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MVE TIG Week: Stephen Axelrad on Military and Veteran Evaluation (MVE) Week

Hello, I’m Stephen Axelrad. As the chair of the Military and Veteran Evaluation (MVE) Topical Interest Group, I am very excited to introduce this upcoming week for AEA365 dedicate to military and veteran issues in evaluation. Last month, we made our Annual Conference debut. This week is an opportunity of us to introduce our TIG to the broader evaluation community who were unable to attend our conference and are interested in deepening their understanding of the application of evaluation theory, methods, and practice in active duty military, veteran, military family, and national security settings.

Hot Tip: While the military and veteran community goes beyond the Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA), both agencies produce many of the policies and programs that affect millions of Service members, veterans and their families. Getting smart on DoD and VA will give you a good foundation in understanding the issues affecting military and veteran evaluations.

Rad Resource: VA’s Veterans Policy Research Agenda available at http://www.va.gov/op3/docs/StrategicPlanning/VPRA_FY15_Published_Version_9_5_14.pdf describes issues in which the VA needs more evaluation. The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury’s resource page at http://www.dcoe.mil/About_DCoE/Program_Evaluation.aspx describes how program evaluation is being leveraged to understand the effectiveness of military health and social support programs.

Lesson Learned: Cultural competency is a critical success factor for evaluators who have never served in the military but are working with military and veteran communities. These communities have their own norms, values, and vernacular that vary from the general population.   The Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences’ Center for Deployment Psychology and University of Southern California’s School of Social Work’s Military Social Work have great programs to help evaluators, applied researchers, and providers understand military and veteran communities.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating MVE TIG Week with our colleagues in the Military and Veteran’s Issues Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our MVE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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