Tag Archives: veterans

Worcester must honor those who served!

By Ron O’Clair

I was pleased to show my support for the item on the Worcester City Council Agenda for the 29th of March 2016 meeting to fund the restoration of the “Colored Citizens World War II Honor Roll Memorial” that had been taken down in 1959 after having been erected at Belmont and Clayton streets in 1943 by a grateful City of Worcester to honor those members of our community who gave their service to the nation during World War II.

The reason the memorial was taken down was it was in the path of the proposed I-290 Interstate Highway then being built through Worcester. It was a huge project, and there were a lot of land takings, building demolitions and street alterations made to accommodate putting an Interstate Highway through the heart of our city.

Many things were happening during that time of upheaval, and the project was not completed for quite some time from that starting date of 1959. In fact, they were still working on a section of it when the bridge under construction collapsed at College Square in April of 1968. My older brother Donald and I had walked under the bridge to go to the A & P Supermarket located at the Four Corners on Southbridge Street. We walked back under the bridge under construction going back to where our family was living on Caro Street … We had just turned onto College Hill when the bridge behind us came down. We narrowly escaped death.

Apparently, with all of the things happening during that time of upheaval, with the land takings of two public schools, three synagogues, numerous private homes and businesses being torn down and roads being dead-ended, the absence of the memorial to the “colored citizens” went somehow unnoticed and not restored upon completion of the Interstate Highway.

Somehow the City of Worcester never got around to putting the memorial back up in another spot, and no one raised a fuss about it.

As far as I have been able to determine the people who’s names were on that “colored citizens” memorial have not been added to any other monument erected since that one was removed and are not being honored at all today.

That I find highly unacceptable as a fellow Veteran and as a Patriot, as well as a City of Worcester booster. There was an outpouring of support from Veterans and Veterans’ groups at City Council meeting; vets showed up with representatives of all branches of service: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines … there might have even been a Coast Guardsman there as well. There were American Legion and Veteran of Foreign Wars members, Vietnam Veterans, all from the many different nationalities that make up the Veteran lexicon. There were Black, White, Latino, Asian and everything in between! I was pleased to see how much support this movement received! Many people, including me, spoke that night in favor of commissioning a replacement monument in Worcester as a memorial to those “colored citizens” of the City of Worcester who, through accident or design, were relegated to the past as forgotten heroes.

It was not just a “colored citizens” issue, it was a Veteran’s issue. It received an 11-0 vote from the city council in favor of rebuilding …

Thank you to all who participated, thank you to the Woecester City Council for passing the item and, most of all, thank you to those whose names graced the original memorial … for their service and sacrifice made on behalf of all who reside in the great melting pot of races that is the City of Worcester!

Please email Ronaldoclair@hotmail.com with any comments/criticisms.

Tonight! Be there! Worcester City Council meeting! 7 p.m. City Hall … Speak out to restore the memorial honoring our WW II veterans of color!

From the Worcester NAACP branch:


The VFW Post 312 is calling out to Veterans and community members to support their efforts in seeking the assistance from the City to replace the Colored Citizens of Worcester Honor Roll monument. 

Mr. Bonds will be speaking on behalf on the VFW Post 312 tonight March 29 before the Worcester City Council at 7 p.m.  Bill Coleman has petitioned the City Council on this matter recently.  

Thank You,



From James Bonds:


On Tuesday, March 29, at 7 p.m. I am appearing before the Worcester City Council  on behalf  of VFW Post 312 to gain the Council support on replacing the honor roll that was erected and dedicated in 1943 and placed on the ground at Belmont and Clayton streets.

The honor roll was moved in 1959 to make room for interstate highway 290. The names on that honor roll were World War II Soldiers (The greatest generation). 

I am asking for your support by coming to the Worcester City Council meeting [tonight]. Veterans please wear your cover. 

I thank you in advance for your support.

