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Old 04-01-2008, 12:08 PM
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Women Vets

VETERANS RESOURCES NETWORK
http://www.valaw. org

-- VA Press Release --

VA Reaches Out to Women Veterans
March 27, 2008

Women Vets Have Earned "Benefits, Respect, Thanks" Peake
Fourth National Summit on Women Veterans Issues Begins June 20

WASHINGTON -- Recognizing the valor, service and sacrifice of
America's 1.7 million women veterans, the Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA) has created a comprehensive array of benefits and programs.

"Women who served this country in uniform -- whether veterans of
World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, the current Global War on
Terror or peacetime service -- have earned our respect and thanks,"
said Dr. James B. Peake, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. "They have
also earned the full range of VA programs offered by a grateful nation."

Secretary Peake also announced the Fourth National Summit on Women
Veterans Issues to be held from June 20 22 in Washington D.C. The
Summit will offer attendees an opportunity to enhance future progress
on women veterans issues, with sessions specifically for the Reserve
and National Guard, information on military sexual trauma and
readjustment issues, after the military veteran resources and many
more programs and exhibits.

Women veterans are entitled to the same benefits and medical care as
their male counterparts, including health care, disability
compensation, education assistance, work-study allowance, vocational
rehabilitation, employment and counseling services, insurance, home
loan benefits, nursing home care, survivor benefits, and various
burial benefits.

VA also has a multitude of services and programs to respond to the
unique needs of women veterans. VA offers comprehensive, high-quality
primary health care services for women, including Pap smears,
mammography, and general reproductive health care. Along with these
services, VA's mental health care for women includes substance abuse
counseling, evaluation and treatment of military sexual trauma and
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

VA has several specific initiatives for 2008 including:

* enhancing skills of primary care providers who treat women
veterans;
* examining other women's health issues, including cardiac care,
breast cancer, and colorectal cancer in women;
* focusing on family issues and avoiding birth defects through
enhanced pharmacy practices for women veterans of child bearing age.

Women veterans are the fastest growing segment of the veteran
population second only to elderly veterans. Approximately 1.7 million
women veterans comprise 7 percent of the total veteran population.
Approximately 255,000 women use VA health care services. Today, over
200,000 women are serving in the Armed Forces. With the increasing
number of women, VA estimates by 2020 women veterans will comprise 10
percent of the veteran population.

There is a women veterans program manager at every VA medical center,
a women's liaison at every community based outpatient clinic and a
women veterans coordinator at every VA regional office.

VA is reaching out to women veterans who are experiencing problems
related to sexual trauma or harassment while in the military. All
veterans, men and women, may receive free counseling, disability
compensation, and related services for sexual trauma incurred in the
military. In addition, there are programs for women veterans who are
homeless or are victims of domestic violence.

There is a Military Sexual Trauma (MST) point of contact for
psychotherapy at every VA medical center. Extensive enhancements of
the MST program have taken place over the past two years, including
training of providers in the most current effective treatments for
PTSD and sexual trauma. In addition, VA has sites for combat PTSD in
women and is examining how best to address complex combat and MST issues.

In addition to the services provided at each VA medical center, the
Department also operates fifty Women's Health Centers, within medical
centers, that serve as specific locations for women veterans to
receive care. These centers develop new and enhanced programs for
women; some also conduct research on medical and psychosocial issues.

Secretary Peake recently visited the largest women's center in the VA,
located at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa, Florida.
With more than 20,000 women veterans enrolled for care, the center is
able to provide a variety of women specific services in one location.

Through its Center for Women Veterans and the Secretary's Advisory
Committee on Women Veterans, VA is continually looking into new and
innovative ways to provide improved benefits and services to women
veterans.

More information on the Fourth National Summit on Women Veterans
Issues can be found at www.va.gov/womenvet . For more information
about VA benefits and services, veterans may contact their local VA
regional office, medical center, or vet center. For questions
concerning VA benefits call 1-800-827-1000, for questions concerning
VA health care call 1-877-222-8387 or go to our website at
http://www.va. gov.



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