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  • Writer's pictureLaking Harris

100 Years of Women's Military Health Care: A Transformative Journey


The landscape of military service in the United States has long been dominated by men, dating back to the American Revolution. However, it was exactly a century ago that a significant milestone was achieved – female veterans were first offered health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In this blog post, we delve into the remarkable journey of women's military health care, highlighting the contributions of female veterans and the evolving landscape of VA health care for women.


A Long-Awaited Recognition

For decades, female veterans like Jessica Maifield, who served in the U.S. Army Reserve for 22 years, faced unique challenges when seeking health care through the VA. Maifield vividly recalls a time when she was frequently questioned in VA hallways about her purpose there. "You know, [it] didn't occur to anybody at that time, 20 years ago, that I was actually the patient," she reflects. Today, Maifield not only receives recognition but also offers care to her fellow female veterans as a nurse practitioner.

Fortunately, accessing health care through the VA has become more streamlined. Maifield emphasizes, "It's very easy to get a referral." Dispelling the misconception that receiving care is a lengthy process, she acknowledges the significant progress made in this regard.

Addressing Unique Needs

Amy Diaz, another U.S. Army veteran, highlights the importance of primary care and specialized women's services. "We want to have access to primary care and women's services for gynecological needs, and even mammography is important," Diaz stresses. These services are vital for women's overall health, and ensuring their availability is a crucial step forward.

Supporting Survivors

The VA also plays a critical role in supporting survivors of sexual assault within the military. Navy Reservist Susan Mayes courageously shared her experience as a survivor, shedding light on the challenges these women face. "There's kind of a blind eye to it," Mayes acknowledges, emphasizing that many survivors remain silent due to the stigma surrounding these incidents.

Mayes emphasizes the importance of seeking treatment for military sexual trauma, highlighting that speaking out and seeking help can make a significant difference. Today, as a Medical Support Assistant, she is committed to supporting survivors and ensuring they receive the care they need.

Explore the full spectrum of women's military health care, from its humble beginnings a century ago to the transformative progress we've witnessed. Join us in celebrating the dedication and resilience of female veterans who have contributed to this lasting legacy. Together, we can continue to champion the cause of women's health care in the military. #WomensMilitaryHealthCare #Veterans #Transformation

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