2014 Veteran SmartCards

Veteran SmartCards

Purpose

The purpose of this project is to illustrate quantitatively the challenges that veterans face in each of Texas’ legislative districts. 
The smartcards present district-specific information in three different dimensions: 

• The presence of veterans in each district. 
• The activity of Military Veteran Peer Network Volunteers. 
• The availability of VA medical facilities.

The following is an explanation of how each estimate was derived:

Background

This project was the result of the efforts of Michael Giles and Jonathan Leistiko during Michael’s Master of Social Work internship at the TexVet Initiative, Fall of 2014.

Explanation of Estimates

You can download the datasheet used to generate the smartcards at http://texvet.org/smartcards

Adult civilian population and adult veteran population: Onestar Foundation’s Texas Connector (https://www.texasconnects.org/) has a social profile for each district, and provided these numbers. Adult populations were used because they were available on the Texas Connector and would yield a percentage that is not affected by numbers of children.

Percentage of adult civilians in the district who are veterans: The adult veteran population divided by the adult civilian population.

Vietnam veterans, veterans of OEF/OIF and female veterans: The adult veteran population for each district multiplied by statewide ratios for Vietnam era, the OEF/OIF era, and female veterans. M. Giles used statewide veteran statistics from 2012 figures developed by the American Community Survey (http://www.census.gov/acs/www/) to generate these ratios. Numbers of Vietnam era, OEF/OIF, and female veterans in Texas were divided by the total number of veterans in Texas.

Vietnam veterans with PTSD and OEF/OIF veterans with PTSD: M. Giles multiplied estimates of Vietnam era veterans of each district by the percentage of Vietnam veterans with PTSD provided by the National Institutes of Health website: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/magazine/issues/winter09/articles/win...

Local Mental Health Authorities: This includes all Local Mental Health Authority (LMHA) regions with any overlap with the legislative districts. Several LMHAs overlap several districts.

Volunteers and service interactions: This refers to Military Veteran Peer Network (MVPN) volunteers. MVPN volunteer coordinators track volunteer service interactions in their regions and TexVet compiles them. M. Giles collected numbers for each LMHA region, and then applied them to legislative districts by cross-referencing the counties included in both the LMHA regions and the legislative districts. For more information about the MVPN, see http://milvetpeer.net/

Number of VA facilities within 50 miles of the center of your district and The nearest VA hospital/outpatient clinic/Vet Center: This number illustrates how densely or sparsely available VA resources are in each district. District sizes vary significantly enough that simply listing the facilities within a district would not necessarily show how easy or difficult it is for veterans to obtain services.  Instead, listing the number of facilities within a certain distance from the center of the district better illustrates the number of options available to veteran constituents and how far they are likely to have to travel to visit a facility. M. Giles established the district centers by visual approximations on district maps and choosing a ZIP code to represent the center. Entering the ZIP code into the VA facility locator at http://www.va.gov/directory/guide/division_flsh.asp?dnum=1 provided facility locations and distances.

Click here to download the datasheet / spreadsheet (Excel format) that Michael Giles used to populate the 2014 Veteran SmartCards.

Click here to download a 2.1 MB PDF containing all of the 2014 Veteran SmartCards (displayed in the frame below).