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Tapping Hidden Talent Pools:  How to Hire Women Veterans into Great Careers

According to U.S. Census data, while women comprise 10 percent of veterans, they comprise 13 percent of veterans in today’s civilian workforce. Clearly, women veterans are succeeding in civilian careers despite the fact that they still face higher unemployment than male veterans and female non-veterans. Like their male counterparts, women veterans bring an incredible wealth of leadership, technology skills and experience to the civilian workforce. This is an untapped talent pool from which employers across the U.S can and should benefit.

How can we recruit female veteran job seekers if so many choose to remain incognito?

  • Create a safe environment for women veterans to share highlights about the skills and experience they attained during their military service.
  • Showcase photos and testimonials from women veteran employees in recruitment marketing materials. Use terminology such as “military service” in lieu of “veteran” which may resonate better with women who served.
  • Create communities to connect women veteran employees and engage them as recruitment ambassadors.
  • Dispel myths that hiring managers may have about the availability and qualifications of female veterans. Now you have the data to overcome the common objection of “but there aren’t many women veteran applicants out there!”

Learn More*


Women Veterans to Get Dedicated Assistance

The state’s female veterans will have a program and a liaison dedicated to their issues under a law that takes effect July 1.

Senate Bill 354 creates the Hoosier Women Veterans Program and authorizes the state to hire a coordinator to oversee the program.

The program is meant to help the more than 37,000 female veterans in Indiana learn about the services available to them and assess what special needs they might have.Learn More*


Women Vets: A Soldier's Story

Host Val Zavala brings you the story of Angie Peacock, an Army veteran who suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and sexual assault. Peacock talks about overcoming the various stages of her life while coping with addiction, depression, and a failed marriage.

In this 2009 "SoCal Connected" story, Peacock documents her journey as she enrolls in a specialized 12-week sexual trauma program called Renew at Long Beach Veterans Affairs.  Learn More*


Michelle Howard Becomes Navy's First Female Four Star Admiral

The U.S. Navy has promoted Vice Adm. Michelle Howard to admiral, making her the first female four-star officer in the Navy's 236-year-history, the White House said Tuesday.

Howard, who was the first African-American woman to command a Navy ship, will become vice chief of naval operations, according to her online Navy biography.

"Her historic career is taking a next step today," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.  Learn More*


Years Home, Connecticut Women Iraq Veterans Endure Wounds of War

It’s been nine years since Eunice Ramirez served in Iraq, but she still suffers from war wounds — post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, respiratory problems and frequent crying triggered by her memories.

Suzanna Smaldone, who also returned home from Iraq in 2005, lives in constant pain and can’t bring herself to talk about her war injuries.  Learn More*


Empowering Military Women When They Return Home

Video Clip: Veterans who started their own businesses after struggling to find work weigh in.  Learn More*


VA Dedicates New Women's Clinic at Togus

Maine has more than 10,000 women who are military veterans, and they finally have a special clinic at the Togus VA hospital. The clinic was made official today, as veteran Ruby Gilmore –who served just after the Korean War – joined U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Mike Michaud to cut the ribbon.  Learn More*


Remember the Women Veterans

This is Army Week, the 239th anniversary of the Army's founding, and it offers an opportunity to recognize the extraordinary service of female veterans such as myself 2.2 million and counting and the unique challenges we face on active duty and after we leave the service. Women in the military services once were limited to support roles and not assigned to front line combat.

But while most women in uniform still occupy support roles — such as critically important jobs in aircraft maintenance, logistics and communications — the fact is that in modern wars like ours in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are no front lines. I am one of many female veterans who have been wounded in firefights and have returned home with physical and psychological injuries. There is nothing unusual about women in combat anymore.  Learn More*

 


 

Green Fields: Women Veterans Can Learn About Farming

Iowa female veterans interested in farming can socialize with other vets, learn about programs that will help them overcome challenges and catch a screening of Terra Firma, a one-hour documentary featuring three female veterans who are now farming.

The Women, Food and Agriculture Network events are free and begin at 6 p.m. The events will be Tuesday at Easter Seals Iowa Camp Sunnyside, 401 N.E. 66th Ave., Des Moines and Wednesday at Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 50 Second Ave. Bridge, Cedar Rapids. Sonia Kendrick, a Cedar Rapids resident and one of the vets featured in the documentary, will be present at Wednesday’s event.  Learn More*


A Force Multiplier for Women Veterans

Local female military veterans will find a venue to air their concerns in September at a retreat geared specifically to their needs.

The retreat will be the first of its kind in Southwest Florida, organizers say, and the planning committee's military consultant Georgie Alfano hopes that it will not be the last.