James Bonds


From ICT contributing writer Ron O’Clair:

Worcester St. Patrick’s Day Parade photo: Ron O’Clair

My thoughts on this subject

By Ron O’Clair

I understand that the powers that be back in 1959 had to move the Memorial to run I-290 through the area where it stood, even though Clayton Street is no longer there. But why did they not put it up somewhere else?

That is the question I have and will be voicing at Worcester City Hall tonight at the Worcester City Council meeting. I believe the inaction was/is a blatant sign of disrespect for our fallen heroes of color who deserved the honor they received by having the memorial built by a grateful City of Worcester in the first place.

Nothing irritates this former staff sergeant more than to have fellow soldiers, airmen or naval personnel shown such discourtesy whether by intention or by oversight.

This is an egregious violation that needs to be rectified immediately by special order of the present City Council seated now, of which its newest member Khrystian E. King happens to be a person of color. I was pleased to have had an opportunity this past November to ask my own 580 city council candidate supporters to vote for King in lieu of candidate Juan Gomez, as I feel that Khrystian E. King may be the new blood we need on the city council to move Worcester into the future.

I hope Worcester City Councilor King will be at the forefront of a drive to rectify this slap in the face to our deceased veterans of color. They have been ignored since 1959. I will be right there with him.

We should determine exactly what happened to the original monument and find if it is stored away somewhere in some area of the City of Worcester gathering dust. We should restore it to its original glory and find a spot to erect it with the proper ceremonial honors being paid to the event.

Failing locating the original structure, we should commission a new monument and perhaps use this as an opportunity to have our own Worcester artisans involved in its conception, design and construction.

This is something we all need to get behind. We need to work together to show that we have learned something through the summer’s Department of Justice talks on race relations, of which I was a participant.

Why no one brought this up long ago is also something I will be inquiring about at tonight’s Worcester City Council meeting.

I salute the memory of all the citizens whose names belong on the monument. I wish to see them properly remembered for their service and sacrifices to the cause of freedom and democracy during the second World War when America stood fast in the face of evil, united against the tyranny of oppression from the Axis powers of that era in history, only after having been surprise-attacked on 07 DEC 1941 on the day that lives on in infamy.


VHI Oct postcard front

You are invited to
Veteran Homestead’s

A fundraising event to
reclaim lives and revitalize futures for our veterans.

When: Sunday, 4 October

Where: Great Wolf Lodge

Time: 4 PM – 7 PM

Cash bar, complimentary hors d’oeuvres and silent auction

Please attend this inspirational early evening of cocktails,
hors d’oeuvres, music and silent auction.

All to help support Veteran Homestead’s effort to transition soldiers back to civilian life, so they can reclaim their lives and revitalize their futures!

$10 minimum donation at the door

For more information and to RSVP, please contact:
Cindy Correll

Proceeds from this event will benefit Veteran Homestead, Inc., an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in Central Massachusetts that has been providing housing and care to U.S. Armed Services Veterans since 1993 who are disabled from wars past and present.

Created by a veteran and staffed with experts who share the compassion and commitment to treat and accommodate wounded heroes in their transition to civilian life, Veteran Homestead, Inc., operates six unique programs located in Fitchburg, Leominster, and Gardner, Massachusetts, Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire, and Caguas, Puerto Rico.

For more information about Veteran Homestead, Inc., CLICK HERE 


Today! WPD on prostitution

Worcester City Hall, Main Street

Levi Lincoln Room

5:30 p.m.

Joint Meeting of the Advisory Committee on the Status of Women & the Human Rights Commission

Join us for a discussion with the Worcester Police Department on prostitution.


The Worcester Community Action Council is offering….


HiSET Classes (formerly known as GED)

Classes begin immediately!

484 Main Street, 2nd floor, Worcester

For more information, call 508-754-1176 x146 or 181



Worcester Community Housing Resources, Inc. announces it is accepting applications from Veterans, Active Duty Military and Gold Star Families for 2 Homeownership opportunities through its Project Homefront Initiative, a collaborative effort to recognize the significant contributions made by men and women in the armed services.

