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Integration of Women Veterans into VA Quality Improvement Research Efforts: What Researchers Need to Know

  • Author(s): Yano, Elizabeth M.
  • Hayes, Patricia
  • Wright, Steven
  • Schnurr, Paula P.
  • Lipson, Linda
  • Bean-Mayberry, Bevanne
  • Washington, Donna L.
  • et al.
Abstract

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other federal agencies require funded researchers to include women in their studies. Historically, many researchers have indicated they will include women in proportion to their VA representation or pointed to their numerical minority as justification for exclusion. However, women’s participation in the military—currently 14% of active military—is rapidly changing veteran demographics, with women among the fastest growing segments of new VA users. These changes will require researchers to meet the challenge of finding ways to adequately represent women veterans for meaningful analysis. We describe women veterans’ health and health-care use, note how VA care is organized to meet their needs, report gender differences in quality, highlight national plans for women veterans’ quality improvement, and discuss VA women’s health research. We then discuss challenges and potential solutions for increasing representation of women veterans in VA research, including steps for implementation research.

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