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Biol Res Nurs. 2010 Oct;12(2):171-7. doi: 10.1177/1099800410375299. Epub 2010 Aug 26.

A call to action for evidence-based military women's health care: developing a women's health research agenda that addresses sex and gender in health and illness.

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U.S. Army Nurse Corps, Nursing Research Service, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, HI 96859, USA.


Women in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines are serving in complex occupational specialties that sustain national policy and ensure combat effectiveness of our forces. Their roles have evolved from supportive roles during early conflicts to active roles in combat support and counterinsurgency operations today. Although women have received military health care over the past three decades, sex- and gender-specific care has been limited to reproductive needs and has rarely addressed military-specific health risks and outcomes. The complexity of military jobs and increased deployments to combat operations has led to increased occupational and health risks for women. As differences have been noted between men and women's deployment-related health outcomes, it is incumbent on the Military Health Care System (MHS) to create an evidence base that addresses sex and gender differences in the health of its service members. A working group of military women's health advanced practice nurses (APN) and research experts proposes to address this gap in knowledge and practices through sex- and gender-specific research. A sex-and gender-based research agenda for military women's health will be a valuable instrument to those who are dedicated to the health of this population, including members of the Army, Navy, and Air Force military nursing community. Using the knowledge that the research agenda generates, military health care providers can develop clinical practice guidelines, influence policy, and participate in program development to improve the health of servicewomen. Shaping a sex- and gender-specific military women's health research agenda will create the foundation for future evidence-based care.

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