A new test program between the Air Force and the Veterans Affairs Department wants to help female airmen as they transition to the civilian world or Reserve/Guard status.
The goal of the Women’s Health Transition Pilot Program is to “provide a female perspective” and connect female airmen with relevant care from the Veterans Health Administration, according to an Air Force news release.
Women are the fastest growing subgroup of veterans in the United States, and they face such health-related challenges as chronic pain, obesity, musculoskeletal issues, depression and suicide, according to the news release.
The release said that since 2001, age-adjusted suicide rates among female veterans have increased by 85.2 percent. Suicide rates among male veterans have increased by 30.5 percent since 2001.
Fewer female veterans seek services and support from the VA, according to the release, and those who do seek care don't do so until an average of 2.7 years after leaving the military or until health issues have manifested.
“The biggest obstacle that the VA faces is simply awareness on what they provide to female veterans,” Maj. Alea Nadeem, Headquarters Air Force deputy mission manager and member of the Women Initiatives Team, said in the release.
Nadeem said data underscores the need to recruit female service members into Veterans Health Administration care and support services immediately after they separate from the military.
The Women’s Health Transition Pilot Program will be reaching out to female airmen at five different locations in coming weeks:
Joint Base Andrews, Maryland: Aug. 23 and Sept. 18; call 301-981-7087
Hill Air Force Base, Utah: Aug. 14; call 801-777-4681
MacDill Air Force Base, Florida: Aug. 27 and Sept. 17; call 813-828-0145
Pentagon: Aug. 22 and Sept. 21; call 703-693-9460
Scott Air Force Base, Illinois: Aug. 20 and Sept. 21; 618-256-8668
To attend, contact your local Airman and Family Readiness Center.