Co-organized by the Sarasota County Veteran's Commission and nonprofit Professionals Assisting Military, Family, and Friends, the event will be a community effort.

Alfano first noticed a discrepancy in the way male and female veterans were treated when she began bringing her long-time boyfriend to events.

“People would shake his hand and not mine,” Alfano said with disbelief. “At first, I didn't say a word, but after too many times, I would tell them, 'I'm the veteran, he never served.' ”  Learn More*


Veteran Sings Tribute to Women Veterans

I was raised in the small town of Gordon, Texas. I joined the Air Force when I was 17, and went to basic training two weeks after graduating from high school. I started out in law enforcement, but due to a shoulder injury in tech school, I had to cross-train into transportation.

My first duty station was Castle Air Force Base, California, nestled in the beautiful San Joaquin Valley. While at Castle, I served as the fleet analyst, and upon reenlistment, cross-trained into training management. I managed training for the 328th and 34th Bomb Squadrons. I loved seeing those big, beautiful, magnificent bombers take off and return.

As a training manager, I was not in a deployable position, but provided support at the base level. I lost friends in Desert Storm and did what I could to welcome others back home and provide support to the families left behind. While stationed at Castle, I started my little family with two children – a girl and a boy. This gave me such an appreciation and admiration for those who have had to leave their family behind.  Learn More


Coordinator at the VA Talks About Veteran Services

Joy Finkelson, Military Sexual Trauma coordinator from the St. Cloud VA Health Care System, spoke at a recent Downtown Kiwanis Club meeting about the services offered for military personnel who were victims of sexual trauma and about the Clothesline Project.

Finkelson said that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 100 men have reported they were the victims of military sexual trauma. She said sexual assault in the military is more likely to result in symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder than most other types of trauma. The VA offers free treatment for military sexual trauma-related mental and health conditions. Learn More*


Defending the Honor of Women in the Military

Women make up 8% of U.S. veterans, a number that is expected to double by 2035. Nyack’s Anngela Vasser-Cooper is leading the charge to secure recognition and services for local women veterans. As part of that mission, Vasser-Cooper will mobilize a group from Hudson Valley to the Women in Military Service Memorial in Washington, DC on June 19.

You might be surprised by what the former medical social worker for the Veteran’s Administration thinks about the resignation of Veteran’s Secretary General Eric Shinseki. You will be shocked to learn the cause of one of the most devastating and recurring wounds suffered by women who serve our nation in uniform and the culprits inflicting that injury. Learn More*


York City Legislator Wants Study for Women Veterans

As a Veterans Affairs scandal plays out nationwide, a local lawmaker is among a group that wants to form a task force to study the health care issues unique to women veterans. While soldier health care is the purview of the federal government, Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York City, said the state Legislature could work with national legislators to further the findings of the study.

Schreiber plans to introduce a resolution — a counterpart to a Senate resolution — to create a group and issue a report by Nov. 30 on quality and access to health care.

The legislation was one of several initiatives unveiled Tuesday at the Capitol by the legislature's bipartisan Women's Health Caucus. The group announced its first phase of legislation last year, with Tuesday's attention locked on seven new measures that caucus co-chairman Rep. Dan Frankel, D-Allegheny, said focus on the goal of putting women's concerns before politics.Learn More*


HealthPOWER! Prevention News Spring 2014 Success Story Alice Sarmento

"A few years back, I'd lost a lot of weight by walking in a pool and eating right. More recently, I'd again lost some weight...'til I got sick and regained it while taking prednisone. I'd been having ongoing health problems and was on antibiotics and steroids, with no improvement. I went in to see Dr. Kimmel at the VA Sierra Nevada HCS at one point and was literally crying that I couldn't take it anymore—I was very frustrated. Later one morning, I got out of the shower and really looked at myself. I thought, 'this is it!'"

Shortly after the visit with Dr. Kimmel, I got my first call from my TLC Coach Rebecca, who said I'd been referred to the program. I started TLC in March 2012, and chose eating wisely and striving for a healthy weight as my Healthy Living goals.

The MOVE!® and TLC books worked for me because it was very helpful to have the materials there to refer to. Even though I've finished TLC, I still look at the books. Learn More

Veterans Talk About Women in Combat

In 2013 women became eligible for the same combat opportunities as men in the armed services. President Obama has advocated vigorously for women in combat, and the goal is for the Armed Services to fully integrate women into all spheres by January 1, 2016.