12B Beach Street in Millbury

31 Blithewood Avenue Unit 205 in Worcester

For more information or to apply, please contact Olivia Cepeda at 508-799-0322 or ocepeda@wchr.org   or visit www.wchr.org

Let’s not forget these military heroes this Veterans Day!


The late, great Sergeant Stubby

From the Wall Street Journal. – R.T.

Military Dogs Sniff Out IEDs, Save Lives

By Rebecca Frankel

As the desert air cooled and night fell, Staff Sgt. John Mariana looked down into the reassuring eyes of one of the most valuable comrades of his eight-month deployment to Afghanistan: Bronco, his military working dog.

To read entire story click here

Veterans should speak to their doctors about their risk for lung cancer

As we salute the men and women who served our nation on Veterans Day, the American Lung Association wants veterans and their loved ones to know that those who served have a higher incidence of lung cancer than the general population.  November is also Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and the message that veterans have an increased risk for acquiring this dreaded disease is an important one that’s too often overlooked in the stories we typically read about both veterans and about lung cancer.

It’s no secret that tobacco use in the military was once encouraged and that many who served developed a lifelong addiction.  Yet despite all that we now know about tobacco’s dangers, members of our military still smoke at rates that exceed the general population.  Add in the exposure to chemicals like asbestos, depleted uranium, smoke from burn pits and other harmful emissions, and this risk becomes even greater.

The Lung Association urges veterans to talk with their doctors about their risk for lung cancer.  We also encourage veterans who smoke or did smoke to visit lungcancerscreeningsaveslives.org, to see if lung cancer screening might be appropriate for them.
We are here for veterans, and all Americans, who need help quitting smoking.  It’s the most important thing a person can do to reduce his or her risk for lung cancer.  Learn more about how we can help you quit at quitterinyou.org.

Our Lung HelpLine, at 1-800-LUNG-USA (586-4872) is available 7 days a week to answer questions about lung health and provide reliable information about quitting smoking.  To learn even more about lung cancer, lung disease and how to best protect your lung health, visit our website at LungNE.org.  Working together, we can raise awareness about lung cancer, reduce its incidence and increase the number of survivors.

Jeff Seyler
President & CEO
American Lung Association of the Northeast


November is Hire a Vet month!


BOSTON – Building off record investments made by the Patrick Administration in Veterans Services, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) recently announced it has more than doubled cash grants available to employers hiring Massachusetts residents who have been unemployed for 6 months or more, or Massachusetts veterans (regardless of length of unemployment). Increased grant funding is available through the state’s Hiring Incentive Training Grant (HITG), a program of the Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund.

“This grant program is a valuable incentive for employers who want to boost their workforce but may need additional resources to add new hires,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein. “Through this program, we are supporting the long-term unemployed and veterans looking for work as we encourage companies to grow their business and workforce in Massachusetts.”

Any for-profit company and non-profit organization that contributes to the Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund, a state fund enacted in 1998, are encouraged to apply. Eligible employers may now apply for grants of $5,000 for each new hire who meets the Hiring Incentive Training Grant program requirements. Employers may receive up to $75,000 each calendar year. Upon approval, payment will be available to the employer once the new hire has retained employment for at least 120 days.

A copy of the Hiring Incentive Training Grant application, eligibility requirements, Frequently Asked Questions and other relevant materials are available at EOLWD’s website www.mass.gov/hiringgrant. Grant awards are subject to funding availability, and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Prior to October 2013, awarded eligible employers received no more than $2,000 per new hire, and no more than $30,000 per calendar year through the previous guidelines of the Hiring Incentive Training Grant. The increased grant funding through the Hiring Inventive Training Grant is one of many business resources promoted by the Patrick Administration to assist companies growing or expanding in Massachusetts.

The Hiring Incentive Training Grant is part of the Workforce Training Fund Program, managed by the Commonwealth Corporation, which provides resources for employers to better train Massachusetts workers. Recently, EOLWD announced approximately $2.8 million in Workforce Training Fund grants, totaling more than $15.6 million in grants awarded by the Patrick Administration since July 2012 to help train over 15,400 Massachusetts employees in the last year alone. The priorities of the Workforce Training Fund include projects, which will lead to increased job retention or job growth, increased wages, more productive and competitive companies, improved ability to do business in Massachusetts and commitments to increased private investment in training.

