the sacrifices of those helping them to recover and thrive: America's 5.5 million military caregivers.

    Nov 11, 2014 Family Studies

  • The Carl T. Hayden VA Medical Center in Phoenix, Arizona June 11, 2014

    Private Mental Health Providers Must Stand Ready to Help Veterans

    Not all veterans wish to seek services at or through the VA, and many may not meet eligibility criteria. The VA is a critical component of the health care delivery system for former U.S. servicemembers, but it cannot and should not comprise the system alone.

    Jun 27, 2014 The Hill

  • Woman pushing a disabled man in a wheelchair

    One Military Caregiver's Story

    America shouldn't forget the sacrifices of those who care for the wounded. Rachel O'Hern tells the story of her life as a military caregiver, one of millions of spouses, family members, and friends who support service members and veterans with physical or emotional injuries or illnesses.

    May 23, 2014 The RAND Blog

  • Army husband and wife

    Four Ways to Help Military Caregivers

    As momentum continues to build, stakeholders across the board should keep in mind four broad recommendations for how to help military caregivers.

    Apr 15, 2014 The RAND Blog

  • wife welcoming soldier home on Army leave

    A World Without America's Military Caregivers

    A world without military caregivers would be a harsher one for all, particularly for those who have served. Military caregivers' sacrifices improve the lives of wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans, more of whom would suffer without them.

    Mar 31, 2014 The RAND Blog

  • soldier hugging friend

    Spotlight on America's Hidden Heroes: Military Caregivers

    Despite military caregivers' vital contributions, little is known about their numbers, the burden of caregiving that they shoulder, or the resources that exist to support them. To shed light on these

    Mar 24, 2014

  • a man in a wheelchair with his wife and caregiver

    They Also Serve: Understanding the Needs of Military Caregivers

    Military families play a critical role in supporting U.S. servicemembers during deployment and afterwards. Equally vital but often less visible is the role played by those who care for the servicemembers who return with disabling injuries or illnesses and require long-term support beyond what the formal health care system provides.

    Nov 18, 2013 The RAND Blog

  • man in wheelchair with caregiver

    A National Strategy for Supporting Military Caregivers

    The act of caring for a veteran takes a physical, mental, and economic toll on caregivers and their families. Giving caregivers the skills and resources they need to cope and thrive should be as much a priority as giving veterans medical care.

    Mar 7, 2013 The RAND Blog

  • We Need a Public-Private Approach to Supporting Veterans

    Honoring the sacrifices of veterans should be front and center on our policy agenda and not limited to one day a year, says Terri Tanielian.

    Nov 12, 2012 Newsday

  • U.S. Army soldiers search buildings and homes during a mission in Khost province, Afghanistan, July 17, 2011, photo by Sgt. Joseph Watson/U.S. Army

    Bridging the Gaps in Treating Veterans with Post-Deployment Mental Health Problems

    Delivery of evidence-based care to all veterans with PTSD or depression would pay for itself—or even save money—within two years by improving productivity and reducing medical and mortality costs, writes Terri Tanielian.

    Dec 5, 2011 AcademyHealth

  • A soldier hugging his wife or girlfriend upon his return from deployment

    War's Invisible Wounds

    Nearly 300,000 Iraq and Afghanistan service veterans who have returned home -- about one in five -- may suffer from combat-stress-related mental health problems. Our veterans ought to get the best available treatments our nation can offer, but they don't, write authors Terry Schell, Terri Tanielian and Lisa Jaycox.

    Sep 28, 2008 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette