Sep 18, 2014
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In the context of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, there have been a growing number of efforts designed to support service members, veterans, and their families as they cope with deployment and ensure that those who experience mental health problems following their service have access to high-quality care for themselves and their families. Among these is the Welcome Back Veterans (WBV) Initiative, launched in 2008 by Major League Baseball and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation. During 2011–2013, the WBV Initiative issued grants to academic medical institutions around the nation to create and implement programs and services designed to address the mental health needs of returning veterans and their families. In 2010, the McCormick Foundation asked RAND to join the WBV Initiative in a performance monitoring role. RAND designed a system of regular data reporting to assess performance and impact of the WBV-funded activities at each site. This report provides an overview of the WBV Initiative, summarizes the impact of WBV-funded programs during their funding cycle between February 2011 and June 2013, and outlines the lessons learned in implementing veteran support programs. It also discusses the role of partnerships and innovative strategies for outreach.