Understanding and Addressing the Health Needs of Minority Veterans in New York State
March 20, 2019
Outside New York State
Over the past 30 years, women and racial/ethnic minorities have entered the military in ever-increasing numbers, further diversifying the country’s veteran population.
Racial/ethnic minorities made up 21% of New York’s veteran population in 2015, a proportion that is expected to rise to 37% by 2040. Women are expected to comprise more than 10% of New York’s veteran population by 2025. In some ways, minority veterans have greater access to health care than their nonveteran minority counterparts. Yet the racial and ethnic health disparities that persist in the United States are largely mirrored in the veteran community. To date, there has not been a comprehensive analysis of the health needs of post-9/11 minority veterans in New York State, and the extent to which current U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or private-sector infrastructures are meeting these needs. In 2019, NYSHealth awarded the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) a grant to determine the health needs of minority veterans in New York State and provide recommendations for better meeting those needs.
Under this grant, CNAS conducted a needs assessment on post-9/11 veterans in New York State who are women, racial or ethnic minorities, and/or members of the LGBTQ community. The analysis gathered demographic information on these minority veterans and analyzed how they compare with nonminority veterans on various measures of health. CNAS also delved into mental health care more broadly, and suicide prevention in particular, to identify potential additional risk factors or concerns for minority veterans. Existing infrastructure that supports minority veterans, and possible barriers or gaps in the system, were also explored, along with possible strategies to address any deficiencies or health inequities. In addition to reviewing publicly available datasets, CNAS conducted a literature review, site visits to VA and non-VA health care facilities, stakeholder interviews, and focus groups with minority veterans. CNAS produced a final report of findings and recommendations with actionable information that stakeholders can use regarding resource allocation, outreach strategies, service delivery, and policymaking.