“The Workforce Training Fund has proven to be a remarkable resource to Massachusetts businesses looking to address their business needs,” said Nancy Snyder, President and CEO of Commonwealth Corporation. “We encourage all businesses, regardless of size, to contact us to learn more about the Workforce Training Fund and training grants that are available.”

Increased funding available through the Hiring Incentive Training Grant is another example of the Patrick Administration’s commitment to supporting Massachusetts veterans. The Administration is a leading provider for veteran services and continues to implement employment assistance and workforce training programs for veterans. In addition to providing priority service for veterans at each of the Department of Career Services’ One-Stop Career Centers, the Administration also launched an aggressive employment campaign focused on increasing the hiring of Massachusetts veterans. Among these initiatives, the Patrick Administration has partnered with major trade associations to encourage them to hire veterans, circulate information on veterans’ benefits and educate local employers about the skills service members gain the military.

Today’s announcement is more welcomed news within the veteran community, especially in advance of Veteran’s Day and the Patrick Administration’s annual “Hire a Vet Month” that will be celebrated throughout November.

“Employment is a critical component for a veteran’s successful transition back into civilian life,” said Secretary of Veterans Services Coleman Nee. “Massachusetts leads the nation in veterans’ services, and with this increased incentive we will continue to lead the way while maximizing both public and private sector resources to ensure we provide our veterans with the employment opportunities they have earned.”

To learn more about workforce training initiatives, visit www.mass.gov/lwd or for more details about the Hiring Incentive Training Grant visit www.mass.gov/hiringgrant.




Incentive grants awarded to five career centers to promote continued workforce training and hiring of veterans

BOSTON – The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development today announced that five of the state’s 32 One-Stop Career Centers have been honored for outstanding service to Massachusetts veterans.

Through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Jobs for Veterans State Grant Program, the Massachusetts Department of Career Services (DCS) annually awards incentive grants to recognize One-Stop Career Centers for their efforts in demonstrating improvement and modernization of employment, training and placement services for veterans; rewarding and celebrating excellence in priority of service; developing a library of best practice techniques; and improving performance outcomes for veterans.

“Veterans have proudly served our Commonwealth and country, gaining tremendous skills that can be applied in today’s workforce,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Joanne F. Goldstein. “Assisting veterans with workforce training and employment opportunities is an important initiative for the Patrick Administration as well as the Obama Administration. We thank the U.S. Department of Labor for continuing to help Massachusetts recognize leading Career Centers for their hard work and innovative programs in support of these brave men and women.”

“Massachusetts is the national leader in providing comprehensive veterans’ services for many reasons, but none more so than the strong collaborations we have made to maximize our resources and provide world-class, comprehensive benefits to our veterans and their families,” said Department of Veterans’ Services Secretary Coleman Nee. “Finding employment is an essential component to a successful transition for any veteran. The work of the Division of Career Services and the career centers is another great example of federal, state and local resources combining to ensure veterans succeed in that transition. I applaud the Secretary and her team and congratulate all recipients.”

At a recent Workforce Partners’ meeting including career centers, veterans’ agents and workforce investment boards, Secretary Goldstein and DCS Director Alice Sweeney recognized the outstanding efforts of the selected One-Stop Career Centers, acknowledging the substantial contribution, high quality service and dedication to improving employment opportunities for veterans and whose contributions involving veterans extend to the local community at large. Through the U.S. Department of Labor’s non-competitive Jobs for Veterans State Grants Program, the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) offers employment and training services to eligible veterans. Under this grant program, funds are allocated to State Workforce Agencies in direct proportion to the number of veterans seeking employment within their state.

