Elizabeth Dole Foundation
Hidden Heroes Caregiver Journey Map Campaign for Inclusive Care

Landmark Research

When Senator Bob Dole was recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Senator Elizabeth Dole experienced firsthand the tremendous challenges facing the loved ones caring for our military veterans.

In response, she established the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and as a first step, commissioned the RAND Corporation to develop the first comprehensive, evidence-based national study of military and veteran caregivers. This two-year study examined the needs of these caregivers, as well as gaps in services and recommendations for filling those gaps. The study revealed a societal crisis requiring a national response.

In 2017, the Foundation released a follow-up study to provide a military caregiver research blueprint.  This blueprint serves as a guide for the military caregiver support community to use in prioritizing and facilitating future research for America’s hidden heroes. Links to both studies are provided below.

The 2017 RAND Study also found that there has been no published research examining the impact of caregiving on military children. As a result, EDF commissioned a first-of-its-kind, groundbreaking research study focused on military caregiver children and adolescents, Hidden Helpers at the Frontlines of Caregiving: Supporting the Healthy Development of Children from Military and Veteran Caregiving Homes.

The findings by research firm Mathematica were unveiled at the White House as First Lady Dr. Jill Biden’s Joining Forces initiative joined EDF and Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) in responding to the concerns of the 2.3 million children of military and veteran caregivers.

Powered by support from WWP, the findings will help members of the Hidden Helpers Coalition, a cohort of more than 60 organizations in the military and veteran arena, address the unmet needs and challenges of military caregiver kids and youth. Learn more at hiddenheroes.org/hiddenhelpers.

The problem military caregivers and their families face are two-fold: First, they do not necessarily think of themselves as caregivers and, in turn, feel uncomfortable asking for help. This makes them difficult to identify. Second, very few services and helpful resources serve military caregivers, specifically.

The Elizabeth Dole Foundation wants to address these problems by providing a continuum of care to military caregivers and their families. We are committed to using evidence-based research to identify and address the most pressing issues military and veteran caregivers face across the nation.