Saturday, July 16, 2011

VA Expands Outreach to Women Veterans



Department Hosts 5th National Summit in D.C.

WASHINGTON (July 15, 2011) - Over 700 participants plan to attend the
Fifth National Summit on Women Veterans' Issues scheduled July 16-17 at
the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill. Secretary of Veterans
Affairs Eric K. Shinseki will give remarks to open the summit this
Saturday, which will focus on expanding outreach to women Veterans and
increasing awareness of the enhanced VA benefits and services available
to them.

"With more women serving in our armed forces than ever before, this
summit is an opportunity to exchange ideas and focus attention on the
issues and concerns unique to women Veterans," Shinseki said. "Today,
there are over 1.8 million women Veterans of all eras and one of VA's
highest priorities is to continue to expand our services and outreach to
ensure they receive the care and benefits they have earned."

This is the first time VA will provide targeted training, education, and
collaborative cross training for its staff responsible for providing
services and benefits specifically to women Veterans and their families.
Participants include: women Veterans, women Veteran advocates from
across the nation, active duty women service members (to include those
in the Reserves and National Guard) VA employees who provide care to
women Veterans, and representatives from a multitude of Veterans service
organizations and nonprofit agencies.    VA Medical Centers employ women
Veterans program managers; community-based outpatient clinics employ a
women's liaison; and VA regional offices employ a women Veterans
coordinator.

"The number of women Veterans using VA health care has doubled in the
last decade," said Patricia Hayes, chief consultant of VA's Women
Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group. "This training, coupled
with direct feedback from women Veterans, will enable VA to continue to
enhance health care and services to meet their needs."

Today, over 200,000 women are serving in the armed forces.  About 11
percent of the U.S. forces currently serving in Afghanistan and Iraq are
women. Recognizing the valor, service and sacrifice of America's 1.7
million women Veterans, VA has stepped up its outreach efforts to women
Veterans to increase their awareness of the comprehensive array of VA
benefits and programs. Women Veterans are entitled to the same benefits
and medical care as their male counterparts, including health care,
disability compensation, education assistance, work-study allowance,
vocational rehabilitation, employment and counseling services,
insurance, home loan benefits, nursing home care, survivor benefits and
various burial benefits.

In addition, VA also has a multitude of gender specific services and
programs that respond to the unique needs of women Veterans, including
pap smears, mammography, general reproductive health care, counseling
for substance abuse, sexual trauma, depression, and evaluation and
treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For more
information about VA visit the website at www.va.gov and its Center for
Women Veterans at http://www.va.gov/womenvet.