Recently the Veterans Office and Women's Center at Georgetown University co-sponsored a panel discussion on women in combat, which I had the honor to moderate. The panelists were Karen Courington, a former Air Force pilot who currently serves as an adviser to Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia on national security issues; Sasha-Maria Martin, a former Army staff sergeant and member of the military police corps, who is completing graduate studies at Georgetown in global politics and security studies; Samantha Dugan, a Naval aviator who became the first Aviation Lead for the Navy's Office of Women's Policy; and Robert Egnell, a visiting professor in the Georgetown University Security Studies program and a captain in the Swedish Army reserves. Learn More*

Working Woman: Local Non-Profit Reaches Out to Homeless Women Veterans

Today, Jaspen Boothe – also known as Jas – is going through clothes that will go to female veterans trying to get back in the work force.

Boothe’s story begins in 2005, when she was about to be deployed to Iraq. In a devastating one-two punch, she lost everything in Hurricane Katrina, and then was diagnosed with cancer. She was medically discharged from the Army, and suddenly left homeless.

“It didn't seem fair," she said. "We've given just as much as our brothers and when we come back home and need that support, Americans should be just as willing to give us that support.”

Boothe was shocked that while she felt male veterans has many services available to them, there were no programs for female vets with children. Learn More*

Champion of Change: Graciela Tiscareño-Sato

Daughter of Mexican immigrants, Graciela Tiscareño-Sato is CEO and Founder of Gracefully Global Group, LLC, which publishes award-winning, multicultural books and eBooks for K-college readers, showcasing positive contributions of highly-educated Latinos. She’s won four international book awards for Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them; recently released Good Night Captain Mama/Buenas Noches Capitán Mamá, the first bilingual children’s book about women serving in the military, was inspired by Graciela’s service as an Air Force KC-135 navigator and instructor. Learn More*

LCC Panel Discussion, Film Screening to Address Challenges of Women Veterans

A panel discussion and a documentary screening “When Women Come Marching Home” at Lower Columbia College aims to raise awareness of women returning from combat.

“A lot of times, people don’t really recognize women veterans as veterans,” said Bryan Bales, LCC’s veterans coordinator. “A lot of the events that are done are more focused on men. You’ll see pictures of male veterans, you do a panel and it’s male veterans. Women veterans don’t get that recognition. We wanted to do something about that.” Learn More*

Job Fair for Women Veterans Planned for May 16

The Women’s Advisory Board for Oakland County will hold a free Women Veterans Job and Networking Fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, May 16, at Oakland Community College’s Auburn Hills Campus.Learn More*

Champion of Change: Deborah Scott Thomas

Deborah Scott Thomas retired as a Colonel from the United States Air Force Reserve in 2006, having served her country for three decades. She is the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Data Solutions and Technology (DST) Incorporated, a management consulting firm located in Lanham, Maryland. For the past 20 years, Deborah has been respected for her business acumen and is considered a thought leader with expertise in building successful client teams while focusing on strategic operations and execution. She dedicates her time to educational and philanthropic causes, particularly Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) initiatives. Learn More*

Helping Employers Connect to Job Seeking Service Members, Veterans and Their Families

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden joined the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell on Wednesday at a comprehensive Veterans Jobs Summit and Career Forum.

The First Lady and Dr. Biden's message was clear: our commitment to our service members and their families does not end when their service does, which is why they launched Joining Forces three years ago this month.

Since then, companies who have made commitments to Joining Forces have hired over half a million (540,000) veterans and military spouses. Commitments from America’s biggest firms like UPS, who announced a doubling of their commitment to 50,000 new hires and Xerox who will has committed to hire 10,000 veterans and spouses over the next five years. Learn More*

Champion of Change: Coral Wong Pietsch

Coral Wong Pietsch serves as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and has had a lifetime of distinguished public service at the state, national and international levels. She began her public service when she joined the military and served on active duty in the United States Army as a Judge Advocate. Later, she continued her service in the U.S. Army Reserve and rose to the rank of Brigadier General, becoming the first woman in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps to be promoted to general officer and the first woman of Asian ancestry to be promoted to general officer in the Army. Learn More*

Champion of Change: Dana Niemela

Dana Louise Niemela, MSW, is a veteran of the United States Navy and the Coordinator of the Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP) for the Denver Department of Human Services. As the HVRP Coordinator, Dana has worked to create a substantial supportive services network throughout the Metro Denver Region to meet the needs of the hundreds of homeless veterans her program has served throughout her tenure. She has leveraged her relationships with community partners that include federal, state, and local governments, non-profit organizations and the private sector to increase employment opportunities, increase both access to funding and funding for behavioral health programs serving the military and veteran community, and provide veterans of all eras and socio-economic backgrounds access to community and service opportunities. Learn More*

Study to Help Women Vets Coping with MST

VA to launch study of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction this year to determine if it can help relieve symptoms of PTSD in women vets who have experienced military sexual trauma. Learn More 

N.C. Governor Announces Women Veterans' Day

At an event focused on helping female veterans connect with any services and organizations they might need, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory made several major announcements.

