Serving Women Veterans

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Dr. Batumen and Veteran Patricia Cowell
Dr. Batumen and Veteran Patricia Cowell

Did you know the fastest growing Veteran population is women Veterans?  They account for nearly eight percent of the total Veteran population. By 2020, VA estimates women will make up to ten percent of the Veteran population. At GLA the Women’s Health Program is vibrant and the care is comprehensive.

“Women have historically contributed significantly in the armed forces for more than 220 years and they continue to proudly serve through the present day.  We are honored to offer quality health care services to our nations Veterans and we will continue to provide the excellent care they deserve,” said GLA Director, Donna Beiter.

GLA’s Women’s Health Program is maintained and developed by Dr. Fatma Batuman, GLA’s Medical Director of Women’s Health and Callie Wight, GLA Women’s Veteran Program Manager. Dr. Batuman oversees all women’s health clinics across GLA and supervises all the women’s health providers. Among many other services, Dr. Batuman is responsible for all issues related to women’s health for GLA. Wight ensures women Veterans receive quality, comprehensive medical care in a safe and sensitive environment.  She also promotes systems and practices that enhance women Veterans’ satisfaction, and many more services.

At GLA, several initiatives have been created to enhance services for women Veterans. Specialized programs for women Veterans who have experienced severe circumstances in their lives rendering them homeless or at serious risk of homelessness have been developed. Also, GLA’s Women’s Health Program is one of VA’s leaders in managing women’s breast health with two state-of-the-art mammography centers located at WLA and SACC. In addition, key environment of care improvements have been made that affect the privacy, safety, and dignity of our female patients and their families.

Recently, WLA’s Women’s Clinic started the MOVE program for women with 16 patients participating. This multidisciplinary program includes the following: primary care provider, psychiatrist, and a dietitian.

Previously, GLA’s Women’s Clinics were available by appointment only and only on select days of the week.  However, access to care has been an important issue for Dr. Batuman and she has addressed it at GLA.

“Using existing staff, I reorganized our clinics in order to create five day/week primary care access at WLA for appointments and walk-in care; a women’s health clinic at LAACC, a women’s health clinic at SACC, and additional days for specialized gynecology care at WLA.  I also supported our mental health providers in their efforts to expand hours of operation to support returning OEF/OIF female Veterans who have significant mental health issues,” said Dr. Batuman.

“Comprehensive health care and mental health care services are provided to our women Veterans throughout our healthcare system. At any of our clinics, women Veterans can be cared for by staff who understand their unique needs and honors them as women who have served proudly  in our nation’s military,” said Wight.

The largest group of VA researchers focused on women Veterans’ health and health care in the nation are at GLA. Current research studies include: examining risk factors for homelessness among female Veterans and designing a vulnerability assessment tool for use nationwide, research among military women and women Veterans, the design of interventions to reduce gender disparities, and several more.

Understanding the needs of the women Veteran population has been a priority of VA and Congress since the early 1990’s. Our programs and services provided to women Veterans cover a full range of health needs. If you have questions please contact Dr. Batuman at 310-478-3711 x83487 or Wight at 818-895-9555.

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