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Health Effects of Military Service on Women Veterans

Evidence-based Synthesis Program

Investigators: Fatma Batuman, MD, Bevanne Bean-Mayberry, MD, MHS, Caroline Goldzweig, MD, MSPH, Christine Huang, MD, Isomi M Miake-Lye, BA, Donna L Washington, MD, MPH, Elizabeth M Yano, PhD, MSPH, Laurie C Zephyrin, MD, MPH, MBA, and Paul G Shekelle, MD, PhD.

Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs (US); 2011 May.
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Women Veterans are among the fastest growing groups of new VA health care users of the VA healthcare system, and currently reflect approximately eight percent of all U.S. Veterans. With Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF), women comprise a larger percentage of the military (11.3 percent) than of prior military operations. As of fiscal year 2010, 51.3 percent of female OEF/OIF Veterans had enrolled in VA health care, in sharp contrast to women from previous eras (an estimated 11 percent). Of this group, 88 percent have used VA health care more than once.

To better understand the needs of this rapidly growing group, women Veterans' health research has expanded as well. Two previous systematic reviews examined the literature on women Veterans' health and health care up to 2008. In this review, we specifically explored women Veterans' post-deployment health, with two main areas of concentration: 1) post-deployment effects on reproductive health for women Veterans, and 2) post-trauma sequelae among women Veterans from the OEF/OIF cohort.

The published literature on deployment and post-deployment health was included in the two previous systematic literature reviews. Most of the extant literature focused on the population of Veterans from OEF/OIF. The previous review also examined the reproductive health literature among military women and women Veterans. However, the previous reviews assessed the literature up through 2008, while the current review further updates these topics by examining them in more detail and extending the literature search through 2010.

Contents

Prepared for: Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Health Services Research & Development Service, Washington, DC 20420. Prepared by: Evidence-based Synthesis Program (ESP) Center, West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, Paul G. Shekelle, M.D., Ph.D., Director

Suggested citation:

Batuman F, Bean-Mayberry B, Goldzweig CL, Huang C, Miake-Lye IM, Washington DL, Yano EM, Zephyrin LC, Shekelle PG. Health Effects of Military Service on Women Veterans. VA-ESP Project # 05-226; 2011.

This report is based on research conducted by the Evidence-based Synthesis Program (ESP) Center located at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration, Office of Research and Development, Health Services Research and Development. The findings and conclusions in this document are those of the author(s) who are responsible for its contents; the findings and conclusions do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States government. Therefore, no statement in this article should be construed as an official position of the Department of Veterans Affairs. No investigators have any affiliations or financial involvement (e.g., employment, consultancies, honoraria, stock ownership or options, expert testimony, grants or patents received or pending, or royalties) that conflict with material presented in the report.

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