Women's Health Issues Journal:
Focus on Women Veterans
More research on the health of women Veterans was published between 2004 and 2008 than in the previous 25 years combined. This is attributed, in part, to VA's Office of Research and Development having put forward a comprehensive research agenda on women's health in 2004 that spanned biomedical/laboratory, clinical sciences, rehabilitation, and health services research, which then led to a growing VA research portfolio. To further accelerate this research agenda and the impacts of research on VA care for women Veterans, HSR&D funded the VA Women's Health Research Network, whose mission is to provide technical consultation, education/training, and mentorship support to augment the efforts of a now substantial group of VA researchers focused on women Veterans' health.
One major accomplishment of the VA Women's Health Research Network to date is the release of a special issue of the journal Women's Health Issues that includes 18 original peer-reviewed articles summarizing health services research findings about women Veterans and women in the military. With support from HSR&D, this special issue was published online July 6, 2011, andall articles are accessible regardless of subscription status.
The 18 articles are complemented by commentaries from HSR&D leadership and their clinical partner in the Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group, which oversees national VA women's healthcare. Topics cover an array of issues that include: tailoring primary care to women Veterans; offering mental healthcare services specifically for women Veterans; military sexual trauma and patient perceptions of VA healthcare; gender differences in smoking cessation; and homelessness among women Veterans, to name a few.
The potential for advancing evidence-based practice and policy as a result of VA's investment in women's health services research is unprecedented, enhanced by strong research-clinical partnerships with leaders in VA Central Office (e.g., VA's Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group, Office of Mental Health Services, Office of Patient Care Services). HSR&D has also invested in promoting multi-site research through the inaugural sites of the VA Women's Health Practice-Based Research Network, designed to facilitate the recruitment of women Veterans nationwide in VA, ensure their inclusion in a wider array of VA research, expand clinical-research collaborations, and foster the design and testing of interventions addressing the health and care of women Veterans.
Health and Health Care of Women Veterans and Women in the Military: Research Informing Evidence-Based Practice and Policy. Women's Health Issues July-August 2011;Suppl 1:S63-S218.
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