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March/april 2010

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Women Veterans


The VVA Women Veterans Committee provides this annual Resolution update.

WV-2-05 Medical Treatment of Women Veterans by VA: While this Resolution is lengthy and touches on a broad range of issues, this and related committees (Health Care and PTSD), along with VVA’s Government Affairs Department, continue to move this agenda. We continue to stress the content of this Resolution in congressional testimony, and in contact with the staffs of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs’ Committees, the VA Women Veterans Strategic Health Care Group, the VA Center for Women Veterans, and members of the VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans. A goal is also to have representation of VVA on the VA Advisory Committee on Women Veterans. 

The VA Women Veteran Program Manager (WVPM) position is to be full time at all Medical Centers. This can be somewhat confusing or deceiving since full time does not necessarily mean 40 hours per week. Another part of this overall issue is the lack of consistency in the reporting line for WVPM. Some report to the chief of staff, but others don’t. Some report through several layers of administration. This can cause many inconsistencies, delay action, and dilute the importance of the position. Central Office allows the reporting-line decision to be left up to the Medical Center director. We believe this is inappropriate.

WV-3-05 Support for Women Veterans: This continuing Resolution addresses the commitment VVA has made to women veterans and speaks to the responsibility that each member and leader at every level of the organization has in keeping that commitment. This sets the tone and environment of our organization and its respectful embrace of its sisters. It is a very serious element of who we are and the equality we represent.  

In this vein, the committee continues to provide each State Council President with information on women veteran issues via email that is coordinated by a member of the committee who is also a state president. This committee also works with other national committees in its ongoing effort to enhance VVA’s commitment in this arena. The committee members collaborate with committees on projects, articles, and issue-focused papers bringing light to women veterans. 

WV-5-09 Women Veterans Research: You have been reading about the newly developed Long-Term Health Outcomes of Military Women’s Service During the Vietnam Era (See article on page 34). The study hopes to identify 10,000 women of the era. It is anticipated that interviews will begin in October 2010. 

The study aims include: to determine the prevalence of lifetime and current psychiatric conditions, including PTSD, among women veterans who served during the Vietnam era; to characterize the physical health of women who served during the Vietnam era; and to characterize the level of current disability in women who served during the Vietnam era. The study will include inquiry into autoimmune disorders as requested by this committee. The Women Veterans Committee looks to take a proactive role in outreach activities and will seek the help of the State Councils and Chapters.

WV-6-09 Women Veterans and Veterans Benefits: Though a new Resolution, many of these components are ones for which committee members have been advocating for quite some time in much the same manner as the issues included in WV-2-05.

The Women Veterans Committee: Marsha Four, Chair. Members: Sandy Miller, Sara McVicker, Sandie Wilson, Leslie DeLong, Beverly Stewart, Billee Culin, John Wallace, Tom Hall, Pat Bessigano, Tom Berger, Connie Christensen, and Patricia Dumin. AVVA Liaison: Nancy Switzer. VVA Staff Support: Sharon Hodge.



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