Office on Women’s Health Women Panel on Women Veterans’ Health


Good afternoon! I’m Nicole Greene,
Acting Director of the Office on Women’s Health within the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services. * Last week, we
celebrated National Women’s Health Week. The goal of the Week
is to remind women to make their health a priority and help them
take simple steps for better health. In honor of this observance, I welcome
you to this afternoon’s Facebook live discussion about
healthy living for women veterans. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans
Affairs, there are over 2 million women veterans living in the
United States. And many often face
health challenges that are unique to their
history of service. Today’s event is the
first in a series of discussions about the health of women veterans. During our discussions,
we hope to raise awareness of health issues affecting
women veterans, talk about steps
that you can take to live healthier lives,
and direct you to resources to assist
you on your journey to better health. Today we will hear
first-hand from women veterans about their personal health
challenges and their tips for staying healthy. Our panel also
includes key leaders that provide health services for veterans. They will offer
additional information that veterans can
use to improve overall health and wellness, specifically around
mental health and stress. The Office on
Women’s Health and the Department
of Veterans Affairs are proud to partner together to help meet
the needs of our female service
members and veterans. Thank you joining us.>>GOOD AFTERNOON. AND WELCOME TO TODAY’S PANEL ON
WOMEN’S HEALTH. IT IS MY FLASH TO BE PART OF THE
CONVERSATION TO RAISE AWARENESS OF HEALTH ISSUES AFFECTING WOMEN
VETERANS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. THE V.A. ESTIMATES OVER 2
MILLION WOMEN VETERAN LIVE IN THE UNITED STATES AND FACE
ANXIETY, POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER AND WEIGHT CHANGE. NEVERTHELESS WOMEN VETERANS ARE
STRONG RESILIENT WOMEN WITH AMAZING STORIES AND EXPERIENCES
WE WANT TO SHARE WITH YOU TODAY. AS I NOTED EARLIER I AM MISS
VETERAN 2016. BOTH MY PARENTS ARE ARMY
VETERANS INCLUDING MY MOM WHO WAS A VIETNAM ERA ARMY NURSE SO
THEY’RE PROUD OF MY SERVICE. I WAS DEPLOYED TO AFGHANISTAN
WHERE I SUSTAINED SOME INJURIES. I RETURNED HOME WITH UNTREATED
POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER AND UNTREATED BRAIN INJURY. I SUFFERED A LOT OF ANXIETY AND
NIGHTS OF INSOMNIA AND LOST WEIGHT AND MY FAMILY DIDN’T KNOW
WHAT TO DO. MY COMMANDER DID THE RIGHT THING
AND WE WENT TO OUR LOCAL BASE AND THROUGH THE YEARS AND
THROUGH THE SUPPORT OF AN AMAZING FAMILY AND A GREAT
COMMAND I WAS ABLE TO GET MY LIFE BACK UP ON MY FEET BUT
THERE WERE A LOT OF CHALLENGES WITH MENTAL HEALTH. AND WHEN I GOT OUT OF THE
MILITARY IN 2013 I STRUGGLED TO FIND EMPLOYMENT. BUT AGAIN WITH AN AMAZING FAMILY
AND SUPPORT AND RESOURCES AND KNOWING WHERE TO GO I WAS ABLE
TO FIND EMPLOYMENT. I MOVED TO AUSTIN TEXAS IN 2014
AND I MOVED NOT KNOWING ANYONE. I JOINED THE UNITED VOICE OF
WOMEN’S VETERANS TO RAISE TO THE ISSUES FACING WOMEN VETERANS AND
THE FASTEST GROWING DEMOGRAPHIC OF HOMELESSNESS AND WITH OTHER
RESOURCES I’M HERE TODAY. JOINING ME TODAY ARE WOMEN
VETERANS AND HEALTH LEADERS THAT WORK TO IMPROVE THE HEALTH OF
WOMEN VETERANS. TODAY WE HAVE LIEUTENANT NICOLE
CARR AND U.S. SURGEON GENERAL OFFICE COMMANDERS CHRISTINE
COLLINS AND THE SURGEON GENERAL OFFICES TAMMY CHARNER-GORSKI
FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS. THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE. EACH HAS A UNIQUE STORY SO I’LL
LET THEM INTRODUCE THEMSELVES AND TELL A LITTLE BIT OF THEIR
BACKGROUND AND EXPERIENCE PROMOTING THE HEALTH OF WOMEN’S
