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Health Systems Research

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Women's Health Research

Women are entering the military in record numbers—they currently comprise 20% of new recruits, and it's estimated that by 2018, 10% of the Veteran population will consist of women Veterans. To support the healthcare needs associated with both current and future women Veterans, the Veterans Health Administration supports a comprehensive women's health research agenda, which includes significant contributions from VA's Health Services Research & Development Service (HSR&D). HSR&D has overseen development of VA-wide and HSR&D-focused research agendas to advance scientific research that includes or focuses on women Veterans to better understand their health and healthcare needs and inform systematic improvements in their care. Below, you will find links to the published agendas, VA Women's Health Research Network (WHRN), research highlights in key topical areas, and additional resources.

VA Women's Health Research Agenda

Women Veterans' Research Highlights

VA Women's Health Research Systematic Reviews

  • The State of Women Veterans' Health Research - This paper describes the results of the first-ever systematic review of the published literature on women Veterans' health research, finding that most research was descriptive in nature, and concerned PTSD, sexual harassment and assault, the utilization and organization of care, and various psychiatric conditions, while experimental studies and studies of quality of care were rare.
  • Systematic review of women veterans' health: update on successes and gaps - With growing attention to the needs of women Veterans in the early 2000s, a team updated the initial systematic review to add new scientific studies published between 2004-2008 and found that more research had been published in the past 5 years than the previous 25 years combined.
  • Systematic review of women veterans' mental health - This systematic review focused on women Veterans' mental health research published from 2008-2011, and noted the need for more interventional and longitudinal designs and understudied areas in certain psychiatric disorders (e.g., schizophrenia), the effects of deployment on women Veterans' families and strategies to address treatment access, attrition, and provision of gender-sensitive care.

VA Women's Health Research Network (WHRN)

In addition to the comprehensive research agenda established by VHA and the many, specific HSR&D investigations, HSR&D has also funded the Women's Health Research Network, composed of two partnered components, the Women's Health Research Consortium (WHRC) and the Women's Health Practice Based Research Network (PBRN). The Network enhances the conduct of VA women's health services research studies by building capacity, meeting field-based technical needs and reducing barriers associated with conducting multi-site studies.


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Any health information on this website is strictly for informational purposes and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any condition.