He told the audience attending the Inaugural Women Veterans Summit and Expo at the National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters that his proposed budget will include $1.8 million to make sure that all returning military members can pay in-state tuition prices for North Carolina community colleges, even if they're originally from out of state.

The governor also signed a proclamation declaring Thursday to be the first Women Veterans' Day in North Carolina. Learn More* 

The Wars' Toll on Women Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans

Female veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan have returned from war facing heightened family and emotional strains compared with their male counterparts. A report by The Washington Post’s Stephanie McCrummen about of a military sexual assault case highlights one of the unique challenges facing some female military service members, including family problems and worsened emotional health due to war.

Nearly a quarter of women who served in Iraq or Afghanistan reported a sexual assault, according to a study from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Female veterans have mixed views of whether the military is or is not doing enough to prevent sexual assault, by 50 to 48 percent. Men on the other hand, are more apt to say enough is being done by a 55 to 40 percent margin, according to a poll of Iraq and Afghanistan military service members conducted by The Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Learn More* 

Women Veterans Embrace Alternative Therapies

Warm and friendly Amy Todisco of Waitsfield brought an abundance of energy to her free workshop about Pathways for Veterans Organic Farming and Healing pilot program happening at Hartshorn Farm this summer.

This workshop session was one of many held at the Women Veterans Wellness Retreat at the VA Burlington Lakeside Clinic Saturday. Yoga, massages, advice on spine health, exercise classes, and more were taught by a host of volunteer community practitioners.  Learn More* 

Champion of Change: Sonia Jo Kendrick

Sonia Kendrick was sent to to war in Afghanistan in 2003. There she experienced first hand what food insecurity looks like. She was surprised to come home to America and find that her state of Iowa had 400,000 food insecure people and that we import over 90% of our food. Sonia Kendrick earned a degree in Agronomy and is currently in progress on a master’s degree of sustainable food systems. She sits on her county's food systems council, is a Sister of the Planet for Oxfam, helped found Iowa’s Women’s Veteran Farmer Coalition, founded Feed Iowa First, through which she has grown thousands of pounds of vegetables that she has donated to food banks and Meals on Wheels, and, most importantly, is the single mother of two girls. Learn More*

Trailblazing Female Veterans from WWII, Korea Honored

Kathy Zima-Sauer said she got in touch with 35 women veterans who lived in the Topeka, Lawrence, Junction City and Emporia areas and invited them to the "Celebrating Women of Character, Courage and Commitment: Women in Service from the Revolutionary War to Today" event.

Of the 35 who were invited, nine were able to attend the March 28th program, which featured a presentation on women in combat from the Revolutionary War to today; an address by Melissa Jarboe, founder of the Topeka-based Military Veteran Project; and a panel discussion featuring women who served in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Zima-Sauer said the program was the first such event in Topeka that honored women who served in World War II and the Korean War. She said she was delighted at the turnout and the chance to “show our appreciation and gratitude” to the women.

During World War II and the Korean War, women served in a variety of capacities — from nurses to secretaries — in the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy. Some served in the United States while others were sent abroad.

“They were trailblazers,” Zima-Sauer said of the women following the program. “You can tell they are all still spunky. They have that can-do attitude.”  Learn More* 

Champion of Change:  Ellen Houlihan

Ellen Houlihan, is Vice-Chair, Board of Directors, West Point Association of Graduates (WPAOG). Ellen is the first West Point woman graduate to be elected to a senior leadership role of the 50,000 West Point graduate members. Her service includes leadership of the overhaul of WPAOG Bylaws and governance model, unchanged since the Civil War. The overhaul provides efficient and effective operational transparency of the Board of Directors and management staff. Learn More

Champion of Change:  Mary Johanna Forbes

COL (Retired) Mary Forbes graduated from the U.S. Military Academy in 1983, the U.S. Army War College in 2006, and served on active duty with the U.S. Army and the Washington Army National Guard for over 26 years. As the Assistant Director for Veterans Services for the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, Forbes champions the federal and state initiatives to end veteran homelessness. Her efforts have resulted in communities greatly expanding their capacity to serve homeless veterans and significantly reduced the number of homeless veterans in the state over the last 4 years. Learn More

Champion of Change: Martha Daniel

Martha Daniel’s 35 years career in Information Technology began during her time as a Cryptologist in the U.S. Navy and has spanned both corporate and government sectors. In 1992, she founded Information Management Resources, Inc. (IMRI), to provide technical support for the financial industry. Today, IMRI delivers comprehensive technical and engineering support services specializing in cyber security, data center operations and consolidations, program management, and telecommunications for the federal government and civilian agencies as well as the private sector. Learn More