VETERANS. AS YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF TELL
US ONE THING YOU DID LAST WEEK TO PROMOTE YOUR HEALTH. LIEUTENANT, WE’LL START WITH
YOU.>>THANK YOU. I’M LIEUTENANT NICOLE CARR AND
EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT IN THE DEPARTMENT OF SURGEON GENERAL. THE ONE THING I DID LAST WEEK TO
PROMOTE MY HEALTH IS MAINTAIN MY EXERCISE REGIME.>>THANK YOU. COMMANDER.>>THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME HERE. I’M A UNITED STATES HEALTH CORE
OFFICER TO THE OFFICE OF THE SURGEON GENERAL AND A 15-YEAR
VETERAN AND LAST WEEK I HUGGED MY CHILDREN AND TOOK AN AMAZING
HIKE WITH MY FAMILY.>>THANK YOU, COMMANDER.>>THANK YOU.>>DOCTOR.>>THANK YOU. MY NAME IS MAGGIE CHARNER-GORSKI
AND A PROVIDER IN THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM AND WORK AT THE
WASHINGTON DC, VA AND I WANT TO THANK THESE WOMEN FOR BEING HERE
AND HAVING ME.>>THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME. I’M EXCITED FOR THIS DISCUSSION. SO LET’S GET THE CONVERSATION
STARTED. LET’S TALK ABOUT A BRIEF
OVERVIEW. ARE THERE ANY ISSUES MORE COMMON
FOR WOMEN VETERANS THAN MALE COUNTERPARTS?>>ABSOLUTELY. THANK YOU FOR GIVING ME THE
OPPORTUNITY. IT’S A LARGE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. WE HAVE 163 HOSPITALS AND ABOUT
1,000 OUT-PATIENT CLINICS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. AND FOR THE MOST PART WE’VE
PREDOMINANTLY TAKEN CARE OF MEN. THE NUMBER OF WOMEN IS
INCREASING EXPONENTIALLY BUT 8% OF V.A. USERS ARE WOMEN. IN THE LAST DECADE WE’VE HAD TO
BUILD A HEALTH CARE SYSTEM FOR WOMEN VETERANS AND IT’S
TRANSFORMED TREMENDOUSLY AND TRYING TO OPEN OUR ARMS AND
WELCOME WOMEN VETERAN IN THE SYSTEM AND LET THEM KNOW THERE’S
SERVICES FOR THEM. FOR EXAMPLE, WE TRIED TO PROVIDE
COMPREHENSIVE PRIMARY CARE FOR WOMEN VETERANS. WHAT WE MEAN IS WE WANT ONE-STOP
SHOPPING. COME TO ONE APPOINTMENT AND GET
YOUR PRIMARY CARE AND YOUR. SMEARS AND MAMMOGRAM AND HEALTH
COACHING AND PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE AND SCREENINGS WITH
ALL THE PROVIDERS IN ONE CLINIC FOR YOU. WE’RE ALSO TRYING TO INTEGRATE
MENTAL HEALTH CARE THROUGHOUT OUR PRIMARY CARE SETTING. WE CAN ALSO MINIMIZE THE NUMBER
OF APPOINTMENTS. ALL THE PROVIDERS WILL BE THERE. YOU TALKED ABOUT COMMON
CONDITIONS. WOMEN VETERANS HAVE THE SAME
ISSUES AS CIVILIAN COUNTERPARTS BUT WE ALSO EXPERIENCE UNIQUE
PROBLEMS. THERE’S MORE GENTLE URINARY
INJURIES AND SKELETAL ISSUES AND THERE’S DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY
AND PTSD OUR PROVIDERS ARE BEING TRAINED FOR IN A COMPREHENSIVE
MANNER.>>MY MOTHER WAS A VIETNAM ERA
VET AND HAD NO SERVICES. AND NOW MY HEALTH CARE IS ALL
THROUGH THE V.A. AND MY DEAR FRIEND IN GRACE IS IN ALASKA AND
HAD A BABY ALL DONE THROUGH THAT. THE EVOLUTION FROM THE ’70s IN
WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE IS WHAT WE’RE HERE TO TALK ABOUT TODAY. AS WE TALK ABOUT SPECIFIC ISSUES
TOWARDS WOMEN VETERANS’ HEALTH I’M SURE YOU CAN PROVIDE
EXPERIENCE ABOUT. YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE IN THE AIR
FORCE 15 YEARS. FROM YOUR EXPERIENCE DID YOU SEE
ANY OF THE SPECIFIC HEALTH ISSUES WHEN WERE ON ACTIVE DUTY
YOU MAY HAVE TREATED? WERE THERE SPECIFIC PERSONAL
CASES OR PATIENTS TREAT HAD STUCK OUT TO YOU THAT HIGHLIGHT
THESE SPECIFIC ISSUES RELATED TO WOMEN VETERANS?>>ABSOLUTELY. FROM A PERSONAL PERSPECTIVE
LOOKING AT MENTAL HEALTH AS ONE OF THE KEY CORNERSTONES OF AN
EMOTIONAL WELL BEING IN THE TOTALITY IS SO IMPORTANT AND I
CAN’T UNDERSCORE THAT ENOUGH AND TO KNOW THE V.A. IS BUILDING A
BEDROCK SYSTEM AROUND FEMALE VETERANS IS SUPER EXCITING TO
HEAR. PERSONALLY, BEING DEPLOYED AT
THREE CAMPAIGNS AND RECENTLY TO THE AFGHANISTAN WAR IN 2008 AND
2009, WE WERE THERE SEVEN MONTHS, MY TEAM AND I.
