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Health Services Research & Development

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Spotlight: Women's Health

July 2011



It's estimated that by 2018, 10% of the Veteran population will be comprised of women. Further, women Veterans are among the fastest growing segments of new VA healthcare users, with as many as 44% electing to use VA healthcare.1

In response to that changing demographic in the Veteran population, and to address the specialized healthcare needs of women, in 2004, VA's Office of Research and Development put forward a research agenda on women's health that spanned biomedical/laboratory, clinical sciences, rehabilitation, and health services research, and which led to a growing VA research portfolio. Between 2004 and 2008, more research on the health of women Veterans was published than in the previous 25 years combined. To further accelerate this agenda, HSR&D funded the VA Women's Health Resource Network, whose mission is to provide education/training, and mentorship support to augment the efforts of a now substantial group of researchers focused on women Veterans' health and to also establish an infrastructure to facilitate research-clinical collaboration and expand women Veterans' research throughout VA.

The Network also works to disseminate information about women's health and has supported a special supplement of the journal, Women's Health Issues. The July 2011 supplement includes 18 peer-reviewed manuscripts summarizing health services research findings about women Veterans and women in the military. All articles are free and fully accessible online.

HSR&D continues to contribute to the growing body of research being conducted to improve the health and healthcare of women Veterans in an array of areas, such as mental health, reproductive health, and chronic disease. For more about VA HSR&D research into women Veteran's health, use the links located in the Resources box, at left.


1. Mattocks K, Skanderson M, Goulet J, et al. Pregnancy and mental health among women Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Journal of Women's Health December 2010;19(12):2159-2166.

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