Washington, DC VAMC Opens Women's Clinic

VA Leadership and representatives were joined by city and state officials, Veterans, service organizations and community partners to cut the ceremonial ribbon marking the opening of the newly constructed Women's Health Clinic.  Learn More

Champion of Change: Erica Borggren

A Rhodes Scholar and West Point graduate, Erica Borggren currently serves as the Director of the Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA). There, she spearheaded the creation of Illinois Joining Forces (IJF), a statewide public-private network of nearly 200 organizations working together to better serve service members, veterans, and their families; a nationally awarded program, IJF serves to create a collaborative, “no wrong door” system of military and veteran support.  Learn More

VA Loma Linda Healthcare System:  A Mile in Her Boots™

VA Loma Linda Healthcare System:  A Mile in her Boots™ project will be displayed through the month of March 2014 and will be used in the future as a mobile art project to bring awareness and recognition of women Veterans honorable service (we do acknowledge and thank Volunteers of America Michigan for the inspiration because of its A MILE IN HER BOOTS™ program).  Learn More*

White House Honors Women Veterans

On Tuesday, March 25, at 10:00 a.m. EST, the White House will celebrate Women’s History Month by honoring 10 local leaders who are “Women Veteran Leader Champions of Change.” The event will honor women Veteran industry leaders, highlighting their contributions to our nation’s business, public and community service sectors.

You can join the White House, VA leadership, the Women’s Health Service, and the Center for Women Veterans in celebrating these extraordinary women by watching this event live online at www.whitehouse.gov/live.* The event will be moderated by Assistant Secretary of VA Gina S. Farrisee and Elisa Basnight, Director of the VA Center for Women Veterans.

The Champions of Change program was created as an opportunity for the White House to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower and inspire members of their communities. To learn more about the White House Champions of Change program or to nominate a Champion, visit www.whitehouse.gov/champions.*

Women's History Month: Honoring Our Nation's Women Veterans

March is Women’s History Month, and organizations across the country are celebrating the accomplishments of women throughout American history. Women Veterans are among the greatest contributors to that history, having served in every conflict since the American Revolution. This Huffington Post article honors the history of women Veterans and addresses some of the social and health issues they face in the present day. Read More » *

Jacksonville Honors Women Veterans with a Week of Festivities

Mayor Alvin Brown says the city of Jacksonville will honor its women in uniform. The mayor, along with the Northeast Florida Women Veterans Association, proclaimed this week (March 17 -23) as Women Veterans Recognition Week. Learn More

VA and Women Veterans: Fielding a Full Team

Editor’s note: This was originally posted on the White House Blog. On March 11, 2009, President Obama established the inter-agency White House Council on Women and Girls to ensure the programs and policies of the federal government are being crafted and implemented with the well-being of our women and girls at the forefront of our thinking and priorities. This post is part of a month-long series highlighting government-wide progress toward that goal. Read more posts here.*

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama declared, “We are stronger when America fields a full team.” As we move to leverage the power of a fully represented “Team America,” VA is advancing the cause of our 2.2 million women veterans.

Women veterans are one of the fastest-growing populations of veterans. Now 10 percent, by 2020, they will constitute more than 12 percent of all veterans.

America depends on the traits veterans embody — dependability, resourcefulness, diligence, a team focus, and a can-do attitude – to make good on the President’s efforts to re-energize our economy. After serving our country in uniform, women veterans go on to serve our communities and our workplaces as a positive force for America’s strong and growing middle class. Read More »


VA Reaches Out to Women Veterans

Bedford VA is trying to eliminate the “this is your grandfather's VA" perception by implementing new and innovative programs and activities, including some that specifically serve women. Bedford VA has a dedicated women's clinic provides primary care as well as gynecological, mental health and rehabilitation services. A lunch series gathers female veterans to discuss issues including positive recovery and self-esteem. Learn more here.*


 

Center for Women Veterans Opens in Old City

To better serve the growing number of women Veterans, officials opened Philadelphia's first Women Veterans Center. The new center already has 200 women enrolled in programs including health and wellness, credit counseling, networking, employment counseling, parenting after combat, yoga, and home ownership. The new facility represents a place of opportunity and support for women Veterans by providing private and dedicated space for gender-specific services. Learn more here*.