AND TO UNDERGO SLEEP DEPRIVATION AND THE CASUALTIES THAT WOULD
COME IN AND THE THOUGHT IN KNOWING YOU’VE DONE EVERYTHING
YOU COULD AND THEY PASSED REGARDLESS OF ANY INTERVENTION
YOU AND YOUR TEAM HAVE DONE ARE OVERWHELMING. WE’RE NURSES, PHYSICIANS,
TECHNICIANS AND THE WORK WE DID IN A WAR ZONE AND TO GO FROM
SOMETHING AND DOING AND TOUCHING HUMAN LIFE ON AN EXTRAORDINARY
BASIS EVERY SINGLE DAY AND TRYING TO TRANSITION INTO YOUR
NORMAL ACTIVE DUTY LIFE OR CIVILIAN LIFE CAN BE
CHALLENGING. PERSONALLY COMING BACK FROM THE
WAR, 48 HOURS BEFORE I RETURNED WE WERE HIT WITH
ROCKET-PROPELLED GRENADES. THE HOSPITAL SHOOK AND BEFORE WE
KNEW IT WE HAD A TON OF WALKING WOUNDED AND IT WAS A MASS
CASUALTY EVENT. AND THEN 48 HOURS LATER RIDING
ON AN ESCALATOR COMING BACK HOME TO BECOME A MOTHER AND TO MY
THEN-3-YEAR-OLD AND MY 5-YEAR-OLD AND 10-YEAR-OLD WAS
VERY SURREAL. YOU STAND THERE AND 48 HOURS AGO
YOU WERE IN A WAR ZONE BEING HIT BY INCOMING FIRE AND NOW YOU’RE
MOMMY AND HOW’S THAT TRANSLATE AND WHAT DO YOU DO? IT WAS EXTREMELY OVERWHELMING
FOR ME PERSONALLY. AS AN OFFICER YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO
LEAD. YOU’RE TAUGHT TO LEAD. YOU’RE TAUGHT TO CARE FOR YOUR
TROOPS AND IT WAS VERY CHALLENGING TRYING TO FIND THAT
AND TRANSITIONING BACK HOME WITHIN A FEW DAYS NOT FEELING
REALLY SAFE ANYWHERE BECAUSE YOU NOW HAVE THIS OPEN HOME TO GO
AND TAKE A SHOWER LONGER THAN THREE MINUTES YET WITHOUT SHOWER
SHOES. AND BEING ABLE TO HAVE THE
LUXURY OF GETTING FOOD AND LIVING IN A SPACE THE SIZE OF A
SINGLE BED DAY IN, DAY OUT AND HAVING ALL THE SPACE YOU HAVE A
SENSE OF INSECURITY. IT’S HARD TO UNDERSTAND AND
RELATE TO THAT. AND THEN MOVING THE ONLY PLACE I
FELT SAFE WAS MY CLOSET AND PEOPLE MAY LAUGH BUT IT’S A VERY
REAL THING. WITHIN TWO DAYS OF COMING HOME
MY HUSBAND FOUND ME IN THE CLOSET CRYING. HE CAME INTO THE CLOSET AND SAT
WITH ME AND BEFORE I KNEW IT MY DAUGHTER FOLLOWED US AND THE
SECOND AND THIRD DAUGHTER AND WITH THE INCREDIBLE SUPPORT WE
SAT FOR TWO HOURS AND WE CRIED AND HELD EACH OTHER. AT THAT POINT WE KNEW THE
JOURNEY WAS JUST GETTING STARTED WITH THE MENTAL HEALTH PIECE OF
IT.>>YOU’RE LUCKY YOU HAD A FAMILY
THAT WAS THERE WITH YOU. MANY WOMEN EXPERIENCE THIS ON
THEIR OWN AND THEY DON’T HAVE SOMEONE TO CRY WITH. SO THANK YOU FOR SHARING THAT. WE HAVE RESOURCES FOR THAT AND
YOU SPOKE ABOUT THE MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH. I WOULD LIKE IF YOU DON’T MIND
TALK TO ME ABOUT THE WOMEN’S HEALTH. CAN YOU GO INTO THE ADDITIONAL
SERVICES THE V.A. ARE PROVIDING.>>HALF THE WOMEN HAVE MENTAL
HEALTH DIAGNOSIS IT VARIES FROM PERSON TO PERSON. WE HAVE INTEGRATED MENTAL HEALTH
TO PRIMARY CARE AND WE HAVE REHAB AND SPECIALTY MENTAL
HEALTH FACILITIES AND REALIZE NOT ALL WOMEN RECEIVE CARE
WITHIN THE V.A. SYSTEM. WE HAVE 2 MILLION WOMEN VETERANS
AND MANY ARE GETTING CARE IN THE COMMUNITY. IT’S CHALLENGING BECAUSE NOT ALL
THE COMMUNITY PROVIDERS UNDERSTAND THE EXPERIENCE IN THE
MILITARY SERVICE. WE HAVE TRAINING TO PROVIDE WHAT
MILITARY SERVICE IS ALL ABOUT AND THE EXPERIENCES WOMEN HAVE
WE’RE ALSO ENCOURAGING IN THE COMMUNITY WHEN THEY IDENTIFY A
WOMAN AS A WOMAN VETERAN AND STRUGGLE THE MENTAL HEALTH
