A sailor salutes in front of his ship during the national anthem before a 2016 deployment. Photo by Chris Stone

The nonprofit RAND Corp. has announced the launch of the RAND Epstein Family Veterans Policy Research Institute to address issues facing veterans and military families.

Supported by a $10 million gift from the Epstein Family Foundation, the institute “will examine a wide array of topics, including housing, health and mental health care.”

“We are extremely grateful for the vision and leadership of Dan Epstein for this transformative gift,” said RAND President and CEO Michael D. Rich. “He shares our belief that the most complex problems – such as reducing veteran suicide and ending veteran homelessness – require solutions guided by the best evidence, innovative analytic tools and sophisticated expertise.”

RAND will partner with the University of Southern California to conduct research, disseminate findings and educate stakeholders on ways to improve veteran outcomes, according to the Santa Monica-based think tank.

According to RAND, the institute’s core research agenda “will include analysis to better understand how military service and post-service experiences affect the short- and long-term needs of veterans and their families. Through partnerships with veterans and the community organizations that support them, the institute will pursue innovative research that informs veteran policy at the national and local levels.”

An advisory board and senior health policy researcher Carrie Farmer, who has led multiple studies to assess the delivery of health care to veterans and service members, and senior behavioral scientist Rajeev Ramchand, will guide the institute.

Farmer was the study director for a comprehensive assessment of the Veterans Health Administration and is a member of the Department of Veterans Affairs National Research Advisory Council.

Ramchand is an epidemiologist who studies mental health and substance use disorders in service members and veterans. He has conducted several projects about suicide in the military and co-directed the RAND study “Hidden Heroes: America’s Military Caregivers.”

“It is gratifying that my gift will help RAND make a positive difference in the lives of veterans and their families,” said Epstein, founder of The ConAm Group. “RAND has a strong track record of research and analysis on the needs of veterans and caregivers. I believe that the collaboration among two premier research organizations – RAND and USC – will lead to solutions that address the special needs of our service members.”

Epstein, who served in the U.S. Army, helped fund Veterans in America, a podcast about research on veterans’ issues, and the inaugural RAND Congressional Fellowship in 2019-2020. He also contributed $1 million to a project on homeless veterans and placing them in permanent housing.

“Our nation has a sacred responsibility to care for the men and women who risk their lives in service to our country, and the quiet heroes who sacrifice and care for them,” said former U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a member of the RAND Board of Trustees. “With this act of generosity by the Epstein family, RAND will have the sustained funding needed to help inform policies that support our veterans and military families.”

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