Throughout the history of our country there have been women who served this Nation. Most notably in recent decades, when their contributions were more visible. But the service of women has only recently begun to be recognized for the value it has. Countless women have lost their lives in wars and conflicts while attempting to support our soldiers, transport troops, and save lives.
It is time that their honor, courage, and humanity, is recognized and that this nation begins to help them realize their value. It is time that we said "thank you ladies....and Welcome Home".
I wonder how many people really know about the women prisoners of war, in WWII? Some were civilian families of soldiers, some were Nuns, and some were military women. All of them suffered torture and starvation, and most of them survived through their own wit, strength of character, and tenacity.
They confounded the Japanese every day. The Japanese soldiers and officers could not believe that these "mere" women could have the strength and heart that these women had. In the end, these women beat their captors, because by the time they were forced to let them go, they had no choice but to respect these women. Our own country did not recognize their sacrifice until many many years later. And even then, they were not awarded the same status as their male counterparts.
Women trained as pilots in WWII and flew bombers and transport plans from factories to Air Bases so that men could be freed to be useful elsewhere. There were dangers, and several of these women died. If not for them, many bombers would not have been available when needed.
During the Korean "conflict", in the years of 1949 through 1953, women served as nurses and support personnel by the thousands. A new concept called "MASH" units had become widely used and they were full of female personnel.
There are a number of incidents in which women risked their own lives and safety in order to save the lives of wounded soldiers. They literally threw their own bodies on top of the wounded, to save them from further harm whenever the fighting came too close, often dying or being wounded themselves in the bargain. But they were never honored in the same way a man would have been. They call Korea the "Forgotten War" because our troops were virtually ignored upon their return home. It was as though nothing had happened. But it did, and it happened to them.
During the years of the Vietnam war, women showed strength, courage and honor beyond even their own belief. There were women who rode the "huey's" with the men to make wounded pick-ups in the field; women who risked their lives protecting wounded soldiers in the triage stations and field hospitals; women in Cities and field offices "in-country"; women who had to kill or be killed. It was a time that 2 generations will never forget. Nor should they, in some ways. No one had the homecoming that was afforded our men and women in WWII. In fact, they were mostly worse than unwelcome, and they have lived with the fallout ever since. Like their male counterparts, military women from this era have been suffering, when in fact they should have been able to be proud of their service to this country.
There are literally thousands of stories about the valor of our women in the military. Sadly, they are not as widely read as they should be. I hope that we can provide links to some of these stories of heroism, and also, links to things that may help or be of interest to all of us.
Women served in the United States Military as early as the Revolutionary War. Since then, women of all ages, ranks, and levels of authority have entered every branch of service, made significant contributions, and suffered the same sacrifices as men. As a woman with military service, you may qualify for a wide range of benefits offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Women Veterans may be eligible for a wide-variety of benefits available to all U.S. military Veterans. VA benefits include disability compensation, pension,education and training, health care, home loans, insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment, and burial. See our Veterans page for an overview of the benefits available to all Veterans.
The following sections provide information about VA benefits and programs specifically for Women Veterans.
VA Benefits and Programs for Women Veterans
Center for Women Veterans
VA's Center for Women Veterans monitors and coordinates VA's administration of benefit services and programs for women Veterans. The Center advocates for a cultural transformation that recognizes the service and contributions of women Veterans and women in the military, and also raises awareness of the responsibility to treat women Veterans with dignity and respect.
Learn more about the Center for Women Veterans.
Women Veteran Coordinators
There are Women Veteran Coordinator (WVCs) located in every regional office who function as the primary contact for women Veterans. WVCs provide specific information and comprehensive assistance to women Veterans, their dependents, and beneficiaries concerning VA benefits and related non-VA benefits. They may assist you in the claims intake, development, and processing of military sexual and personal trauma claims.
VA Health Care for Women Veterans
At each VA medical center nationwide, a Women Veterans Program Manager (WVPM) is designated to advise and advocate for women Veterans. The WVPM can help coordinate all the services you may need, from primary care to specialized care for chronic conditions or reproductive health. Woman Veterans who are interested in receiving care at VA should contact the nearest VA Medical Center and ask for the WVPM.
Learn more about the VA Health Care for Women Veterans.
VA Benefits for Victims of Military Sexual Trauma
VA has special services available to help women who experienced military sexual trauma (MST), including free, confidential counseling and treatment for mental and physical health conditions related to MST. You do not need to have a service-connected disability or injury, and may be able to receive this benefit even if you are not eligible for other VA care. You do not need to have reported the incidents when they happened or have other documentation that they occurred in order to receive MST services.
Every VA facility has a designated MST Coordinator who serves as a contact person for MST-related issues. This person is your advocate and can help you find and access VA services and programs, state and federal benefits, and community resources.
Learn more about MST and other violence and abuse from the National Center for PTSD.
How to Apply
The specific VA benefit or program web page will provide tailored information about how to apply for a particular benefit or program. Generally, Servicemembers, Veterans, and families can apply for VA benefits using one of the methods below.
· Apply online using eBenefits, OR
· Work with an accredited representative or agent, OR
· Go to a VA regional office and have a VA employee assist you. You can find your regional office on our Facility Locator page.
Women Veterans Outreach
VA has released a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) to let women Veterans know that when they choose VA care, they have come to "The Right Place."Watch*† the PSA.
VA is working hard to let women Veterans know about the benefits and services for which they may be eligible.
Women Veterans Health Care has developed an outreach toolkit to raise awareness of women Veterans’ health care needs and the high-quality care VA provides to your rapidly growing Veteran group. Access the Women’s Health Outreach Toolkit to find brochures, fact sheets, FAQs, health campaign materials, videos for download, and more.