SERVICES AND WE HAVE TRAINED PROVIDERS TO HELP AND SUPPORT
THESE WOMEN AND ALL OF YOU AS YOUR THRIVING IN YOUR CIVILIAN
WORLD.>>DOCTOR, YOU MENTIONED
SOMETHING CRITICAL. YOU SAID IDENTIFY AS A WOMAN
VETERAN. I’D LIKE FOR YOU TO GO IN
FURTHER ON THE CHALLENGE TO GETTING WOMEN TO IDENTIFY AS
WOMEN VETERANS.>>A LOT OF WOMEN DON’T IDENTIFY
THEMSELVES AS WOMEN VETERANS. THEY PICTURE A VETERAN AS A MAN
THAT’S HOLDER THAT SERVED IN�– OLDER AND SERVED IN VIETNAM AND
NOT SOMEONE LIKE YOU. WE WANT WOMEN WHO HAVE SERVE TO
GET ON THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA AND SAY I AM ONE. I AM A VETERAN. IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AS VETERANS. THAT’S THE FIRST STEP. IF YOU IDENTIFY AS A VETERAN YOU
CAN SEEK THE SERVICES. NOT ONLY DO WE HAVE HEALTH CARE
BUT WE HAVE EDUCATION, HOUSING, HOME LOAN SERVICES AVAILABLE FOR
WOMEN VETERANS. AND ACTUALLY WOMEN ARE
INTERESTED WE HAVE A WOMEN-VETERAN CALL CENTER THAT
CAN HELP YOU ACCESS ALL THE SERVICES YOU EARNED AND DESERVE. THE WOMEN VETERANS CALL CENTER
THE NUMBER IS 1-855-829-8636. IT’S RAN BY WOMEN TO ANSWER
WOMEN’S QUESTIONS. WE CAN WALK YOU THROUGH THE
PROCESS OF WHAT ARE YOU ELIGIBLE FOR AND WHAT SERVICES CAN YOU
GET AND CONNECT YOU WITH THE WOMEN’S V.A. AND GET YOU AN
APPOINTMENT TO WALK YOU THROUGH THE HOSPITAL AND SHOW WHERE YOU
THE LAB IS AND PHARMACY IS AND WELCOME YOU WITH OPEN ARMS TO
GET YOU THE HELP YOU NEED.>>THAT’S A REALLY GREAT POINT. A LOT OF WOMEN VETERANS DON’T
IDENTIFY THEMSELVES AS A VETERAN. TAKE MY MOTHER FOR EXAMPLE IS A
VIETNAM ERA VETERAN. SHE DIDN’T GO TO VIETNAM BUT
MANY FEEL LIKE VETERANS. I DIDN’T IDENTIFY HER AS A
VETERAN GROWING UP. SHE WAS MOMMY. WE HAVE TO GOOD OVER WHAT IS THE
FACE OF A VETERAN SO THANK YOU FOR THAT. THE NEXT PART I WANT TO GO INTO
TALKING ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH BUT LET’S TALK ABOUT PHYSICAL
ACTIVITY AND PHYSICAL HEALTH. WHEN YOU’RE IN THE MILITARY YOU
HAVE TO GET UP AT 5:00 IN THE MORNING TO GO RUN. LIEUTENANT CARR YOU MENTIONED
THE ONE THING YOU DID THIS WEEK IS YOU STUCK TO YOUR PHYSICAL
FITNESS REGIMENT. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THINGS WOMEN
VETERANS CAN DO POST SERVICE TO KEEP UP THEIR HEALTH.>>THAT’S CRITICAL FOR VETERANS
WHEN THEY LEAVE AND TRANSITION TO CIVILIAN WORLD. YOU ARE NOW ON YOUR OWN. YOU HAVE TO FIND A SUPPORT
SYSTEM A GROUP OR SOMEONE YOU WORK WITH. AND SET A SCHEDULE. BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE AND FIND A
GROUP THAT WILL HELP SUPPORT YOU AND CALL YOU WHEN YOU GO AND
MISS YOUR DAYS IN THE GYM.>>I HAVE A DOG AND MY DOG LETS
ME KNOW. HE’S THE BEST PERSON TO KEEP ME
ACCOUNTABLE. I COME HOME AND HE’S LIKE WE
HAVE TO GO FOR A RUN. DOGS ARE GOOD FOR HEALTH AS
WELL. MAGGIE, WHAT SERVICES ARE IN THE
V.A. TO HELP KEEP WITH HEALTHY
AND MAYBE SOME WEIGHT PROGRAMS. I KNOW SOME ARE REALLY INVOLVED
IN THAT THROUGH THE V.A. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THAT?>>ABSOLUTELY. WE PROVIDE CARE IN A TEAM-LIKE
FASHION. WE HELP WITH THE PRIMARY CARE
CLINICS. THEY HAVE A TON OF PROGRAMS
HELPING WOMEN STRUGGLING WITH WEIGHT OR OBESITY TO HELP THEM
WITH EXERCISE AND EATING RIGHT. WE HAVE VERY STRONG VACCINATION
