VA study to target women Vietnam veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs is launching a comprehensive study of women veterans who served in the military during the Vietnam War to explore the effects of their military service upon their mental and physical health. The study, which begins in November and lasts more than four years, will contact approximately 10,000 women, and information will gathered by a mail survey, a telephone interview and a review of medical records for a selected sample of women.

As women Vietnam veterans approach their mid-60s, it is important to understand the impact of wartime deployment on health and mental outcomes nearly 40 years later. The study will assess the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental and physical health conditions for women Vietnam veterans, and explore the relationship between PTSD and other conditions.

VA will study female Vietnam veterans who may have had direct exposure to traumatic events, and, for the first time, study those who served in facilities near Vietnam and in the United States. These women may have had similar, but less direct, exposures. Both women veterans who receive their health care from VA and those who receive health care from other providers will be contacted to determine the prevalence of a variety of health conditions.

About 250,000 women veterans served in the military during the Vietnam War, and about 7,000 were in or near Vietnam. Those who were in Vietnam, those who served elsewhere in Southeast Asia and those who served in the United States are potential study participants.

The study represents to date the most comprehensive examination of women veterans, and will be used to shape future research on women veterans in future wars. Such an understanding will lay the groundwork for planning and providing appropriate services for women veterans, as well as for the aging veteran population today.

For more information on the study, go to imformation on how to participate in the study, call (888) 831-3325.