Examining health needs of female veterans

The Challenge 

Little is known about the long-term health and mental health status of female Vietnam veterans. For many of these women, the effects of this war are still present in their daily lives.

As the majority of these women approach their mid-60s, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) seeks to better understand the impact of wartime deployment on health and mental health outcomes nearly 40 years later in order to plan for future utilization of health care by this population.

To do this, the VA chose Westat to conduct a large, nationwide study of the mental and physical health status of female Vietnam veterans.

Our Solutions 

  • For this study, Westat
    • Verified a subset of female veterans’ service records to determine their eligibility for inclusion in the study cohort
    • Mailed them a survey to ask about their residence and whether they had any physical, psychological, or other medical conditions
    • Conducted telephone interviews to assess their exposure to traumatic events during the war and their current mental health
    • Compared the rates of mental and physical health problems among female Vietnam veterans and veteran women who did not serve in Vietnam

The Results 

  • This research provides important insight into issues of military service that have not been fully explored and that change as veterans get older.
  • The VA will use the study results to assess and better target the services it provides to female Vietnam veterans.

Our Client 

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)