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How The VA Can Help Our Female Veterans

Women are the fastest growing segment in the US military, already accounting for approximately 14 percent of deployed forces. According to statistics from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), 20 percent of new recruits and 17 percent of Reserve and National Guard Forces are women. As the number of women continues to grow in the military, so does the need for health care specifically targeted to their unique concerns.

Historically, lower rates of female veterans have used the VA system. “Research has shown that women didn’t define themselves as veterans in the past, and this is changing,” said Antonette Zeiss, PhD, a clinical psychologist and Acting Chief for Mental Health Services at the VA Central Office in Washington, DC.

Now, “Women are among the fastest growing segments of new VA users with as many as 44 percent of women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan electing to use the VA compared to 11 percent in prior eras,” said Sally Haskell, MD, Acting Director of Comprehensive Women’s Health, at the VA Central Office.

This change is due in large part to Read more »

*This blog post was originally published at Society for Women's Health Research (SWHR)*

Underwear 2.0: The Military’s Vital-Monitoring Briefs

You just can’t make this stuff up:

The underwear project, spearheaded by the nanoengineering professor, was funded by the U.S. military and its effectiveness will likely be tested on the battlefield.

“This specific project involves monitoring the injury of soldiers during battlefield surgery,” Wang told Reuters. “The goal is to develop minimally invasive sensors that can locate, in the field, and identify the type of injury.”

Ultimately, the waistband sensors will be able to direct the release of drugs to treat the wounded soldier.

I wonder what other creative uses our men in uniform will find for this? I can hear it now: “It’s not the size of the device, honey, it’s the metronome that’s in it!” (Heh.)

-WesMusings of a cardiologist and cardiac electrophysiologist.

*This blog post was originally published at Dr. Wes*

US Airways: Unsung Corporate Hero?

usairwaysWhen it comes to facilitating transportation for wounded military personnel and their families, US Airways tops the generosity list, providing about $1 million in complimentary plane tickets/year. Steve Craven, a volunteer pilot with Mercy Medical Airlift, sat next to me en route to a recent Red Cross volunteer recognition ceremony at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. He told me about the great lengths that some airlines will go to to help military families in need. For example, United Airlines and Delta Airlines have both recently offered assistance with the transportation of military personnel to cancer centers of excellence. Sadly, American Airlines, Continental Airlines, and Southwest Airlines have repeatedly turned down requests for assistance.

According to Mr. Craven, his organization coordinates about 25,000 Angel Flights, 10,000 cancer-related flights, and 6,000 Iraq war veteran flights (via Air Compassion for Veterans) per year, with over 7,000 volunteer angel pilots nationwide. Mercy Medical Airlift also runs a National Patient Travel Center which acts as a clearing house/military travel agency for charitable ticket programs, air ambulance discounts, and special lift programs – including transportation to the NIH for clinical trials.

I asked Mr. Craven what sort of patients need the air ambulance service. He responded that often times elderly veterans or military personnel with terminal illnesses wish to die at home (rather than in a specialty hospital or facility) but are too sick to travel in a regular airplane. The air ambulance service allows them to fulfill their last wish and die with dignity.

Sometimes, military families have a very sick child and have exhausted their resources but need specialty treatment at an academic center. Mercy Medical Airlift makes sure they get where they need to go. Once there, the families often stay at Ronald McDonald House or Fisher House. We’re so grateful to our partner airlines who make it possible for military families to stay together in times of medical hardship.

I offer my thanks to US Airways for their generosity to military personnel and their families – as a rehab physician, I know how much it means to them to have their family with them in sickness and in health.

Secretary Robert Gates Addresses The Red Cross At Walter Reed

Secretary Robert Gates Addresses The Red Cross At Walter Reed

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