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Research News

VA Healthcare for Women Veterans: Medical Care Supplement

March 19, 2015

To support the healthcare needs of women Veterans, VA supports a comprehensive women's health research agenda. In an editorial written by VA HSR&D investigators Lori Bastian and colleagues, the authors provide an overview of the Medical Care Supplement "Informing Policy to Deliver Comprehensive Care for Women Veterans," which was supported by VA HSR&D. The Supplement includes new research findings related to the planning, organization, financing, provision, evaluation, and improvement of health services and/or outcomes for women Veterans and women actively serving in the military. In addition to 21 articles, the Supplement features several editorials that describe emerging areas of women's health research, particularly following the 2014 Veterans Choice Act. Following are just some of the study findings in this Supplement.

  • Kimerling and colleagues describe women Veterans' needs for VA mental health services and resources. Findings show that among women using VA primary care, half reported a need for mental health services and more than three-quarters received such care.
  • Maisel and colleagues evaluated VA primary care readiness for delivering comprehensive women's healthcare through staffing with designated women's health providers (DWHPs). Findings show that new female primary care patients were less likely to see a DWHP than established patients, while Bean-Mayberry and colleagues found that Veterans seeing DWHPs had higher odds of receiving breast and cervical cancer screening.
  • Iverson and Pogoda examined the relationship between experience with intimate partner violence (IPV) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) and found that about one-fifth of women Veterans exposed to IPV met screening criteria for a history of TBI.
  • Foynes and colleagues conducted a study of 471 Marine recruits from 1997 to 2008 (35% white men, 38% white women, 13% racial/ethnic minority men, 15% racial/ethnic minority women) and found that experiences of race-based (but not sex-based) discrimination were negatively associated with physical health and self-esteem.

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