Mini-Residency Program Marks Marks Fifth Year of Training

This fall marked the fifth year of the successful mini-residency program sponsored by Women’s Health Services (WHS) and Veterans Health Administration’s Simulation Learning Education and Research Network (SimLEARN). Developed by women Veterans health clinical experts, the mini-residency program for primary care providers continues to further VHA’s progress in reaching VA’s goal of implementing comprehensive primary care for women at all VA sites, and over 1850 providers have been trained to date. “We launched these mini-residencies in 2008 as a way to proactively prepare our providers for the record influx of women Veterans,” said Patricia Hayes, Chief Consultant, Women’s Health Services. “I am thrilled that we have trained so many providers and see this as a major step towards having every woman Veteran who comes to VA seen by a provider who is both interested and proficient in women’s health care.” Read more here.

Watch SERVICE: When Women Come Marching Home

For the month of November, the documentary film SERVICE: When Women Come Marching Home will be available to stream here.*† The documentary highlights the special challenges of disabled women Veterans as they transition from active duty to civilian life, putting a spotlight on the largest growing group of Veterans today. To learn more about the film, click here.*†

Vietnam Nurses Discuss Service

Nurses who served in the 67th Evacuation Hospital in Vietnam reunited for a local news station to discuss their service in Vietnam and how it changed their lives. This short video clip sees them relive the honor of service, and what it means for them today. The video is available here*†.

A Tribute to Women Soldiers

On November 7th in Fort Lee, Virginia, the Army unveiled the first statue on an Army base that celebrates women soldiers and their service. As former 2nd Lt. Sonja Reiss, who was a member of the first integrated Women’s Army Corps class at Fort Lee in 1950, said “This is well-deserved recognition.” Read more here*†.

Columbus Ohio Nearly Doubles VA Women’s Clinic Size

The Columbus Ohio VA Medical Center nearly doubled the size of their women’s clinic. As Associate Director of VA’s Center for Women Veterans Betty Moseley-Brown pointed out, this expanded facility should attract even more than the 2,000 women Veterans who currently utilize the clinic. Read more here*†.

Women Vets: A Battle All Their Own

In this recent Parade feature*†, two women Veterans discuss the changing face of the military and their experience serving and returning to civilian life. Women Health Services’ own Deputy Chief Consultant for Clinical Operations and Director of Comprehensive Women’s Health, Dr. Sally Haskell, stresses the focus VA is putting on culture change through increased professional training to automatic screening for military sexual trauma. “We are very much trying to improve the language, practice, and culture of the VA to make it more welcoming,” Haskell says. Read more here*†.
Pink Out Raises Awareness for Breast Cancer

Pink Out Raises Awareness for Breast Cancer

Challenged by the Tuscaloosa VAMC to the fourth annual Pink Out, VAMC staff across the country wore pink for a day to raise breast cancer awareness for our women Veterans. Over a hundred photos were sent in commemorating the event, which you can find here. Martinsburg VAMC even made a time lapse video of their pink ribbon. Read more about the fourth annual Pink Out here.

Milwaukee VAMC Holds Breast Reconstruction Surgery Awareness Day

As the population of women Veterans grows, the number being treated for breast cancer continues to increase. In response, Milwaukee’s Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center is holding a reconstructive breast surgery awareness day to provide women Veterans with more information about the various breast reconstruction options VA offers. "We thought it was alarming that only 3 out of 10 women who go through mastectomies are told their options for reconstruction," said Sherry Wiesner, the nurse who is in charge of the plastic surgery clinic at Zablocki VAMC. "We're not trying to force anyone into breast reconstruction, but we're making them aware of their options." Read more here*†.

Kentucky VAMC Holds Open House for Women Vets

The Robley Rex VA Medical Center in Louisville, KY, is working to meet the unique needs of women Veterans through an open house aimed at publicizing the many VA resources available to women Veterans. The event, held September 14, showcased various VA benefits available to women Veterans, including those focused on maternity care and military sexual trauma, in the hopes that more women Veterans would take advantage of the resources available. Read more here*†.


Veterans sign a banner Monday at the new VA Women's Clinic in the G.V.

Women’s Clinic Opening in Jackson, MS

On August 26th, the G.V. “Sonny” Montgomery Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi, opened its Women’s Clinic. The clinic, which is dedicated to primary care and gender-specific health care for women Veterans, hopes to better serve the fast-growing women Veteran population. “It is our charge that every eligible female Veteran in Mississippi who wants to receive VA health care will have that opportunity,” said Joe Battle, director of the VA Medical Center. Read more here*†.


Air Force veteran Audrey May, 45 of Wilson, N.C. discusses pain she is having in her left leg after a recent surgery to Brenda Hall, LPN at the Durham VA hospital Wednesday June 6, 2012.

