“Female veterans are doing the same duties that the men are doing.”
That’s why healthcare leaders say women veterans should be cared for just as much as men.
There are currently over 1,800 female veterans enrolled in the James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona.
Women Veterans Program Manager Susan Yohn says their facility is improving healthcare among female veterans.
“We’re doing it to get our women to come here and let them know that we’re here for them as well as our men,”
New this summer: they’ve hired their first full-time gynecologist, Dr. Joseph Montanaro, MD.
Before this move, they had a part-time gynecologist who was working just ten half-days per year.
“The VA has been a male-dominated area in the past. I think the Altoona VA has been very progressive trying to provide female healthcare knowing that more and more vets are females. This is something that they’re going to need to adjust to,”
There are currently over 2 million women who have served in the military living in the United States.
“They are different than non-veterans. We’re able to provide that more veteran-specific care for them,”
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, women are the fastest growing group in the veteran population.
In 2000, women made up just 4% of veterans, while that number is projected to jump up to 18% in 2040.
“They are expecting an influx of female veterans to come into the VA. What they’re trying to do is to find out what services the women need and for us to get them in place now so that when the women come, we are prepared for it,”
She says female veterans experience different problems than males, like military sexual trauma and more joint damages.
Leaders at the VA say they’re excited to start integrating more involving women including mental health and dietician services into their programs.
“It’s just very thrilling. It’s a satisfaction coming to work and knowing that we’re making a difference for our women veterans,”
For those who might feel uncomfortable or don’t want to take the leap, VA officials say you can check the facility and program out first.
“I think providing a full service for the female vets is really the key: providing more care locally, having the convenience, and building the trust,”
They say it’s to better serve those male or female who have served our country.