How Could Evolving State Policies Affect LGBTQ+ Veterans' Health?

Airmen and families run through the starting line of the Pride Month color run at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., June 24, 2022. By building a force with diverse backgrounds, skills and experiences, the Air Force and Space Force’s capabilities will be ultimately enhanced in accomplishing its mission, photo by Staff Sgt. Breanna Klemm/U.S. Air Force

Airmen and families run through the starting line of the Pride Month color run at Altus Air Force Base, Okla., June 24, 2022.

Photo by Staff Sgt. Breanna Klemm/U.S. Air Force

In recognition of the 20th National LGBTQ Health Awareness Week, the RAND Epstein Family Veterans Policy Research Institute invites you to attend this webinar.

Event Details


Thursday, March 21


4–5 p.m. ET
1–2 p.m. PT

How to Join:

Details on attending the event will be sent to registered attendees.


Registration for this event has closed.


The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, along with the rest of the federal government, recently affirmed its commitment to improving the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other sexual and gender minority (LGBTQ+) veterans. However, LGBTQ+ veterans are subject to an array of policies that differ depending on the state where they live—from laws protecting them from discrimination to restrictions on gender-affirming health care.

Join the RAND Epstein Family Veterans Policy Research Institute as experts discuss new RAND research on LGBTQ+ veterans’ health, the impact of anti-LGBTQ+ state policies, and how veterans and those who support them have been advocating for change.


Allison Jaslow

Allison Jaslow

Allison Jaslow is the first woman and member of the LGBTQ+ community to serve as CEO of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). She was previously the organization’s executive director, as well as executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and co-founder of Operation Liberty, launched in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. A former U.S. Army captain, for which she received a Bronze Star and Army Commendation Medal with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, Jaslow has served on several congressional staffs and as a White House communications aide. She has contributed to national news coverage of issues affecting service members and veterans and has been a consultant on films about military and veteran experiences. Among her many board appointments, Jaslow was a founding director of the board of the 2LT Richard W. Collins III Foundation and is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Eric Golnick

Eric Golnick

Eric Golnick is the executive vice president, co-founder, and CEO of Forge Health, a mental health care and substance use treatment provider serving veterans, service members, first responders, and their families. He co-founded Forge Health in 2016 after his own experience overcoming trauma from military service and secured a first-of-its-kind national partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. A U.S. Navy veteran with deployments to the Pacific region, Golnick was a lead planner for emergency disaster relief in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima earthquake and tsunami. He later served as a senior policy expert working directly with the National Security Council, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Congress. He is a member of multiple state-level suicide prevention working groups and the boards of several nonprofit veteran, military, and first responder organizations.

Ian Michael

Ian Michael

Ian Michael serves as the LGBTQ+ veteran coordinator and special advocate in the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs’ Appeals and Special Advocacy Division. In their role as a veteran service officer, they facilitate access to vital veteran benefits for LGBTQ+ veterans and provide crucial assistance with discharge upgrades related to sexual orientation. As an U.S. Marine Corps sergeant deployed during “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Michael’s firsthand experience navigating military complexities fueled their dedication to supporting fellow veterans. Their advocacy extends beyond their current role, including collaborating with organizations to provide comprehensive support services to LGBTQ+ veterans and their families. Inspired by a cross-country cycling expedition to raise PTSD awareness, Michael co-founded the Human Hug Project, bringing comfort to veterans at 92 VA medical centers. With certifications in suicide prevention, mental health first aid, and peer support and a commitment to advocacy, they drive positive change for LGBTQ+ veterans in Oregon, actively shaping legislation and fostering community.


Megan Schuler

Megan Schuler

Megan Schuler is a policy researcher at RAND. As an applied statistician, her work focuses on health and health services inequities, particularly those related to substance use and mental health among various populations. Her recent work examines substance use inequalities among sexual minorities. In this, she identified significant variations in substance use patterns among different groups and was able to pinpoint specific risk factors and pathways contributing to these variations. Schuler works as a co-investigator with the RAND-USC Schaeffer Opioid Policy Tools and Information Center (OPTIC). Prior to RAND, Schuler was a research fellow at Harvard University’s Health Care Policy Department and a postdoctoral researcher at the Pennsylvania State University’s Methodology Center. She received her Ph.D. in psychiatric epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


Kayla M. Williams

Kayla M. Williams

Kayla M. Williams is a senior policy researcher at RAND. Her focus areas include optimizing policies and programs to support veterans and military personnel. She was most recently Assistant Secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where she directed a team of nearly 80 employees who communicated VA policies and initiatives through diverse channels. She has served on the Department of Labor Advisory Committee on Veterans’ Employment, Training, and Employer Outreach and the VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, among others. Williams was an Arabic linguist in the U.S. Army and is the author of two memoirs about her experiences during and after deploying to Iraq. She has an M.A. in international affairs from American University.

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