Military Cultural Competence

Veterans and military families have unique needs and understanding military ‘culture’ builds a community’s capacity to help. When providers and supporters have a basic knowledge of military values, experiences and the transitioning from military to civilian life, they improve the quality of their service. This is often called “Military Cultural Competence.”

Western New York strives to be a community that is supportive to our Veterans, service members, and their families. If you are working with Veterans, service members, or their families, we would suggest learning more about their culture.

Some ways to increase your cultural competency are

If you have 20 min:

Sign up for an account on There is no cost to having an account and having an account will keep track of the courses you have already taken. You can click “explore courses” and a number of categories are listed. If you want to learn more about military culture, click that category. Many of the courses are less than 20 minutes long.

If you have 1-2 hours:

Invite a local Veteran service organization to come to your place of employment and provide training to you and your co-workers about SMVF culture and specific resources to support those individuals.

Watch recorded SAMSHA webinars on a variety of mental health and substance abuse topics as they relate to the SMVF population.

If you have a full work day:

Invite the Veteran Cultural Competency Trainings team from the VA to do a day-long immersive experience at your place of employment. This training is intended for anyone who provides services to, or employs, Veterans and their families.

Information about the trainings and how to request it is found here:

You can also sign up for this training virtually or in-person if one is being hosted near your geographical location. Email to inquire.