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VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans Visits Dallas

WASHINGTON, July 9 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As part of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) upgrade of programs and services for women Veterans, the Department's Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, an expert panel that advises VA on issues and programs affecting women Veterans, recently traveled to the VA North Texas Health Care System in Dallas.

"Enhancing care for women Veterans is one of Secretary Shinseki's top priorities," said Dr. Irene Trowell-Harris, director of VA's Center for Women Veterans. "Our Dallas meeting helped us develop new and innovative ideas for providing a full spectrum of improved care for women Veterans."

Intent on improving VA programs and services for women Veterans, the advisory committee heard views on facets of physical and mental health care, benefits, access, processing military sexual trauma claims, women-specific health needs, and services for returning troops. In addition, Carl E. Lowe II, director of VA's Waco Regional Office, gave an overview of new benefits programs.

Members also had the opportunity to tour the Dallas VA Medical Center, Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, the Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center and the State Veterans Home in Bonham. The visit concluded with a town hall meeting at the Dallas Hilton Anatole that was open to the community.

VA accomplishments for women Veterans already in place include:

  • More than $32.5 million in Fiscal Year 2008 supplemental funding was sent to facilities for women's health equipment, training and supplies (including DEXA scans, mammography machines, ultra-sound and biopsy equipment).
  • Women Veterans' program managers, advocates and advisors for women Veterans were made full-time positions at every VA facility, as of Dec. 1, 2008, to improve women Veterans' access, to coordinate necessary services and to assist in planning for comprehensive primary care at each VA facility.

Women Veterans are one of the fastest growing segments of the Veteran population. There are approximately 1.8 million women Veterans. They comprise 7.5 percent of the total Veteran population and nearly 5.5 percent of all Veterans who use VA health care services.

VA estimates women Veterans will constitute 10 percent of the Veteran population by 2020.

The Advisory Committee on Women Veterans reviews VA's programs, activities, research projects and other initiatives designed to meet the needs of women Veterans, then makes recommendations to the Secretary on ways to improve, modify and affect change in programs and services for women.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
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