Study serves veterans and service members

Soliders at PHA 2Dr. Leslie Hammer, new faculty member to Occupational Health Sciences, brings her research project, SERVe – the Study for Employment Retention of Veterans – a 5-year study funded by the Department of Defense, to the Institute. SERVe aims to improve the health and well-being of veterans and their families, and to increase retention of veterans in the workplace by training supervisors to better support their employed service members. Over the last three years the SERVe team has been going full steam ahead as we have designed, refined, recruited, and collected data in what has been on a truly ground-breaking project.

Oregon is notable for being one of the only states in the union to not have an active duty base, instead relying heavily on National Guard and Reserve components. According to the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs, over 9,800 Oregon Army National Guard soldiers have been deployed overseas between 2003 and 2013*, often for a year or more. These citizen soldiers leave jobs, family and/or school behind, to fill a vital role for our country. The transition home can often be a difficult one.

Seeing a need, Dr. Hammer has adapted her Family Supportive Supervisor Behavior (FSSB) training to focus on Veteran Support in the civilian workplace. Currently the SERVe team has recruited 42 organizations in Oregon – an unprecedented number in intervention research – to pilot the training. Data are being collected from over 500 veterans in these organizations before and after the training in a randomized control trial. This rigorous evaluation goes far beyond the usual “I really liked the training/found it useful” evaluation.  The training is expected to have effects on the health and well-being of the participating Veterans, Service Members, and their families.

Data collection will be completed in summer 2016 and initial results will be available shortly thereafter. For more information, check out the SERVe website  or contact us at

Adding to the innovative research design, Dr. Cynthia Mohr and her team at Portland State University are conducting a Daily Family Study with a subgroup of veterans and their partners, where each member of the couple completes a short survey each day for about a month at two different points in time. This provides detailed information about the daily functioning of these families that just can’t be captured on a discrete survey, and also allows for additional evaluation of the training.


Submitted by Krista Brockwood, Senior Research Associate