The five recognized Career Centers for the 2013 Jobs for Veterans State Grant Incentive Award include:

Gold Award: $10,500

ValleyWorks Career Center, Lawrence and Haverhill

ValleyWorks Career Center currently boasts the highest veteran entered employment rate across the Commonwealth. ValleyWorks Career Center was also recently awarded a grant through the Walmart Foundation to “Close the Gap” in services for veterans, supporting occupational training for veterans who are ineligible to receive other state or federal job training. ValleyWorks Career Center, which emphasizes a strong partnership with local veteran organizations in the community, developed the Merrimack Valley Veterans Coalition. Staff also apply a holistic approach in serving veteran jobseekers, providing a Veteran Services Referral form to identify, connect, and track services to Veterans. Eric Nelson of Haverhill and Clifton “Bryhn” McLeod of Georgetown  are the Veteran Employment Representatives for ValleyWorks Career Center.


“The ValleyWorks Career Center staff is committed and dedicated to assist veterans by providing quality training and employment services that utilize their former skills to re-enter the workforce, earning a good wage with career ladders,” said Arthur Chilingirian, Executive Director of the ValleyWorks Career Center. “We prioritize our services to those men and women who selflessly served our country.”

Silver Award: $8,250

Franklin Hampshire Career Center, Northampton

Franklin Hampshire Career Center demonstrates effective collaboration and applies innovative resources to better serve the veteran community. As a 2012 Jobs for Veterans State Grant Incentive Award winner, Franklin Hampshire Career Center used a portion of its award to purchase flash drives for their veteran customers to facilitate storage for discharge documents, resumes, and other documents and pre-loaded the flash drives with Job Search tools and veteran specific support information, a best practice recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor. Gary Howe of Easthampton is the Veteran Employment Representative for Franklin Hampshire Career Center, and created user-friendly in-house outreach assessment forms for veterans to assist with service and case management.

“Gary Howe has been employed in the Franklin Hampshire Workforce system for over 20 years working as a job developer, youth programs coordinator and for the past 3 years as a Veterans Representative. He has excelled in all assignments,” said Michael Truckey, Executive Director of the Franklin Hampshire Career Center.

Bronze Award: $6,125

Career Source, Cambridge

Career Source promotes innovative programs to better serve the veteran community including the creation of a six-week pilot program to co-facilitate a veterans CONNECT group. CONNECT is a collaboration of six non-profits organizations, providing peer support, motivation and encouragement in one location to assists veterans to move into employment and a career path that will lead to self-sufficiency. By the end of the six week series of meetings, six of the eight participating veterans obtained employment and a seventh received an offer letter. With the success of this pilot, Career Source plans to continue the CONNECT group series two to three times a year. Dennis Pellegrino of North Andover is the Veteran Employment Specialist for Career Source.

“The job search strategies shared by the group facilitators were an important component of this project,” said Linda Rohrer, Executive Director of Career Source. “However, key to the effort of this success was the bond that formed among the veterans as they shared their stories and provided valuable support to each other.”

Upcoming Star Award: $2,563

Job Net, Boston

JobNet has demonstrated effective collaborations to assist veterans in obtaining their career goals. In May 2013, Job Net partnered with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Massachusetts Committee, the Red Sox Organization, and Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to hold a “Hiring our Heroes” veterans hiring event at Fenway Park that attracted over 480 veterans. Throughout the year, Job Net also arranged services from a local law firm to provide monthly pro-bono services to help Veterans with a CORI record to potentially seal those records and to lead to sustainable employment. Michael Falasca of Peabody is the Veteran Employment Specialist at Job Net.

“I believe that there is no greater service than that given by the men and women who put their lives on the line for their country,” said Rosemary Alexander, Executive Director of JobNet Career Center. “It is an honor and a privilege to serve those who have served. I firmly believe that it is only fitting that we should provide priority of service for our veterans utilizing the Career Centers. Our own veteran staff person at JobNet – Michael Falasca, DVOP – does an outstanding job of ensuring that veteran customers receive the highest quality career development services. We thank our veterans for their service.”