Female Vets Feeling Better About the VA

The article, “Female Vets Feeling Better About the VA”, won first place at the VA Communication Awards Program in the Media Relations category for highlighting the growing need and success of women Veterans’ clinics across the country. As Dr. David Weiner, who left private practice in order to join the Durham VA to help with women’s care, put it, “I don’t think the public knows what good care the patients are getting here.” Read the award-winning article about the evolution of women Veterans care here*†.


thumbnail image of VOAMI Employment Manager Heather Nystrom

Female Vets Decorate Combat Boots to Raise Awareness

Volunteers of America Michigan invites Veterans to decorate a pair of combat boots for the new “Her Boots” campaign. The traveling exhibit of combat boots brings awareness to the service of female Veterans while also promoting the second Stand Down for Female Veterans day on September 16 (click here)*†. As VOAMI Employment Manager Heather Nystrom said, “My military service has played a big role in defining who I am. When decorating my boots, it did not take long to decide what parts of my service I wanted to express.” Read more here*†.


thumbnail image of Dr. Erin Krebs, Minneapolis VA Women's Health Medical Director

VA awards record number of grants for women's health improvements

VA recently announced it would invest more than $2 million for facilities to run projects to enhance their Women's Health programs in areas including tele-health, emergency services, and staff education. Learn what the Minneapolis VA plans to do with its three grants in their ongoing effort to improve their women's health program.*† Read about Salt Lake City's plans to revamp*† its emergency room.

Native American women Vets take part in presidential inauguration

The first Native American color guard composed of all female Veterans took part in the 2013 presidential inauguration parade. They are just a few of the scores of women Veterans who've made history. Read more and watch the clip.*†Stay tuned for more on women Veterans who have helped shape history during Women's History Month in March.


thumbnail image of Baby Alicia's first birthday party

VA Salt Lake hosts birthday party for its first "VA baby"

The Salt Lake City VA recently held a 1st birthday party for Baby Alicia, the first baby born under VA Salt Lake’s maternity program last January. In the last year, 41 more babies have been born under the Salt Lake program. Read the story and see photos.*†


Denver program provides shelter, stability for homeless female Vets

A collaborative effort between HomeAid Colorado, VA and Volunteers of America continues to add homes for homeless female Veterans in Denver. Read more and watch the clip.*†

 

New Child Care Center, Women's Health Clinic unveiled in Washington State

VA Puget Sound recently cut ribbons for its new Women's Health Clinic and pilot child care center at its facility in American Lake (Tacoma), Washington. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, John E. Patrick, Interim Director of VA Puget Sound Health Care, and Dr. Patty Hayes, VA's national director of Women's Health Services celebrated both events. Learn more about Women's Health and child care services available at the American Lake VA.

New PSA lets women Veterans know they've come to "The Right Place"

thumbnail image for The Right Place PSAVA's latest PSA lets women Veterans know they've come to the right place when they choose VA health care. Listen*† to a recent interview on the topic with VA's national director of Women's Health, Dr. Patricia Hayes. Watch*† the video and learn more about VA's ongoing culture change campaign.


Veterans Day Celebrations Highlight Women; Female Vet Serves her Comrades

From Maine to Utah, Veterans Day events highlight women. Read*† about the Bay State's recent tribute, watch*† coverage of a celebration in Augusta, ME, and learn what Salt Lake City has planned to celebrate the contributions of women Veterans.

Meanwhile, one Florida female Vet is working on making a resource center for fellow women Veterans a reality. Read*† her story.

Baltimore VA Touts New Women's Clinic

The Baltimore VA has unveiled a new women's clinic for its growing population of female Veterans. Among other enhancements to better meet their needs, the hospital has added evening clinic hours and Saturday mammograms. Read*† the story.

Women's Memorial Celebrates 15th Anniversary

photo of women service members walking toward WIMSA

Female service members and women Veterans spanning generations gathered Saturday to celebrate the 15th Anniversary of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at the foot of Arlington National Cemetery. Read*† coverage from the Washington Post. A candlelight march and remembrance ceremony rounded out the day's events. See photos*† from the march.

Another woman Veteran making history is Stacy Pearsall, an OEF/OIF Bronze Star recipient and photographer behind the Veterans Portrait Project.*† She was recently profiled on VA's The American Veteran. Watch*† a report on Capital Insider.

Wisconsin Women Veterans Program Manager Earns Top VA Honor in Social Work

Gail Gunter Hunt, the Women Veterans Program Manager in Madison, Wisconsin received the Under Secretary for Health's Excellence in Social Work Leadership Award. "She inspires staff through the organization toward a vision of sensitive and competent care for women Veterans," VA's social work newsletter, Synergy, reports on p.13 here (3.74 MB, PDF). Read more*† from the University of Wisconsin School of Social Work.

