Research & Publications

Swords to Plowshares has developed several publications that highlight the issues facing our veteran community as resources to educate the community about these issues and propose solutions for veterans, advocates, service providers, and lawmakers.

Reference Guide

Reference Guide on Veterans and Their Families (May 2017)
This is a comprehensive guide for researchers, policy makers, advocates, and veterans. It covers demographics and cultural characteristics of veterans and their families, the scale and scope of veteran issues, and the availability and limitations of federal resources for veterans and families.

Mental Health

Traumatic Brain Injury among Veterans: A Toolkit for Behavioral Health and Social Service Providers (2017)
This Toolkit provides a framework of understanding traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a community behavioral health and social service perspective. Many veterans with TBI seek care from community systems for services that don’t fall under the typical umbrella of TBI therapy. Providers need to understand how TBI manifests throughout many aspects of a veteran’s life, such as housing, employment, legal assistance, and mental health needs. This practical guide includes research on impacts, screening tools, treatment considerations, and resources when working with veteran clients.

San Francisco Mental Health Summit Findings Report (2016)
This report summarizes the Mental Health Summit, jointly hosted by Swords to Plowshares, the San Francisco VA Health Care system and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and KQED Veterans Coming Home.  Participants focused discussion of access to care and suicide prevention around aging veterans, veterans with bad paper, women and LGBTQ veterans. The summary includes new resources, key challenges and proposed next steps to strengthen community approaches to care.

Right to Care: Voices of Swords to Plowshares’ Veteran Community (2016)
In Section 202 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act (VACAA) of 2014, Congress established the Commission on Care, charging it to examine veterans’ access to Department of Veterans Affairs health care and to examine strategically how best to organize the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), locate health resources, and deliver health care to veterans during the next 20 years. In order to amplify the veteran narrative within the Commission on Care, Swords to Plowshares investigated access to VA and non-VA systems-of-care, and measured perceptions of the quality of services among the Swords to Plowshares veteran community. We conducted one-on-one in-depth interviews with 22 veteran clients and staff who have accessed VA care locally and throughout the country using a human-centered design for our user research.

Findings of the Aging Veteran Population: Impact of Military Service on Health Outcomes (2016)
This primer provides an overview of health indicators of aging veterans who are pre-disposed for a variety of physical and mental health issues impacted by their military service related injuries. Veterans ages 55 and older represent 66% (13.9 million) of the veteran population.

Military Sexual Trauma: Understanding Prevalence, Resources and Considerations to Care (2015)
Unlike other types of service related trauma, military sexual trauma (MST) is an interpersonal trauma, the dynamic of which has many implications for the service member’s career, perception of value in service, and moral foundation.  MST increases the risk for post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions. This issue brief summarizes the various agency definitions, reporting parameters, and access to care; as well as provides policy treatment considerations for care of those who have experienced military sexual trauma

Veterans and Bad Paper Fact Sheet (2015)
This fact sheet covers circumstances that could lead to a servicemember being less than honorably discharged from the military, and subsequent issues with access to care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Effectively Treating and Supporting Today’s Veterans: An online course offered in partnership with National Association of Social Workers (updated 2014)
This introductory course provides mental health practitioners with a working knowledge of common experiences and challenges faced by Post-9/11 veterans. Emerging trends and challenges are explored including the increased prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and military sexual trauma (MST) and increased risk of substance abuse, suicide, incarceration, violence, homelessness, and unemployment. The report details the role of the VA, available resources, and common barriers to services, particularly for women veterans.


How Do Schools Ensure Veterans Succeed? (2019)
During the 2018-2019 academic year, Swords to Plowshares conducted qualitative and quantitative research with 78 veterans and 15 campus staff from five California colleges to assess formal and informal supportive practices on campuses, and to better understand the direct challenges and needs of student veterans. The information in this report builds off of our previous study, “The Path Forward: What Universities Need to Know to Help Student Veterans Succeed” and provides research-based recommendations to colleges to improve services and education outcomes of student veterans.

The Path Forward: What Universities Need to Know to Help Student Veterans Succeed (2018)
During the 2017-2018 academic year, the Institute for Veteran Policy conducted qualitative research with 75 veterans and nine campus staff from four Bay Area colleges to assess formal and informal supportive practices on campuses, and to better understand the direct challenges and needs of student veterans. The information in this report provides research-based recommendations to colleges to improve services and education outcomes of student veterans.

Self Assessment Handout for Student Veterans (2017)
This self-assessment is a tool for institutions of higher learning. It will help institutions take a look at how well-prepared they are for today’s military-connected students. Use this as a guide for educators, administration, and staff to engage in a community discussion about this important topic.


Toolkit for Providing Quality Veteran Employment and Training Programs (2015)
This toolkit was developed for veteran employment and training service agencies to improve their outreach tools, provide quality job training programs, and measure their impact.

Hiring and Supporting Veterans in the Workplace Fact Sheet (2014)
This fact sheet highlights avenues for human resource professionals and hiring managers to hire, retain, and support veterans in the civilian workplace.

Housing and Supportive Services

Transatlantic Practice Exchange 2018: Reports from ten frontline professionals on an international exchange of
knowledge and practice

The Transatlantic Practice Exchange brought together organizations in the UK and United States to explore co-production, coordinated approaches, arts, veterans’ services, and homelessness prevention. The 2018 report shares good practices and learning about coordinated entry, rural homelessness, legislative theater, multi-disciplinary outreach teams, and peer leadership. Tramecia Garner, Associate Director of Residential Programs & Operations, contributed in her section, “Veteran homelessness in the UK: prevention and the Welfare to Wellbeing© model.”

Women Veteran Resources

Defining a New Age of Women Veteran Care: Findings from California Community Providers (2016)
This impact report reviews lessons learned and recommendations for improving health and wellness among women veterans based on our California Women Veterans Project which provided grants and technical  assistance to 22 community organizations.

Women Veteran Screening Guide (2015)
This guide provides organizations that serve women veterans clear, concise and effective information on how to identify women veterans within their organization, an understanding of women veteran issues and effective strategies to those issues.

Legal Work

Monk v. Shulkin Amicus Brief (2018)
Swords to Plowshares and the law firm Boies Schiller Flexner filed an amicus brief on behalf of five veterans legal service providers supporting the petitioners in Monk v. Shulkin. The petitioners seek to aggregate a class of all veterans with VA disability benefits appeals delayed over one year. This brief addresses the due process harms of the unreasonable delay on veterans, who face acute financial hardships, homelessness, and increased health problems while they wait for the disability benefits to which they are entitled.