Veteran Woman Recommends Safe Space for VA Healthcare

Have you wondered what women’s healthcare looks like in VA? Women veterans can get holistic care they can trust at Women’s Health Clinics at VA Medical Centers.

Enrollment in VA health care allows eligible women veterans access to comprehensive women’s care services like primary care, including immunizations and screening; reproductive health care, including breast and gynecological care; family planning, prenatal and maternity care, menopause management and mental health care.

Air Force and Operation Enduring Freedom veteran Ebony Gray tells other female veterans that VA’s attention to their needs also helps “make us feel comfortable and like we have a community”.

Female veterans are a diverse group – professionals, mothers, retirees – of varying ages, races, ethnicities, gender identities and sexual orientations. No matter how you identify, your women’s healthcare team is here to help you stay healthy through all stages of life.

A safe space for women

VA is committed to providing high quality care for female veterans and to being a safe and welcoming space. Each VA medical center has a female veteran program manager to help coordinate the care and services you need. The Women’s Veterans Call Center can help you connect with the women’s clinic at your local facility.

Many female veterans are hesitant to enroll in VA health care. Gray has shared these concerns in the past, but turned to VA when she needed a safe space with providers who understand the unique needs and experiences of female veterans. She now encourages other female veterans to do the same.

“Having this safe space at the women’s clinic is cool because I just walked in. I know I’m surrounded by women and I feel so safe,” Gray said. The clinic allows her to receive all her care from providers she trusts in a space just for her. “I felt comfortable in this space. Immediately, I was given my own team. I have my own primary care physician who works in the women’s health clinic and my own psychologist.

Able to create his “new normal”

VA provides specialized treatment, including single-sex counseling groups, for survivors of military sexual trauma (STD). Gray experienced the STD at the hands of his ex-partner. His military career suffered along with his mental health as his career excelled. Once she arrived in VA, her primary care provider referred her to a counseling group where she learned ways to cope with her trauma and create her “new normal.”

“Working in our group, being among other female veterans, sharing our stories and making connections…it changed the whole trajectory of my life,” Gray said.

Through counseling, she “unstuck” from her trauma and moved forward in her education and career. “VA is my community,” she added.

Through her experiences with VA care, she offers some advice to fellow female veterans: “Don’t be afraid to really identify and ask for what you want. Communicate with your primary care provider and, most importantly, enroll in the women’s health clinic and take advantage of specialist care.

Want to learn more and sign up for VA healthcare? Visit www.choose.va.gov/health for more information and apply today.

About Stephen Ewing

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