News » Women’s Health Issues Supplement Showcases VA Women’s Health Research

Women’s Health Issues Supplement Showcases VA Women’s Health Research

A new Supplement of the peer-reviewed journal, Women’s Health Issues, a publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women’s Health at the GW School of Public Health and Health Services, shows the tremendous growth and diversity of VA women’s health research in recent years. The special Supplement was sponsored by the Health Services Research and Development Service, in the Department of Veterans Affairs (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 http://www.whijournal.com/supplements.   

Titled “Health and Health Care of Women Veterans and Women in the Military: Research Informing Evidence-based Practice and Policy,” the Supplement features commentaries by VA investigators examining the role, history, and future of women’s health research.  In the opening commentary of the Journal, guest editors Elizabeth M. Yano, Ph.D., and Susan M. Frayne, MD, discuss the heightened focus on health services research. The guest editors noted that within the first four years after the VA Office of Research and Development established its women’s health agenda, more articles on this topic have been published than in the previous 25 years combined. 

The Supplement 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 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 injury. 

Susan F. Wood, PhD, Director of the Jacobs Institute, stated, “These papers illustrate both the breadth and depth of the health concerns of women veterans.  They also demonstrate the critical role of the research needed to fill the gaps and to address these concerns.”

In her Editor’s Note introducing the Supplement, Women’s Health Issues Editor-in-Chief Anne Rossier Markus, JD, PhD, MHS, wrote, “According to analyses published in this Supplement, today, one in five new recruits is a woman, 15% of active military personnel are women, and women have become the fastest growing group of veterans who are new users of the VA health care system. This shift in the VA user demographics should not be underestimated, because it has important implications for the VA’s ability and capacity to accommodate women’s needs in all aspects of life, whether they are working or retired, suffer from chronic conditions that often are the direct result of their service in theaters of war, or have routine medical needs, all of which require tailored services and programs.  The VA, often cited as the U.S. model of a government-funded, government-run health care system, has also made great strides in transforming its ways of delivering care and in investing in monitoring and evaluation, including research that focuses on women’s health.”