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Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans

National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans

The National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans, a long-term study of 60,000 recent Veterans, is one of the largest scientific research studies of this group of Veterans. The purpose of this study is to:

  • Provide insight on the overall health of recent Veterans
  • Improve VA's understanding of what health services Veterans need
  • Maximize the quality of care that VA offers

New findings

More than 20,500 Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Veterans participated in the first survey in this study.

Explore the research findings:

  • PTSD: 13.5% of OEF/OIF deployed and non-deployed Veterans screened positive for PTSD
  • Sinusitis, asthma, and bronchitis: 29% of OEF/OIF Veterans were more likely to report having sinusitis
  • Infertility: 15.8% of women and 13.8% of men reported that they had experienced infertility

Researchers continue to analyze data from this study and will share their findings in future publications.


Researchers randomly selected 60,000 Veterans from Department of Defense records of men and women who served in the military between October 2001 and June 2008. The study group includes:

  • 30,000 Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) Veterans
  • 30,000 Veterans who served elsewhere during the same time period
  • Representation from each branch of the military
  • Active duty, Reserve, and National Guard members
  • A sample of women Veterans to amount to 20% of the total group

Have you moved? If we contacted you in 2009 or 2010 to be a participant in this study and you would like to notify us about an address change, please contact us by mail or by telephone at 202-266-4695 or 1-800-211-5272.



  • Invited 60,000 Veterans to complete a questionnaire on paper, online, or by telephone
  • Asked 2,000 study participants if they will allow researchers to review their medical records on certain health conditions
  • Will recontact the original 60,000 Veterans with a follow-up survey in 2015

Questionnaire topics

The questionnaire covers a wide range of topics, including the following topics:

  • Health risk behaviours: Alcohol use, HIV testing, motorcycle helmet use, seatbelt use, sexual behavior, smoking, and speeding
  • Health conditions: Anxiety, asthma, cancer, chronic diseases, depression, heart disease, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines, pain, PTSD, and TBI
  • General health: Functional status, general health perception, pregnancy outcomes, and reproductive health
  • Health care utilization: Doctor visits, hospitalizations, prescription drug use, use of complementary and alternative medicine, and VA facility use
  • Potential exposures: Accidents, blasts, burn pits, chemicals, dust/sand, falls, head injuries, military sexual trauma, smoke, and vaccinations

Time frame

A pilot of this study took place in 2009. The full-scale study began in summer 2009 and data collection for the first wave closed at the end of 2010. The study group will be contacted again to complete another health questionnaire.

Over time, this study will help us to learn even more about the health of recent Veterans.


Robert Bossarte, Ph.D.
Aaron Schneiderman, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.N.
Shannon Barth, M.P.H.
Paul Ciminera, M.D., M.P.H.
Yasmin Cypel, Ph.D., M.S.
Erin Dursa, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Stephanie Green Eber, M.P.H.
Matthew Reinhard, Psy.D.
Shanna Smith, M.P.H.


Dursa EK, Reinhard MJ, Barth SK, Schneiderman AI. Prevalence of a Positive Screen for PTSD Among OEF/OIF and OEF/OIF-Era Veterans in a Large Population-Based Cohort. J Trauma Stress 2014; 27: 542-549.

Katon J, Cypel Y, Raza M, Zephyrin L, Reiber G, Yano EM, Barth S, Schneiderman A. Self-reported infertility among male and female veterans serving during Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom. J Womens Health (Larchmt) 2014; 23:175-183.

Barth, SK, Dursa, EK, Peterson, MR, Schneiderman A. Prevalence of Respiratory Diseases Among Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom: Results From the National Health Study for a New Generation of U.S. Veterans. Mil Med 2014; 179: 241-245.

Yoon, FB, Jang D, Sukasih A, Kress AM, Barth SK, Mahan CM, Coughlin SS, Dursa EK, Schneiderman AI. 2013. Adjustments for misclassification of deployment status in a population based health study of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom Veterans. In JSM Proceedings, Mental Health Statistics Section. Alexandria, VA: American Statistical Association. 1996-2008.

Eber S, Barth S, Kang H, Mahan C, Dursa E, Schneiderman A. The national health study for a new generation of United States veterans: methods for a large-scale study on the health of recent veterans. Mil Med 2013; 178: 966-969.

Coughlin S, Aliaga P, Barth S, Eber S, Maillard J, Mahan C, Kang H, Schneiderman A, DeBakey S, Vanderwolf P, Williams M. The effectiveness of a monetary incentive on response rates in a survey of recent U.S. veterans. Survey Practice 2011.