Have you attended the Women’s Health Transition training?
I left the military in 2007. If you asked me then what I thought of a VA health care training program specifically for women service members, my response probably would have been something like:
- I don’t want special treatment because I’m female.
- Am I even eligible for VA health care?
- But I’ve heard everything about VA is so complicated.
I could not have known then that 13 years later, I would use VA’s health care system for everything from mammograms to respiratory testing and prescription refills to urgent care.
Here are a few other things I didn’t know then either:
- Fifty-nine percent of women Veterans listed navigating VA benefits as their greatest challenge when transitioning.
- Women Veterans commit suicide at almost twice the rate of our civilian counterparts.
- When asked by their VA provider, 1 in 3 women (compared to 1 in 100 men) report experiencing Military Sexual Trauma.
- Women are the fastest-growing homeless Veteran demographic according to a 2018 VA report.
Thankfully, the focus on women Veterans and their needs has increased since I left the service and so have the programs designed to meet those needs.
The Women’s Health Transition Training Program (WHTT) helps female service members and Veteran women learn about the services VA provides and how to enroll in VA health care. You can enroll in a class here.
It’s offered online twice per day, five days per week.
What the training covers
I recently sat in on the training to see for myself what it covered, and I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was the training led by women Veterans, military spouses, and women health professionals, it also:
- Covered the wide variety of services VA offers women, from physical therapy for injuries caused by gear that didn’t fit us properly to birth control and fertility resources.
- Introduced the points of contact, such as Maternity Care Coordinators and LGBT Coordinators who women Veterans can reach out to for assistance.
- Demonstrated how to locate your nearest VA health care facility.
- Explained when in the transition timeline women Veterans can begin enrolling in VA care and how to get enrolled.
- Sets women Veterans up to be advocates for their own care.
I had to navigate VA health care the old-fashioned way – through trial and error. But this training provides a leg up to the new wave of women Veterans by giving them the information they need about VA health care before they need the health care.
If you’re a transitioning service woman or new woman Veteran, I highly recommend you join the more than 750 other women Veterans who have already taken advantage of this free training resource.
Sarah Maples is an Air Force Veteran.