CAMPAIGNS AND OFTEN IN THE V.A. WE DO BETTER THAN WHAT WE SEE IN
THE PRIVATE SECTOR WITH UTERINE AND CANCER SCREENING
AND WE HAVE ALSO PARTNERED WITH PEOPLE LIKE
THE AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION. CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE IS A
LEADING PARTNER AND WE PARTNERED TO PROMOTE CARDIOVASCULAR
DISEASE AWARENESS. SO PEOPLE UNDERSTAND HOW
IMPORTANT IT IS TO STAY HEALTHY AND STAY ACTIVE EVEN AFTER YOUR
MILITARY SERVICE AND HOW IMPORTANT THAT IS AS YOU AGE TO
MAINTAIN YOUR HEALTHY LIFESTYLE.>>ABSOLUTELY. BEFORE THE PROGRAM WE WERE
TALKING ABOUT THE RESOURCES THAT WERE AVAILABLE AT LOCAL
COMMUNITIES AND ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO REACH OUT TO SEE WHAT
SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE THERE. HOW DOES SOMEONE GO FROM I’M NOT
IN THE V.A. AT ALL AND I WOULD
LIKE TO ACCESS YOUR SERVICES. WALK US THROUGH THAT SERVICE AND
STEPS. DO YOU SHOW UP AT THE V.A.? HOW’S THIS WORK?>>YOU CAN ABSOLUTELY SHOW UP AT
THE V.A. SO THERE’S A COUPLE OF —
THERE’S A NUMBER OF ENTRY POINTS. YOU CAN SHOW UP AT THE V.A. AND
ASK FOR WOMEN PROGRAM MANAGE THAT SERVES AS A HEALTH ADVOCATE
THAT CAN WALK YOU THROUGH THE PROCESS ONCE YOU SHOW.>>GREAT.>>IF YOU WANT TO ACCESS THE
INTERNET I’D GO TO E-BENEFITS AND REGISTER AND GET YOUR FORM. WE CAN REGISTER YOU ONLINE AND
SEE WHAT YOUR ELIGIBLE FOR. IF YOU’D RATHER DO IT BY PHONE,
I GAVE YOU THE PHONE NUMBER BEFORE THE 1-855-VAWOMEN AND
THEY CAN GET YOU AN APPOINTMENT AND GET YOU INTO THE DOOR ALMOST
IMMEDIATELY. SO THERE’S MANY DIFFERENT
OPTIONS BUT THE FIRST STEP IS TO REACH OUT TO US BECAUSE WE’RE
HERE TO WELCOME YOU WITH OPEN ARMS.>>ABSOLUTELY. EVEN IF GOING STRAIGHT TO THE
V.A. CAN BE DAUNTING THERE’S
LOCAL GROUPS THAT HAVE AN ADVOCATE AND HELP YOU WALK
THROUGH THE STEPS TOGETHER. THANK YOU FOR MENTIONING THAT. FOR NATIONAL WOMEN’S HEALTH WEEK
WE CELEBRATED LAST WEEK WE ENCOURAGE WOMEN TO SCHEDULE
YEARLY WELL WOMEN AND TO TALK TO THEIR HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS
ABOUT THEIR PERSONAL HEALTH GOALS AND DEVELOP A PLAN THAT
WORKS FOR THEM. EVERYONE HERE’S A HEALTH CARE
PROVIDER. ARE THERE SPECIFIC THINGS WOMEN
VETERANS SHOULD LOOK FOR WHEN THEY GO TO THEIR VISITS? LIEUTENANT CARR, AS A NURSE WHAT
ARE THINGS YOU SUGGEST A WOMAN VETERAN GOING THROUGH HER EXAMS
AND LOOK FOR?>>ONE THING TO TALK TO YOUR
PROVIDER ABOUT IS IF THEY’RE HAVING A LACK OF CONCENTRATION
AND LOOKING AT THEIR SLEEP. IF THEY’RE GETTING LESS THAN
EIGHT HOURS OF SLEEP A DAY YOU SHOULD TALK TO THEIR PROVIDER
ABOUT THAT. THEY SHOULD ALSO TALK TO THEM IF
THEY’VE HAD PTSD OR ABUSE AT HOME OR AT WORK. IF YOU’VE HAD A TRAUMATIC
EXPERIENCE THEY SHOULD TALK TO THEIR PROVIDER ABOUT THOSE
THINGS.>>LET’S TALK MORE ABOUT ABUSE
AND TRAUMATIC EXPERIENCES. IT DOESN’T NECESSARILY HAVE TO
BE FROM THEIR TIME IN SERVICE.>>CORRECT.>>CAN YOU GO INTO WHAT ARE SOME
OF THE OTHER SYMPTOMS THAT YOU’RE HAVING THAT CAN MANIFEST
THEMSELVES THROUGH TRAUMA. I KNOW I HAVE FRIENDS THAT HAVE
HORRIBLE STOMACH PAINS AND HEADACHES AND IT’S ALL FROM
STRESS. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE OTHER
SYMPTOMS THAT CAN COME THROUGH THAT .
