News/Press Releases

Online Research Project Seeks Qualified Injured Veterans

By Richard Rhinehart

Silver Spring Maryland, May 16, 2014 – Retired American veterans who sustained physical, mental or emotional injuries while in active-duty service to Iraq and Afghanistan are invited to take part in an important online medical survey by World T.E.A.M. Sports contributor and Navy Commander Barbara Dittrich.

Commander Dittrich, a participant and volunteer in the non-profit organization’s annual Face of America bicycle and hand cycle ride from the Pentagon to Gettysburg, is currently conducting a survey of qualified injured veterans as a part of a research project underway for her Doctorate degree with the Arizona School for Health Sciences.

Commander Barbara Dittrich.

Commander Barbara Dittrich rides her bicycle. A volunteer at World T.E.A.M. Sports’ Face of America ride in April, she plans to participate in upcoming events from the non-profit organization. Photograph courtesy Commander Barbara Dittrich.

“My Applied Research Project is a quantitative, descriptive research design investigating the emotional intelligence within Operation Iraqi Freedom/ Operation Enduring Freedom veterans with the aim to identify baseline data that can be used for numerous collaborative projects in the future, particularly focusing on civilian workplace integration,” said Commander Dittrich.

Retired veterans who were deployed at least once to Afghanistan or Iraq and sustained qualifying injuries are invited to participate in the survey, available online until June 22. Participating veterans should use the password TEIQueSF2014 to enter the survey.

“Research has established the importance of emotional intelligence within numerous personal and professional arenas,” explained Commander Dittrich. “The implications for this information suggest that an understanding of these abilities should be included in professional development modalities. However, there has been little research investigating the reintegration and adjustment issues combat veterans’ face as they transition from military life into the civilian sector, and no research exploring the potential benefit of incorporating EI tenants into military vocational programs.”

Commissioned in the Navy in 1996, the Ohio native has served across the world, including a tour as a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at the Multi-National Medical Unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Following a year at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and three years of service at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Commander Dittrich currently serves with the Bureau of Navy Medicine and Surgery in Falls Church, Virginia, where she is the Director of Operations, Education & Training. In this role, she coordinates all Navy operational and treatment facility healthcare education policy development, management, and guidance.


Injured veterans who served in Afghanistan or Iraq are encouraged to complete Commander Dittrich’s online research survey. (Click on image to link to survey sign-in page.)

“Emotional intelligence has been correlated with improved workplace performance, enhanced retention, and organizational commitment,” said Commander Dittrich. “Every veteran possesses varied levels of EI, and identifying those levels allows leaders to cultivate effective employees. EI-empowered workers offer superior qualities such as organizational trust and efficacy, improved communication, adaptability, conscientiousness, higher productivity, and better decision-making and conflict resolution skills.”

Seeking at least 100 qualified responses for her research survey, Commander Dittrich believes her study can provide meaningful benefits for future retiring veterans. “This research project can be used to develop programs preparing veterans for the transition from the military environment into the civilian workforce providing businesses valuable employees,” she said.