Health Services Research & Development

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Improving Care for Female Veterans


Efforts to improve healthcare for women have focused on enhancing women’s knowledge about their health and healthcare needs, as well as ensuring that medical services that women require are available. However, less attention has been given to barriers associated with healthcare providers’ attitudes, sensitivity, and knowledge as they relate to caring for female patients. This study evaluated the efficacy of a computerized educational program aimed at enhancing "gender awareness" (e.g., stereotypes, sensitivity, knowledge) among VA healthcare providers (n=158) at two Boston area facilities. The computer program targets identified deficits in gender awareness, including attitudes about women’s use of medical care and services, sensitivity toward female patients’ privacy needs, knowledge about women’s military service, and their use of VA healthcare services. Findings from this study show significant improvements in sensitivity and knowledge for VA healthcare providers who used the computerized program compared to those who did not (control group). Results also show high user satisfaction: 89% of participants indicated that they learned a great deal about women veterans and their healthcare, and 94% agreed that they would recommend the training program to co-workers.

PubMed Logo Vogt D, Bergeron A, and King L. Toward Gender-Aware Health Care: Evaluation of an Intervention to Enhance Care for Female Patients in the VA Setting. Journal of Health Psychology July 2008;13(5):624-638.

This study was supported by HSR&D and VA’s National Center for PTSD. Drs. Vogt and King are part of VA’s National Center for PTSD, VA Boston Healthcare System.

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What are HSR&D Publication Briefs?

HSR&D requires notification by HSR&D-funded investigators about all articles accepted for publication. These journal articles are reviewed by HSR&D and publication briefs or summaries are written for a select number of articles that are then forwarded to VHA Central Office leadership to keep them informed about important findings or information. Articles to be summarized are selected by HSR&D based on timeliness of the findings, interest of leadership, or potential impact on the organization. Publication briefs are written for only a small number of HSR&D published articles. Visit the HSR&D citations database for a complete listing of HSR&D articles and presentations.