>>THAT YOU CAN TALK ABOUT THEIR CYCLES AND IF THEY’RE HAVING
ANXIETY THAT COULD BE SOMETHING THEY CAN TALK TO THEIR PROVIDER
ABOUT.>>COMMANDER, ANY OTHER THINGS
YOU’D LIKE TO ADD ON TO THAT?>>WEIGHT LOSS, WEIGHT GAIN. IT DEPENDS ON WHAT YOUR COPING
MECHANISM IS AND TALKING TO A PROVIDER ABOUT COPING
MECHANISMS. THAT THEN TIES INTO SUBSTANCE
ABUSE. WHEN WE TALK ABOUT PROGRAMS AND
AS I HEAR MAGGIE TALKING THE V.A. IS NOT OUR FATHER’S
FATHER’S V.A. IT’S TRANSFORMED INTO A NEW ERA
AND I HAVE TO COMMAND YOUR WORK YOU’RE DOING FOR WOMEN AND
REALLY MAKING IT A PLACE TO WHERE ALL WOMEN ARE WELCOMED AND
BEING ABLE TO EDUCATE OUR POPULATION OF WHAT IS A WOMAN
VETERAN. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN AND BEING
ABLE TO GET THOSE SERVICES. SO WHEN WE TALK ABOUT COPING
MECHANISMS. WE TALK ABOUT THE POSITIVES AND
NEGATIVES AND BEING ABLE TO HAVE AN OPEN CONVERSATION WITH YOUR
PROVIDER. AND KNOWING WHAT’S AVAILABLE TO
YOU AND THE RESOURCES ARE MORE PLENTIFUL. I GET ALL MY SERVICES IN ONE
CLINIC AND IT’S BEAUTIFUL AND NEW AND I NEVER HAVE A PROBLEM
GETTING AN APPOINTMENT. NOT EVERYBODY HAS THAT. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE STRUGGLES
IF SOMEONE IS HAVING TROUBLE GETTING AN APPOINTMENT OR BEING
SEEN WHO CAN THEY REACH OUT TO AT THE V.A. TO HELP NAVIGATE
WOMEN’S HEALTH CARE BETTER.>>I WOULD ENCOURAGE WOMEN TO
SEEK OUT WHO THE PERSON IS AT YOUR MEDICAL FACILITY BECAUSE
THEY’LL HELP YOU NAVIGATE. THE CALL CENTER CAN BE A HUGE
ADVOCATE FOR YOU. OUR OFFICE IS ALWAYS OPEN. WE GIVE OUT OUR NUMBER
CONSTANTLY. THE ONLY WAY TO IMPROVE IS TO
HEAR THE STORIES AND WE STILL
HAVE ROOM TO IMPROVE. THAT’S WHY WE NEED ALL YOUR
FEEDBACK AND INFORMATION TO HELP US CONTINUE TO IMPROVE THE
SERVICES FOR WOMEN VETERANS.>>SO I SEE THE NUMBER OF WOMEN
SERVING IS INCREASING AND WE KNOW WOMEN HAVE BEEN IN COMBAT
FOR A VERY LONG TIME. THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SERVICE
AND I REALLY WOULD LIKE TO TALK ABOUT IF THERE’S ANYTHING ELSE
THAT YOU WANT THE WOMEN AND COMMUNITIES LISTENING TO THIS
CAST TO THINK ABOUT WHEN IT COMES TO WOMEN’S VETERANS
HEALTH. WHAT OTHER SERVICES ARE
