A special supplement of the journal Women's Health Issues published July 13 shows the tremendous growth and diversity of VA women's health research in recent years. Its publication comes as VA recognizes July as Women Veterans Month, which included a National Training Summit on Women Veterans held July 15-17 in Washington, D.C.
"VA has had a longstanding commitment to improving women's health," said VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, "This supplement shows the tremendous progress we've made by making that commitment to women Veterans a top priority across the Department."
Titled "Health and Health Care of Women Veterans and Women in the Military: Research Informing Evidence-based Practice and Policy," the special journal edition, known as a supplement, features commentaries by VA investigators examining the role, history, and future of women's health research. For example, in an opening commentary, Elizabeth M. Yano, Ph.D., and Susan M. Frayne, M.D., discuss the heightened focus on health services research, with more articles published between 2004 and 2008--the first four years after VA Office of Research and Development established its women's health agenda--"than in the previous 25 years combined."
The supplement also includes 18 peer-reviewed research articles addressing the changing demographics and demands of VA health care presented by the recent surge of women Veterans into the VA system. Among the topics addressed are: gender differences and disparities in care; mental health, including military sexual trauma and substance abuse; post deployment health, including posttraumatic stress disorder; quality and delivery of care; and special populations, including homeless women Veterans and those with traumatic brain injuries.
"With women expected to make up 10 percent of the Veteran population by 2018," said VA Under Secretary for Health Robert A. Petzel, M.D., "our goal of excellence in health care for all of our Nation's Veterans makes it imperative that we prepare now to meet future demands."
VA Chief Research and Development Officer Joel Kupersmith, M.D. noted "VA Research is making a tremendous difference in the lives of women Veterans. The supplement clearly shows the scope and depth of VA's research portfolio and the many ways we are working to improve the health of women Veterans."
Women's Health Issues is the bi-monthly peer-reviewed journal of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. The journal focuses on applied research in women's health care and policy issues. The special supplement, focused on research related to the health issues of women Veterans and Military women, was sponsored by the Health Services Research and Development Service, VA Office of Research and Development with support from the Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care group. Free full-text access to the supplement's articles can be accessed at www.whijournal.com/supplements.
For more information about VA Research, research specifically addressing women's health, videos, and other women's health information, visit www.research.va.gov/.