Upcoming Star: $2,563

The Greater New Bedford Career Center, New Bedford

The Greater New Bedford Career Center has made providing front-line services, including unemployment matters, for veterans a top priority. The Greater New Bedford Career Center was one the first Career Centers to utilize the work study program through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, providing veterans the opportunity to learn about workforce development while also attending school and receiving a stipend to supplement income. For example, a veteran participating in the work study program first worked at New Directions South Coast, a career center partnering agency, and recently obtained employment with the Commonwealth at the center. Paul Champagne of Rochester is the Veteran Employment Specialist at the Greater New Bedford Career Center.

“We provide an exceptional level of service to all our customers and we take pride in providing the highest level of service possible to all our veterans,” said Steven Martins, Operations Manager at the Greater New Bedford Career Center.

The Patrick Administration is a leading provider for veteran services and continues to implement employment assistance and workforce training programs for members of the armed forces, veterans and their spouses. Veterans receive priority service at each of DCS’s 32 One-Stop Career Centers around the Commonwealth. Each One-Stop Career Center has a staff member dedicated to assisting veterans. In the last fiscal year, DCS provided services to approximately 14,000 veterans in the Commonwealth. In 2011, the Administration launched an aggressive employment campaign focused on increasing the hiring of Massachusetts veterans. Among these initiatives, the Patrick Administration has partnered with major trade associations to encourage them to hire veterans, circulate information on veterans’ benefits and educate local employers about the skills service members gain the military.

To lead by example, Governor Deval Patrick called for the establishment of an Interagency Taskforce on Hiring Veterans within the Executive Branch. The Secretary of Administration and Finance charged the head of the Human Resources Division along with Taskforce members to take a critical look at the Executive Branch’s current policies, processes and practices on hiring veterans and completed a plan in 2012. In March of this year, the Governor signed an executive order to help small businesses owned by disabled veterans gain access to contracts for public projects in the areas of construction, design and goods and services procurement and also announced the establishment of guidelines to assist members of the armed forces, veterans and their spouses with professional licenses so that they can prepare and apply for job in the Commonwealth.

To learn more about services for Massachusetts veterans, visit www.mass.gov/veterans or about the Massachusetts Department of Career Services, visit http://www.mass.gov/lwd/employment-services/.




Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital celebrates Women’s History Month

Activities aimed to help Female Veterans learn more about the services available to them at Bedford VAMC

Bedford – Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital (Bedford VAMC) is hosting a Women’s Tea to celebrate Women’s History Month on March 28,  2 p.m.,  at Bedford VAMC’s Canteen Service Dining Room, located in building 78.

The event will feature a presentation by Air Force Captain Joyce Massello, Retired Reserves, a decorated Vietnam Veteran who served as a flight nurse.   Following Captain Massello’s presentation, there will be an opportunity to socialize and enjoy the displays highlighting women in history, including Edith Nourse Rogers.

The recent growth of female Veterans accessing VA health care has outpaced that of the male Veteran population. VA is stepping up to meet the needs of a growing women Veteran population by enhancing primary care to meet their needs. This is a major undertaking for VA.

“It’s all about personalizing care for our women Veterans so that everything we do supports a patient–centered approach benefiting the Veteran,” said Christine Croteau, acting director at Bedford VAMC. “We are pleased to showcase the services offered at Bedford and to partner with our patient population to provide the care that best meets their specific health care needs.”

The Women’s Tea serves as an important way to highlight female Veterans’ contributions to history, and more specifically, Edith Nourse Rogers, for whom the hospital is named. Bedford VAMC was the first VA hospital named after a woman. Edith Nourse Rogers was the first Congresswomen from New England and was dedicated to Veterans’ issues.  She introduced the unprecedented bill to establish the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1941. When the law passed in 1942, it opened up military service to thousands of women in countless occupations other than nursing.  Edith Nourse Rogers dedicated her life to Veterans’ issues for more than 40 years.  The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps was just one of her many accomplishments, which also included the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 (commonly known as the G.I. Bill) which provided educational and financial benefits for soldiers returning home from World War II.

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 www.newengland.va.gov and www.womenshealth.va.gov to learn more about VA programs and services for women Veterans.