AVAILABLE. ARE THERE OTHER ANECDOTES YOU
WANT TO PROVIDE? IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE BEING A
WOMAN VETERAN AND IN YOUR PROFESSION YOU CAN SHARE?>>WHEN HAVE YOU A WOMAN VETERAN
COME IN YOUR OFFICE OR A WOMAN PERIOD ASK THEM ARE YOU A
VETERAN. AND HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU
WERE OUT THERE. YOU MAY BE SURPRISED THEY’LL
OPEN UP. DON’T TAKE THEIR SILENCE AS
EVERYTHING IS OK. THAT’S THE ONE THING I WANT TO
MAKE SURE THE HEALTH CARE PROVIDER SEES.>>FOR ME I THINK IT’S
RESILIENCE. WE’RE NOT ALONE. AND AS WOMEN IN THE ARMS
SERVICES OR UNIFORMED SERVICES FOR THAT MATTER THAT HAVE
EXPERIENCED SOME KIND OF TRAUMA OR SHARE THEIR LOVE OF SERVICE
BEFORE SELF. SO AS A VETERAN, AS AN AIR FORCE
VETERAN AND HAVING FRIENDS NO LONGER IN THE SERVICE, AIR FORCE
OR ARMY, UNDERSTANDING WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW YOU DON’T KNOW. AS MAGGIE HIGHLIGHTED IS THE
EDUCATIONAL PIECE FOR THE V.A. AND FOR THE VARIOUS OTHER
ORGANIZATIONS AND COMMUNITY LEVEL, NATIONAL LEVEL TO BE ABLE
TO PROVIDE EDUCATION TO WOMEN TO MAKE SURE THEY TRULY UNDERSTAND
WHAT SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE TO THEM. BUT FOR THE WOMEN SITTING AT
HOME WATCHING THE FACEBOOK LIVE IS REALLY REMIND YOURSELF AND
ACKNOWLEDGE WHEN YOU NEED HELP YOU NEED HELP AND TO REACH OUT
FOR THAT HELP. FROM WHERE YOU START AND SITTING
AT NOW HOW MUCH RESILIENCE THAT HAS TAKEN AND WHERE IT COULD BE.>>EXACTLY.>>AND UNDERSTAND YOU HAVE A
CHOICE. WE OWN OUR CHOICES. WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE WE’RE ABLE
TO REACH OUT WHEN WE NEED THE HELP.>>ABSOLUTELY.>>YEAH. THANK YOU FOR SHARING. I COMPLETELY AGREE. I ALSO WANT WOMEN VETERANS TO
REMEMBER THE V.A. IS HERE FOR THEM. YOU NEED TO IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS
VETERANS AND SEEK THE SERVICES YOU EARNED AND DESERVE. WHETHER IT’S YOUR SISTER, YOUR
NEIGHBOR OR FRIEND, IF THEY SERVED IN THE MILITARY THEY ARE
A VETERAN AND THEY DESERVE TO BE CELEBRATED AND HONORED FOR THE
WORK THAT THEY’VE DONE. THE FACE OF VETERANS ARE
CHANGING AND YOU’RE AMERICA’S
HERO AND YOU DESERVE TO BE TREAT HAD WAY.
