The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

September/October 2002

Advising The VA


This has been a busy summer.  As Vietnam Veterans of America's representative on the VA Women Veterans Advisory Committee, I can report that the committee's biennial 2002 report was submitted to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in June and is presently being reviewed for response.  In late August, I was appointed by the Secretary to serve as Chair of the Advisory Committee.  

The members of the committee are a diverse group of hard-working advocates, varied in geographic location, gender, military experience and former rank, including both enlisted and officers.  We follow in the footsteps of many fine veterans, both women and men, who have served on the committee since its establishment in 1983. We meet three times a year, including one site visit. The Advisory Committee traveled to Tampa for a site visit at the VA facilities in September.  

In October, I was asked to deliver testimony before the House Veterans' Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Health on topics related to women veterans' health care in the VA. The topics in my testimony included: Women Veterans Coordinators, the Women Veterans Health Program Office, the status and importance of the Advisory Committee's biennial reports, Women Veteran Health Clinics, the Homeless Women Veterans Pilot Programs, and renewal of VA eligibility criteria for access to sexual trauma treatment.    

As a member of the Advisory Committee, I also was asked to serve in a consultant, non-voting capacity on the newly formed VA Homeless Veteran Advisory Committee. The first meeting was held in Washington in June. I attended the 15th annual Stand-down in San Diego and the Homeless Veterans Conference sponsored by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans that followed. Sandy Miller, Chair of VVA's Homeless Veteran Task Force and Vice Chair of the Women Veterans Committee, was also at this event.  We met several times with the women veteran participants. We discussed their needs in the local VA health and benefit delivery system.

We were able to resolve some issues for several women on site. In early September, we met with the women veteran participants at the Philadelphia Stand-down. 

I want to thank Dr. Patricia Hayes, Women Veterans Program Director, VISN-4, for attending and presenting at our Leadership Conference in August.  Dr. Hayes joined with Len Selfon in a seminar addressing sexual and personal trauma as it relates to the clinical setting and in regard to benefits.  

We extend congratulations to Women In Military Service for America (WIMSA) on celebrating its 5th Anniversary. Additionally, we look forward to celebrating the 20th anniversary of The Wall with many of our sister veterans from across the country. Veterans Day 2003 is approaching, and plans are being made for the 10th Anniversary of the Vietnam Womens Memorial. I will keep you updated as these plans develop.


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