Active Duty Military and Veterans

Abt Associates understands the challenges facing military service members and their families—from deployment to reintegrating into the community and reconnecting with family to obtaining meaningful employment and coping with psychological and physical conditions and disabilities. We have extensive experience delivering policy and programmatic solutions that address the needs of these populations holistically through research, data collection, and technical assistance.
Our work with active and retired service members and their families is informed by on-the-ground involvement with local and national programs, such as providing technical assistance for supportive housing programs and interviewing families about how deployment affects spouses and children. Our research provides evidence that drives effective solutions responsive to the needs of military families and communities.
Research outcomes are only as good as the quality of information collected. Our clients and research participants value our expertise in locating hard-to-reach populations and maintaining the privacy and confidentially of the sensitive data they provide.

Read more about Abt’s work with veterans:
Working on Behalf of Veterans, Military Communities, and Their Families

Housing and Family Stability

How is Abt helping to prevent and end homelessness for veterans?


In 2010, the first national plan to prevent and end homelessness produced by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness set a national goal to end homelessness among veterans by 2015. Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), a housing-first approach that emphasizes rapid resolution of housing crises with time-limited supports, is the centerpiece of this plan. In FY2015, the VA awarded approximately $300 million to local nonprofits to implement the program. SSVF’s dramatic success is a reflection of the training and technical assistance for SSVF grantees provided by Abt and its partner, the Technical Assistance Collaborative. In SSVF’s first two years, 100,000 veterans and their families received direct assistance. Of those who exited the program during that time, 85 percent moved to permanent housing.
CLIENT: VA / PROJECT: Supportive Services for Veterans Families Program Technical Assistance


How is Abt helping to measure our nation’s progress toward preventing and ending homelessness among veterans?

The VA requires SSVF grantees to use local Homeless Management Information Systems (HMISs) to collect client data and monitor the effectiveness of SSVF as part of local homeless crisis response systems. Abt provides technical support on data collection and reporting to the VA and grantees. Abt also helped to develop a nationwide VA data collection repository for all SSVF client data and provides continuing support for it. With a better understanding of how veterans are using programs, the VA can track local and national progress and provide annual reports to Congress and the public.
CLIENT: VA / PROJECTSSVF Registry and HMIS Technical Assistance


How can we communicate progress made at the national level toward ending homelessness among veterans?

In 2009 Abt began including supplemental information about the extent and nature of veteran homelessness in the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, which Abt prepares yearly for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). AHAR’s one day and one-year estimates show how homelessness among veterans is changing over time and highlights the higher risks of homelessness faced by veterans. 
CLIENT: HUD / PROJECTVeteran Homelessness: A Supplemental Report to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress


Is private sector cancer care for older men better than VHA cancer care?

The answer is no. A study conducted by Abt in collaboration with Harvard Medical School’s Department of Health Care Policy revealed that the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) provides cancer care for men 65 and older that is comparable to, and for some quality measures better than, cancer care provided to Medicare beneficiaries through the private sector. The findings, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2011, were based on data collected between 2001 and 2004 about men 65 and older diagnosed with colorectal, lung, and prostate cancer; lymphoma; or multiple myeloma. The research has had a significant impact on how VHA directs its resources.
CLIENT: VA / PROJECTEvaluation of Oncology Programs in the Veterans Health Administration

What is the long-term course of combat-related PTSD?


Twenty-five years after the first study to identify the prevalence of postwar psychological problems among Vietnam veterans, Abt and its partner, New York University’s Department of Psychiatry, conducted the National Vietnam Veteran Longitudinal Study, a congressionally mandated reassessment of previously surveyed participants to learn about the long-term course of war-zone-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other psychiatric and health conditions. Initial findings showed that veterans who served in the Vietnam War and who developed PTSD are at greater risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases, and male theater veterans who had PTSD in the late 1980s have nearly twice the risk of death than do veterans not suffering PTSD. 
CLIENT: VA / PROJECTNational Vietnam Veteran Longitudinal Study


Are combat-exposed veterans using alternative treatments for PTSD and, if so, are the treatments effective?

Mind-body, energy, and manipulative therapies are among the numerous non-traditional remedies sought by combat-exposed military personnel to treat their PTSD. Abt’s study found strong interest in and use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among military personnel suffering from combat-related PTSD but sparse rigorous scientific evidence of the effectiveness of such treatments. The study provided recommendations for the ongoing assessment of the evidence on CAM for PTSD. 
CLIENT: DOD / PROJECTBehavioral Health Research Gap Analysis for the Military Operational Medicine Research Program


How has deployment in recent conflicts affected family stability and functioning?


Abt and the Millennium Cohort Study team at the Naval Health Research Center, and academic partners from Duke and New York Universities, are conducting an assessment of families affected by deployment, with a focus on those deployed in support of the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Through this large-scale epidemiologic study, Abt will assess the impact of deployment on 1) the mental and physical health of spouses and children; 2) the social relationships between service members, spouses, and their children; and 3) the association between family member outcomes and service member outcomes. The study will also identify vulnerability and resilience factors for deployment-related outcomes for spouses and children of deployed service members. For more, visit the Family Study website
CLIENT: DOD / PROJECTMillennium Cohort Family Study


How can the nation support the workforce development needs of veterans with disabilities?


The difficult transition from military service to the civilian economy is even more daunting for veterans with disabilities. As the number of veterans with disabilities grows and the natures of their physical and/or psychological disabilities become increasingly complex, understanding how to best meet these needs becomes more urgent. Abt is currently working with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to explore the expanded use of technology-based learning to support the workforce development needs of veterans with disabilities. This research entails the identification of possible interventions for a full-scale implementation and rigorous evaluation. 
CLIENT: DOL / PROJECTA Design Study for Technology-Based Learning and Workforce Services for Veterans With Disabilities