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Women Veterans Health Care

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Resources for Non-VA Providers, Medical Students

The number of Women Veterans is on the rise and the number of women Veterans using VA Health Care is growing in turn—doubling since 2000 and projected to double again, soon.

However, approximately 83% of women Veterans get their health care outside of VA, at academic centers and private community practices. It is critical that non-VA providers, as well as medical students, understand the unique needs of women Veterans in order to deliver better health care.

VA has an office dedicated to working with academic programs, but below are links to information that can help non-VA providers identify, understand and treat women Veterans, and refer them to appropriate resources.

What Should Providers Do?

  • Women don't always identify themselves as Veterans.
    Ask patients: "have you served in the military?"
  • Take a military history to learn about their experience.
  • Refer them appropriately by connecting them with the closest VA.

Common Issues for Women Veterans

Understanding a woman's military experience is vital to understanding her health. Women are on the front lines, serving alongside men in many of the same capacities. They may have lifelong effects from conditions of their deployments or exposure to combat or military sexual trauma (MST), like their male counterparts. Some common issues for women Veterans seen at VA are:

  • Musculoskeletal conditions such as back and joint pain
  • Mental Health conditions such as depression, PTSD, and anxiety disorders
  • Hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol
  • MST—1 in 5 women seen by VA

Specific Exposures by Era of Service

Women Veterans have also experienced unique health risks by era. Learn more about specific exposures on VA's Public Health Web site.


Other VA Benefits and Services for Women

Beyond health care, VA has a range of benefits for women Veterans, including education and job training. VA also offers supportive services for homelessness, mental health issues and readjustment.

Learn more about VA research initiatives aimed at understanding the effects of military service on women's lives.