>>AND REALLY A SUMMARY, WE HIT ON SO MANY TOPICS TODAY BUT I
JOINED BECAUSE I FELT DISCONNECTED THOUGH I’M AN
ADVOCATE AS FOR HOMELESS VETERANS THOUGH I’M NOT HOMELESS
MYSELF BUT WE ALL SEARCHED AND WOMEN VETERANS MAKE UP THE MOST
DIVERSE DEMOGRAPHIC OF THAT TREND. SO WOMEN ARE THE MOST DIVERSE IN
THE MILITARY BUT YET WE HAVE SO MUCH IN COMMON. AS WE’RE TALKING, WE’RE TALKING
ABOUT SUPPORT AND IF YOUR A WOMAN VETERAN AND THE DON’T WANT
TO GO TO THE V.A. RIGHT AWAY GET
ANOTHER WOMAN VETERAN. NO ONE WILL ADVOCATE FOR YOU
BETTER THAN ANOTHER WOMAN VETERAN. I HAD MY MOTHER ON MY SIDE,
ANOTHER WOMAN VETERAN. NO ONE CAN ADVOCATE FOR YOU
BETTER THAN YOUR MAMA BUT ANOTHER WOMAN VETERAN WHO HAS
BEEN THERE AND KNOWS THE SYSTEM. WE HAVE AN ENTIRE GROUP OF WOMEN
AND GOVERNMENT AND COMMUNITY LEADERS THAT WANT TO HELP WOMEN
VETERANS BUT YOU NEED TO IDENTIFY YOURSELF. IT’S WORTH GETTING THE SUPPORT. MAYBE ANOTHER SUICIDE STATISTIC
SO BEING ABLE TO ADVOCATE HAS BEEN INCREDIBLE. THANK YOU, LADIES. AS WE CLOSE I’D LIKE TO THANK
YOU ALL FOR JOINING US, SHARING YOUR STORIES AND TALKING ABOUT
WOMEN’S VETERANS’ HEALTH. AND WE HOPE IT SERVES AS A
LAUNCHING PAD FOR MORE COLLABORATION AROUND THE HEALTH
OF WOMEN VETERANS. THIS IS SOMETHING WE’VE BEEN
THERE SINCE THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR BUT WE’RE JUST NOW TALKING
ABOUT IT SO IT’S GREAT. IF YOU’RE A WOMAN VETERAN OR
WORK IN SERVICES FOR WOMEN’S VETERAN WE’D LOVE TO HEAR YOU
FROM AND HEAR TIPS TO BE HEALTHY AND THERE’S NO RIGHT ANSWER AND
EVERY WOMAN IS DIFFERENT. IF YOU’RE WATCHING ON FACEBOOK
POST YOUR COMMENT UNDER THE VIDEO. IF YOU’RE WATCHING ON HHS.gov GO
TO FACEBOOK.com/HHSOWH AND YOU SHOULD LIKE THAT PAGE. THERE’S A LOT OF INFORMATION ON
THERE AND POST YOUR COMMENTS OR YOUR VIDEO. IF YOU’D LIKE MORE INFORMATION
ON HEALTH SERVICES AND SUPPORT YOU AND OTHER WOMEN VETERANS CAN
GET GO TO VA.gov. YOU MENTIONED THE NUMBER BEFORE,
1-855-VAWOMAN. IF YOU’D LIKE GENERAL
INFORMATION ON WOMEN’S HEALTH VISIT WOMENSHEALTH.gov. THANK YOU LADIES SO MUCH. IT WAS A PLEASURE.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *