New initiative from George W Bush Presidential Center to review social media for answers to PTS

Eric Dehm
May 03, 2019 - 10:44 am
President George W. Bush participates in the Bush Center Warrior 100K Ride

Photo courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center

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The George W. Bush Presidential Center, situated on a 15-acre park in Dallas, is a busy place. Between the presidential library, public policy institute, and various other facilities there's a lot going on. Among the most important things taking place is the Bush Institute's Military Service Initiative. 

"President Bush and Mrs. Bush feel really strongly about continuing to support, and do anything under their power, to support the Post 9/11 veterans that went to war to defend our country under their watch," says Kacie Kelly, deputy director of the initiative.

The Military Service Initiative includes several facets with unique focuses. The Stand-To Veteran Leadership program focuses on helping military families transition to civilian life. For those looking for a physical challenge Team 43 Sports hosts athletic events for wounded warriors such as golf tournaments and bike rides. The Warrior's Wellness Alliance is bringing together organizations focused on helping vets suffering from PTS and other issues to pool their data and resources, and connect them to services.

While the programs within the initiative are all very different, there is a throughline tying them all together: Action. 

"President Bush likes to say 'I don't want a think tank, I want a do tank,'" Kelly says. "That could not be more present in how we're operationalizing the work that we do in our military service intiative." 

Kelly is specifically referring to the newly unveiled Warriors Connect program which is all about working with veterans to gather data from social media platforms. 

"It's our latest effort to utilize opt-in social media and fitness tracker information," Kelly says. "so that we can better understand where veterans are going to look for health and well-being information and how they're thinking about their mental wellness."

Kelly says the voluntarily submitted data will be used to connect vets to programs that would meet their needs as well as figuring out how best to reach the largest vet audience possible.

While Warrior Connect is the latest offering from the Military Service Initiative, it won't be the last. Kelly says the entire team, from President and Mrs. Bush on down, are committed to the continuous advancement of addressing military and veteran issues. 

You can hear the interview with Kacie Kelly from CBS Eye on Veterans below.

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