Employees at the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System participated in a March 16 observance designed to highlight the increasing role of women Veterans in VA.

The Women’s History Month observance was a forum centered around challenges women Veterans face and methods through which employees could impact change.

The hour-long program was highlighted by the announcement of the first “Inspiring Woman of the Month.” The recognition is for women employees who epitomize VA’s ICARE values: Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect and Excellence.

Clinic nurse named Inspiring Woman of the Month

Panama City Beach Clinic Nurse Regina Bragiel was named the award’s inaugural recipient. Equal Employment Opportunity and Federal Women’s Program chair Priscilla Walker made the announcement.

Tara Giammaresi noted that the forum provided information to those attending but also served as a method of reinforcing numerous programs the organization offers. She is Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program manager.

“Our presentations were centered around employees, but so many of the concepts and ideas we discussed are relevant to our Veterans,” Giammaresi said. “This was an opportunity to share tools, resources and information directly available to our patient population that can increase the health and well-being of both our male and female Veterans.”

Giammaresi also discussed Whole Health’s Women Only Wednesdays (WOW!), an initiative designed to promote Whole Health by designating every class offered on Wednesdays as open only to women Veterans.

“These women, along with the hundreds of other women in our health care system, represent the leadership, compassion and caring nature we expect here on the Gulf Coast,” said Health System director Bryan C. Matthews. “I’m honored to work alongside these great women not only during Women’s History Month, but every day.”

The Biloxi VA Medical Center and the Mobile, Pensacola, Eglin and Panama City community-based outpatient clinics are all part of the Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System. It is headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi, and provides a variety of medical outpatient services to more than 82,000 Veterans.

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