VA Pledge to Women Veterans on Women's Equality Day

Wed Aug 26, 2009 2:42pm EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Eric K. Shinseki pledged today on Women's Equality Day that the Department of
Veterans Affairs (VA) will work to ensure the nation upholds its obligation to
meet the needs of our Veterans - including women Veterans.

"Our Veterans deserve the very best care.  Anything less is unacceptable,"
Secretary Shinseki said.  "If we are to transform VA into a 21st century
organization, we need to continually improve our services to women Veterans."

Although VA has long provided equal benefits to women Veterans, the Department
has embarked on new initiatives to meet their unique needs.  These initiatives
include:
    --  Comprehensive primary care and specialized medical care at every VA
        medical center;
    --  Enhanced mental health care specifically for women Veterans;
    --  Staffing every VA medical center with a women Veterans program
manager;
    --  Creating a mini-residency on women's health for primary care
        physicians;
    --  Supporting a multifaceted research program on women's health;
    --  Improving communication and outreach to women Veterans; and

    --  Continuing the operation of organizations such as VA's Center for
        Women Veterans and the Women Veterans Health Strategic Healthcare
Group.


"During this observance we should remember the special contributions and
sacrifices of the 200,000 women currently serving in the armed forces and 1.8
million who are Veterans," Assistant Secretary L. Tammy Duckworth said.

Women Veterans are one of the fastest growing segments of the Veteran
population.  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 and 9.5 percent of VA patients.

For more information about VA programs and services for women Veterans, please
visit: www.va.gov/womenvet/ and www.publichealth.va.gov/womenshealth.


SOURCE  U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

CONTACT: VA Office of Public Affairs, +1-202-461-7600
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