White River Junction VA Opens Women's Clinic

The Southern Vermont facility opened its doors on October 1 and delivers comprehensive primary care, including mental health services, to women Veterans five days a week. Read and watch coverage from New England Cable News,*† and the White River Junction Valley News.*†

VA raises Breast Cancer Awareness

photo of breast cancer walkVA hospitals across the country participated in the annual pink out challenge in which employees wear pink and take photos in friendly contest to be the pinkest VA and raise breast cancer awareness. "Clinical staff are always very enthusiastic about participating in this event because it highlights attention on such an important healthcare issue for women Veterans," said one participant in New York. See photos from Tuscaloosa*† and Altoona.*† See the full Flickr gallery.*†

Women's Health Goes Red!

On Sept. 27, Women's Health staff joined other VA employees and women Veterans to raise awareness of heart disease, the #1 killer of women. The program featured fitness activities including Zumba® and other cardio classes, healthy cooking demonstrations, CPR instruction, informational exhibits about cardiovascular disease and ways to stay heart healthy, and more. This event supported VA's collaboration with the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women® movement to raise awareness of heart disease in women Veterans. See photos*† and read*† coverage of the event.

Leader of VA Women's Health Program Profiled for Advocacy, Achievements

Dr. Patricia Hayes, who leads VA's national Women's Health program office, was recently featured in the Washington Post as an "agent of change" for women Veterans. Read*† the story. Such change is evident in VA facilities around the country—the Hampton, Virginia facility has built a new women's clinic, which opens its doors to Veterans on October 1. Read*† coverage from the ribbon cutting ceremony.

WWII Female Army Veteran Turns 105

Alyce Dixon, a resident at the Washington, D.C. VA's Community Living Center, and World War II Veteran, recently celebrated her 105th birthday. Watch an interview*† and see photos.*†

VA Progress Evolving to Meet the Needs of Women Veterans

VA has made great progress transforming health care for women Veterans, Dr. Sally Haskell, the acting directory of comprehensive care for VA's national Women's Health program, recently told the American Legion's annual convention. "We feel like we've made tremendous progress," the Legion story quotes*† Dr. Haskell. "We know that we're not there yet—we acknowledge that. And we totally appreciate the work of The American Legion and other veterans service organizations that advocate for women veterans because we know there's a lot to do."

VA is Narrowing the Gender Gap in Health Care

According to two new VA reports, targeted efforts to improve health care for women Veterans are paying off. There's still more work to be done, but this is good news for women Veterans. Read the reports here.

Coverage of VA Efforts in Telemedicine, Women's Health Research

VA is increasingly using telemedicine to reach rural patients. Read*† a Salt Lake Tribune story, which highlights VA Salt Lake’s use of tele gynecology to care for women Veterans.

VA providers recently gathered in Palo Alto, California for a Women Veterans' Research Roundtable. Hosted by the Under Secretary of Health, Dr. Robert Petzel, the roundtable focused on how research interacts with clinical care. Learn more.

VA, American Heart Association Team to Fight Heart Disease in Women


photo of VA-AHA media roundtable

VA and the American Heart Association's Go Red For Women® movement are raising awareness of heart disease as the No. 1 killer of women and women Veterans through outreach. One tool available to women who have had experiences with heart disease is the Go Red Heart Match database. Women can visit the site*†, create a profile, indicate their military status and connect with others who have had similar experiences. Download a poster to help spread the word.
Learn more about the collaboration, or read coverage*† from the media kick-off event.

Director of VA's Women's Health Program Profiled for Career Achievements

Dr. Patricia Hayes, who leads VA's national Women's Health office, recently spoke with Federal News Radio about her work with VA: shaping the vision and policy direction for women Veterans, the changes under way across the system to better serve this rapidly growing population, the many efforts inside and outside VA to increase recognition of women Veterans, as well as her own nomination for a Service to America medal. Listen*† to the interview.

Northport VA Opens Pilot Childcare Program

VA staff and visitors at the Northport VA celebrated the opening of their new drop-off pilot childcare center, where patients can leave children during their VA appointments. The pilot program is VA's second; another site is up and running in Albany, with a third planned for the Puget Sound HCS in the coming months. Learn more about the Northport VA childcare center.

VA's Director of Women's Health is a Finalist for Career Achievement Award

Dr. Patricia Hayes, the Chief Consultant for VA's Women Veterans Health Care program, has been named a finalist for the prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal for Career Achievement. Dr. Hayes has spent the majority of her 29 years at VA advocating for women Veterans and improving the provision of VA health care services to them. The winners will be announced on September 13 at an awards event in Washington, DC.

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