JULY 18, 2019 – The Department of Veterans Affairs partnered with the Department of Defense to implement the first Women’s Health Transition Training. The program is an in-person and virtual course designed to provide a female perspective to active-duty, Reserve and National Guard servicewomen who plan to transition to civilian or Reserve/National Guard status.
According to the VA, women are the fastest growing subgroup of U.S. veterans. They face greater health-related challenges after military service compared to their male counterparts, including: chronic pain, obesity, musculoskeletal issues, depression and suicide. Since 2001, age-adjusted rates of suicide among women veterans have increased by 85.2%, versus 30.5% among men.
“The biggest obstacle that the VA faces is simply awareness on what they provide to female veterans,” said Maj. Alea Nadeem, Headquarters Air Force deputy mission manager and member of the Air Force Women Initiatives Team. “That statistic, it was heartbreaking to learn, and it really drove me to help in developing this program that could potentially save lives.”
Data collected uncovered that fewer women veterans seek services and support from the VA. For example, women veterans with a psychiatric diagnosis do not connect with VA mental health care until a median of 2.4 years post military service vs. a median of 2.1 years in male counterparts.
“These trends underscore the need to recruit servicewomen into (Veterans Health Administration) health care and support services immediately after military separation,” Nadeem said.
In July 2018, the VA Women’s Health Transition Training Program started as a pilot at five Air Force bases. By June 2019, the training began operating as an official VA program and expanded to Army, Navy, and Marine Corps installations. The training is expected to transition ownership to the Veterans Benefits Administration in 2021.
“By providing relevant VHA health enrollment information, and describing the extent and depth of services offered at VHA related to women’s health, women veterans will learn how to access the health care services that they need and want at the VA in a timely manner,” Nadeem said.
The in-person courses are currently being provided in multiple national locations and the virtual offering is expected to be deployed August 2019. To attend an upcoming course at one of the available locations, please reach out to the site contact provided below:
Location: Fort Jackson, S.C.
In-Person Date: August 6, 2019 – 22 October 2019
Contact Information: Call the Transition Service Manager at 803-751-1723
Location: MacDill Air Force Base, Fla.
In-Person Date: August 12, 2019 – October 28, 2019
Contact Information: Visit the Military and Family Readiness Center or call 813-828-0145
Location: Joint Base Andrews, Md.
In-Person Date: September 13, 2019 – November 1, 2019
Contact Information: Visit the Airman and Family Readiness Center or call 301-981-2450
Location: The Pentagon, Arlington, Va.
In-Person Date: July 19, 2019 – October 4, 2019
Contact Information: Visit the Airman and Family Readiness Center or call 703-693-9460
Location: Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio
In-Person Date: 18 July 2019 – 31 October 2019
Contact Information: Visit the Airman and Family Readiness Center or call 937-257-3592
Location: Naval Base San Diego, Calif.
In-Person Date: August 27, 2019 – November 5, 2019
Contact Information: Call Mr. Stan Beason at 619-556-9874
Location: Norfolk Naval Station, Va.
In-Person Date: August 16, 2019 – October 4, 2019
Contact Information: Visit the Fleet and Family Readiness Center or call 757-444-6089
Location: Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wa.
In-Person Date: August 22, 2019 – October 17, 2019
Contact Information: Visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-health-transition-pilot-training-at-jblm-tickets-51261264823 or call 253-477-4744
Location: Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.
In-Person Date: August 8, 2019 – October 24, 2019
Contact Information: Call 843-228-2761
Location: Fort Bragg, N.C.
In-Person Date: September 11, 2019 – December 4, 2019
Contact Information: Email the Transition Services Manager at William.b.McMillian.email@example.com
Location: Travis AFB, Calif.
In-Person Date: November 3, 2019
Contact Information: Call the Airmen & Family Readiness Center at 707-424-7600
Location: Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif.
In-Person Date: August 26, 2019 – November 4, 2019
Contact Information: https://mccscp-ic.eventbrite.com
By Staff Sgt. Victoria H. Taylor, Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs