DoD, VA Partner to Offer Women's Health Transition Training

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The Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are partnering to present Health Transition Training for female military members who are segueing to civilian life.

The program, which is designed to provide a female perspective to active-duty, Reserve and National Guard servicewomen who plan to transition to civilian or Reserve/National Guard status, is being offered in both in-person and online versions.

Women now make up 15% of active-duty and 18% of Guard/Reserve service members. Based on the upward trend of women in all branches of service, the number of female veterans and VA users is expected to double in the next decade.

Related: Check out special programs for women veterans offered by the VA.

As the fastest growing subgroup of veterans, women face greater health-related challenges after military service compared to their male counterparts, according to the VA. These include chronic pain, obesity, musculoskeletal issues, depression and suicide. Since 2001, age-adjusted rates of suicide among female veterans have increased by 85.2%, versus 30.5% among men.

Data show that fewer female veterans seek services and support from the VA. For example, female vets with a psychiatric diagnosis do not connect with VA mental health care until a median of 2.4 years post military service vs. a median of 2.1 years for their male counterparts.

To address this underutilization of VA services by female veterans, and make women aware of the benefits for which they are eligible, the VA introduced the VA Women's Health Transition Training Program in July 2018 as a pilot program at five Air Force bases. By June 2019, the training began operating as an official VA program and expanded to all branches of the military. The training is expected to be fully operational in 2021.

The in-person courses are currently being provided in multiple national locations; the virtual offering is expected to be deployed worldwide in August 2019. Check with your transition office for more details.

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