Improving health care for women veterans‏

 Bedford – VA New England Healthcare System (VISN 1) has received a grant for Women’s Health Primary Care Nurse Mini-Residency, one of 32 projects funded nationally by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The $21,000 grant will provide for two inter-professional women’s health mini-residency training programs for primary care providers and nurses utilizing simulation equipment and live models to practice skills necessary for caring for female patients. The mini-residencies will be conducted in April and June 2013. Some of the topics which will be covered are contraception, cervical cancer screenings, sexually transmitted infections, abnormal uterine bleeding, menopause, gynecologic emergencies, interpersonal violence, military sexual trauma, breast and pelvic exams, and cardiac disease in women.

 “Our goal is 100 percent accessibility for women Veterans who need us,” said Michael F. Mayo-Smith, MD, Network Director, VISN 1. “This new project will improve access and quality of critical health care services for women.”

VHA’s national Women’s Health Program Office and Office of Rural Health jointly selected the winning proposals for projects that will improve emergency health care services for women Veterans, expand women’s health education programs for VA staff, or offer telehealth programs to female Veterans in rural areas.

This is the largest number of one-year grants VA has ever awarded for enhancing women’s health services.

The grant program is part of VA’s continued effort to improve access and quality of care for the increasing number of women Veterans seeking care at VA.

“We are committed to providing individualized, sensitive care to women Veterans,” said Cindy Williams LICSW, women’s health program manager, VISN 1. “This grant-funded project enables us to continue to enhance care for women and exceed patient expectations.”

Women serve in every branch of the military, representing 15 percent of today’s active duty military and nearly 18 percent of National Guard and Reserve forces.  By 2020, VA estimates women Veterans will constitute 10 percent of the Veteran population. Over 20,600 Women Veterans received care in VISN 1 in fiscal year 2012, which is up from 7,700 ten years ago.  VISN 1 pays special attention to providing quality, comprehensive health care, including more accessible and flexible clinic hours for working women who may have childcare or eldercare responsibilities and difficulty getting time off for appointments. VISN 1 provides tele-health for users in rural areas, maternity care coordination, assistance in finding housing for homeless women and their children, and initiatives to ensure patient privacy.

Visit and to learn more about VA programs and services for women Veterans.

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