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Preparation for our National Convention has been going on for months. This committee, in addition to organizing our business for the Convention, to include working with other committees on resolutions, has been planning the traditional Women Veterans Breakfast. This is a time when the committee attempts to bring forward a speaker who is motivational or insightful. We know you will not be disappointed this year.

In addition, there will be an informal gathering for women veterans at a time that best fits the hectic schedule of the business of the Convention. This will be a time to talk and spend a few minutes of leisure time with friends. A posting of the time and place will be provided once we arrive in Springfield.

Dr. Patricia Hayes, the Acting Chief Consultant of the Women Veterans Health Strategic Healthcare Group, was invited to make a presentation at the April meeting of the Women Veterans Committee. She was appointed to this position after Carole Turner retired as Director of the Women’s Health Program Office at VA Central Office. Additionally, that office was elevated to that of a Strategic Health Care Group.

Dr. Hayes provided information on the revised VHA Handbook 1330.02 which details the position of the Women Veteran Program Managers (WVPM). Of particular interest is the section on performance standards. This document will be placed on our web page so that members will read and take note of its detail in the duties and responsibilities of the WVPM. When you go to meetings at the medical centers, refer to 1330.02 and find out exactly what is happening locally. Does the director embrace and use it? Talk to the WVPM about her understanding of the position she holds, her role, and the time she is allotted to perform her duties.

In light of the increasing number of new veterans using the VA and the percentage of women, the role of the WVPM is vital, and the investment at the local medical centers is critical in its delivery of services and the type of services and clinical staff that are available. Seventeen percent of those currently serving in Iraq are women, and by 2010, 10 percent of those using the VA will be women. Dr. Hayes told us that 37 percent of the women currently being discharged are using the VA and that the mean number of annual visits by these veterans is 32.

Dr. Hayes also said that the Women Veterans Program Health Services Handbook (VHA Handbook 1330.01) is being rewritten and will be available soon.

I would like to thank the members of the Women Veterans Committee for the work they have done over the past two years. Additionally, I send thanks to the other committees for the work we have shared. I also thank you for providing me the opportunity to serve.

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