Women Veterans represent ten percent of North Texas VA’s 204,000 enrolled patients, and more than 600 of its 6,400 employees. As our fastest growing patient population, this growth represents an opportunity to amplify efforts and create programs to ensure timely, equitable, high-quality services for all women Veterans. Health care that is sensitive, private, and comprehensive.
Here’s how we wrapped up our VA Women’s History Month celebration to continue our ongoing employee and patient educational and feedback efforts.
North Texas VA’s Women Veterans Program team held a women Veterans health fair and engagement session with patients and employees at Dallas VA.
Create learning environment
By asking women Veteran and employees what they knew about VA women’s health care, and listening to their voices, feedback and needs, program members and senior leadership created a real-time learning environment that drives future initiatives and efforts.
Fair solicited women’s health care feedback and ideas
“It’s critical that VA employees, managers and senior leaders capture the voices of its patients and employees, and especially those of our women Veterans,” said Dr. Stephen Holt, medical center director. “The best way to ensure we are meeting the comprehensive physical and mental needs of our women Veterans is to get their direct feedback, their ideas and create opportunities that can best integrate them into our programs and services.”
Through our Veteran Outreach program, a team of three specialists met weekly, both formally and informally, with women Veterans and community and Veteran-centric organizations that help women Veterans with a myriad of issues, from benefits and employment to family care and mental health.
Lunch-and-Learn series provided feedback
The team also created an employee lunch-and-learn series to engage and educate VA North Texas’ professionals on women Veteran health care issues. The result of these efforts included a list of commonly asked questions and concerns that the specialists then took back to the women’s health care coordinator and senior leadership for review and action.
Some of the feedback garnered during these meetings resulted in the women’s health fair in March.
“As a woman Veteran and employee who gets my health care at VA, I am passionate about interactions with our women patients and gathering their feedback so we can truly address their health care and social needs,” said Yolonde Rocio, public affairs specialist and women Veterans’ advocate. “By holding in-person and virtual events for patients and employees, we are having conversations that need to happen to ensure we are properly serving those women who’ve selflessly worn the uniform for our country.”
65% increase in enrolled women Veteran population
Since 2016, North Texas VA has realized a 65% increase in its enrolled women Veteran population, further driving initiatives like virtual events and health fairs to best engage with these patients and provide safe and accessible care tailored to their needs.
“As VA employees, we must never overestimate what we think our patients know about our services and underestimate their desire to provide direct and meaningful feedback to people who can improve and build the best health care opportunities,” said Rocio. “We have a debt that we must repay each day to those who’ve served and every action we do must be attributable to this debt.”