, Volume 28, Issue 2 Supplement, pp 504-509,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 27 Jun 2013

The VA Women’s Health Practice-Based Research Network: Amplifying Women Veterans’ Voices in VA Research

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INTRODUCTION

Abraham Lincoln founded the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) “to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphan.” While women have served in every U.S. military conflict since the American Revolution, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) paid little heed to the specific needs of women Veterans for much of its early history.1 In parallel, there was scarce research focusing on women Veterans; indeed, female gender was often an exclusion criterion in earlier research studies. In that era, women Veterans’ voice in research was muted at best.

The landscape truly began to change in 2004 with the national VA women’s health research agenda-setting conference.2 The 5 years following that conference saw publication of more articles that focused on women Veterans or included women Veterans than in the prior 25 years taken together.3

Despite these achievements, the chasm between the existing evidence base and the needed evidence base remains wide. T ...