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VA Researcher Dr. Kiersten Downs Joins ScoutComms

Air Force veteran & SVA board member will serve as new research manager of Scout Insight

January 3, 2019 — Dr. Kiersten Downs, PhD, an Air Force veteran, accomplished Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health services researcher, and board member of Student Veterans of America (SVA), will join ScoutComms, the nation’s leading communications and marketing firm dedicated to providing services that support veterans and military families, as research manager on February 1, 2019.

She will serve as the program lead for the company’s Scout Insight market research team, which works with clients to help them understand emerging trends and opportunities, analyze their markets, measure their brand strength, and develop strategies that help generate positive and measurable results.

Prior to joining ScoutComms, Downs was a Qualitative Researcher and Applied Anthropologist at the VA’s Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (CINDRR) in Tampa, FL, where she worked closely with veteran community organizations to strengthen partnerships and build a better VA.

Downs served as a bomb loader for four years in the Air Force and spent four years as an administrative assistant in a fighter jet squadron in the New York Air National Guard. She was deployed overseas three times, including once to Iraq.

“We are thrilled to have Kiersten join the ScoutComms team and lead Scout Insight in its next phase of growth,” said Fred Wellman, CEO and founder. “She brings incredible talent, experience, and education that will propel our work and expand our ability to serve our clients and the greater community with new products, more data and deeper perspective. You won’t find many researchers with a better insight into veterans and military family issues than Kiersten, who is both a veteran and a caregiver for a veteran.” 

Downs has research experience in women veterans and reintegration after military service, health equity and health disparities research, community-based research, veteran engagement in VA research, program evaluation and qualitative research methods. She has over ten years of experience managing projects that focus on Veteran policy, transition and reintegration, suicide prevention, military sexual trauma, and employment needs.

“Over the years my path has continued to cross with ScoutComms,” Downs said. “I am impressed with the company’s mission and the passion and dedication of its staff to serve veterans, service members and families. Support and collaboration across sectors to foster evolution and growth in programming tailored for our military connected communities is at a critical point. The development of data-driven insights through targeted market research is necessary to assure that resources are allocated in ways that meet the needs of the population. I am honored to join the ScoutComms family to help carry out this mission.”

In addition to serving on Student Veterans of America’s Board of Directors, Downs is a past president of the SVA chapter at the University of South Florida, a former member of SVA’s National Advisory Council, and was honored nationally as the 2013 Student Veteran of the Year.

Downs has a PhD in applied anthropology from the University of South Florida and a bachelor’s degree from Binghamton University-State University of New York.

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