The Veterans Benefits Administration has recently developed a Web page with information specific to women Veterans’ benefits, including education and training, home loans, employment, and more.
Burial benefits are available, as well, to women Veterans. Learn more.
Watch for more news about VA's integrated outreach effort for women Veterans.
*By clicking on these links, you will leave the Department of Veterans Affairs Web site.
†VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked Web site.
WOMEN'S HEALTH CENTER
Northeast Primary Care Clinic
4461 East Charleston Blvd.
National phone line for Women Veterans is 1-855-VAWomen (1-855-829-6636)
The Women's Health Center offers programs specifically designed to assist women Veterans.
Women's Anger Management Group for Women Veterans
Through November 2013 - then start again in January, 2014
Wednesdays 10:30 AM - 12:00PM
VA Medical Center - Northeast Primary Care Clinic - Patient Conferene Room - 4461 East Charleston Blvd., Las Vegas, NV 89104
For more information contact:
Linda Sims, LCSW or Carol Simenson, Women Veterans Program Manager
Women Veterans Support Group for Women Veterans
Veterans who experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault during their military service are invited to attend drop-in, psycho-educational groups at the Mental Health Clinic at the VA Hospital at 6900 N. Pecos Rd, North Las Vegas.
Wednesdays – Women’s MST Group
1:00PM – 2:00 PM
VA Medical Center - Mental Health Clinic - 6900 North Pecos Road, North Las Vegas, NV 89086
For more information contact:
Diane Sakal-Gutierrez, LCSW
Military Sexual Trauma Coordinator
The VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System offers full comprehensive health care to all eligible women Veterans. You have two options.
Option 1: Choose a primary care provider in one of our primary care clinics. Your primary care provider will handle your primary care needs (care for acute and chronic illness, and disease prevention, etc.) and refer you to the Women’s Center for your gender-specific care (paps, mammograms, breast health, STD’s, menopause, birth control).
Option 2: Choose a Primary Care Provider in the Women’s Center. Your women’s clinic provider will handle all of your health care, acute and chronic illness as well as your gender-specific needs.
No matter which option you choose, you will have access to a gynecologist or obstetrician when you need it.
We are currently integrating “comprehensive primary care” into all of the primary care clinics. Comprehensive primary care includes gender-specific care. You will be offered to change providers prior to complete integration, but it’s up to you. You can stay with the provider you feel most comfortable with.
Our Women Veterans Program Manager advises and advocates for women Veterans. She can help coordinate all the services you may need, from primary care to specialized care for chronic conditions or reproductive health. VA health care for women Veterans includes:
· General care includes health evaluation and counseling, disease prevention, nutrition counseling, weight control, smoking cessation, and substance abuse counseling and treatment as well as gender-specific primary care, such as cervical cancer screens (Pap smears), breast cancer screens (mammograms), birth control, preconception counseling, Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, menopausal support (hormone replacement therapy).
· Mental health includes evaluation and assistance for issues such as depression, mood, and anxiety disorders; intimate partner and domestic violence; sexual trauma; elder abuse or neglect; parenting and anger management; marital, caregiver, or family-related stress; and post-deployment adjustment or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
· Military Sexual Trauma (MST). Women-and men as well-may experience repeated sexual harassment or sexual assault during their military service. Special services are available to women who have experienced MST. VA provides free, confidential counseling and treatment for mental and physical health conditions related to MST. More information is available about MST from the national Women Veterans Health Care program and the VHA Office of Mental Health.
· Management and screening of chronic conditions includes heart disease, diabetes, cancer, glandular disorders, osteoporosis, and fibromyalgia as well as sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis. Reproductive health care includes maternity care, infertility evaluation and limited treatment; sexual problems, tubal ligation, urinary incontinence, and others. VA is prohibited by legislative authority from providing either in-vitro fertilization or abortion services.
· Rehabilitation, homebound, and long-term care. VA referrals are given to those in need of rehabilitation therapies such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language therapy, exercise therapy, recreational therapy, and vocational therapy. Homebound and long-term care services are available as well, limited to those meeting specific requirements.
Women Veterans Health Care
VA's Women Health Services office (Women's Health) provides programmatic and strategic support to implement positive changes in the provision of care for all women Veterans.
Did you know that women are the fastest growing group within the Veteran population? Learn more about the changing face of women Veterans and what VA is doing to meet their health care needs.
This web site provides information on health care services available to women Veterans, including comprehensive primary care as well as specialty care such as reproductive services, rehabilitation, mental health, and treatment for military sexual trauma.
You can also find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about women Veterans health care.
At each VA Medical Center nationwide, a Women Veterans Program Manager is designated to assist women Veterans. She can help coordinate all the services you may need, from primary care to medical services to Mental Health and Sexual Abuse Counseling.
Women Veterans who are interested in receiving care at VA should contact their nearest VA Medical Center and ask for the Women Veterans Program Manager.
· Barriers to Care
Barriers to Care
The Barriers to Care Survey Is Underway
Telephone surveys began in December 2013, and will take place over the course of about nine months. This study will involve at a minimum, 400 women from each of the 21 Veteran Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) for a minimum total of 8,400 completed interviews. In concert with VA, the study has selected a random sample of women Veterans from across the country, some who have used VA health care and some who have not. The telephone survey is expected to take about 40 minutes. Collection of this data will allow the stakeholders to identify barriers to VA use, unmet need for health care, and health care delivery preferences (i.e., the features of the current VA women’s health delivery model that facilitates versus hinders access to VA care). The survey results will be compiled and presented to Congress, as the legislation requires, and will be of interest to Veterans, VA leaders, providers and policymakers. Read more here.