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Health Systems Research

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HSR&D In Progress

September 2022

In This Issue: Women's Health Research

»Table of Contents

Overview: Women's Health Research

Sponsored by HSR&D and WHRN, a special supplement of Medical Care (February 2021) helps increase the knowledge base on women and suicide, and raises national awareness of suicide among women, which may further increase the resources available to deal with this growing concern.

Women are among the fastest-growing segments of new VA users. To support the healthcare needs of women Veterans, HSR&D funds a broad range of research on issues related to women’s health, including gender differences in health status and medical care, mental and behavioral health, sexual trauma, gynecological and reproductive care, and women Veterans’ experiences of and preferences for care. Recent research pertinent to women has also addressed intimate partner violence and homelessness, and the special needs of specific populations such as rural dwellers, minorities, and LGBTQ+ Veterans.

In addition, HSR&D has overseen the development of VA-wide and HSR&D-focused research to accelerate systematic improvements in women’s healthcare. HSR&D supports the Women’s Health Research Network (WHRN), for example, a special initiative that began in 2010 to transform VA’s capacity to examine and reduce gender disparities in health and healthcare. In 2017, WHRN launched the Women Veterans Suicide Prevention Research Work Group, which brings expertise and resources toward tailoring suicide prevention interventions for women.

HSR&D Centers of Innovation that work to support women’s health include:

  • The Center for the Study of Healthcare Innovation, Implementation & Policy (CSHIIP), home to the Enhancing Mental and Physical health of Women through Engagement and Retention (EMPOWER) QUERI program. EMPOWER QUERI was designed to improve women Veterans’ engagement and retention in evidence-based care for high-priority health conditions (prediabetes, cardiovascular risk, and anxiety/depression).
  • The Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion (CHERP), which works to advance the quality and equity of health and healthcare for Veterans, especially those from vulnerable populations, including women. CHERP offers post-doctoral training programs in women’s health, health-services research, addiction research, and medication safety.
  • The Center for Innovation for Veteran-Centered & Value-Driven Care supports a Research to Impact for VeteRans (RIVR) project titled Evaluating and Enhancing Women’s Healthcare Quality through the Cerner Transition, which aims to ensure that women Veterans receive high-quality healthcare as VA transitions to the Cerner electronic health record.
  • HSR&D’s Pain Research, Informatics, Multi-morbidities, and Education (PRIME) Center also supports a RIVR project: Research to Advance Patient-Driven Healthcare for Women Veterans, which works to improve care for women Veterans through the development and testing of a sex-specific complexity tool that alerts providers to require care-coordination services such as PACT (Patient-Aligned Care Team) care managers, care coordination, and case management.


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