In recent years, the ranks of women Veterans have swelled. Their numbers are estimated to increase at a rate of 18,000 per year over the next decade, according to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) data.
As female Veterans seek care in greater numbers at VA, they must have access to providers trained in primary care as well as gender-specific services such as breast and cervical cancer screenings and prenatal care.
Enter Dr. Mahdieh Parizi, who chose a career as a VA breast radiologist and now serves at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center Women’s Health Center in Houston, a city and region with more than 24,000 female Veterans, according to the Harris County Veteran Service Office. Texas is home to over 145,000 women Veterans, county data show.
“Dr. Parizi is our breast radiologist and having her in the clinic is just wonderful because she is very accommodating, and she’s very focused on providing accessible and high-quality care to our Veterans,” said Dr. Rola El-Serag, medical director of the Women’s Health Center, in a video.
VA data show that female Veterans are younger than their male counterparts. They return to civilian life to start both families and careers. VA provides women with a comprehensive suite of healthcare services, which are coordinated at the VA medical center level by the Women Veterans Program Manager.
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The Women’s Health Center, which opened two years ago, took VA’s commitment to care for women Veterans to a new level. Center specialists like Parizi work alongside primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, case managers and psychologists. “We’re very fortunate to have an all-encompassing very inclusive, comprehensive women’s center,” Parizi said.
She makes full use of advanced medical technology available at this centralized location: the Women’s Health Center features state-of-the-art breast imaging equipment and a full maternity care facility.
When Parizi joins colleagues during a patient’s primary care visit, she can order a specific test or tests, or fit in a cancer screening for those unable to make multiple trips for appointments. Should screening results reveal an abnormality, Parizi told Texas Medical Center News in 2017, the team can conduct additional tests that same day.
Parizi welcomes the opportunity to give back to those who have served. “I find that our Veterans are a very honorable population,” she said. “And it’s an honor to be able to serve them and provide quality healthcare for them.”
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Dr. Parizi’s choice of VA career allows her to serve the growing number of women Veterans.
See if a VA career as a physician is the right choice for you too.