ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) --
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Women’s Health Services and the Department of the Air Force’s Women’s Initiative Team collaborated to establish training that provides information on health services available to women who are separating or retiring from the military.
The virtual training is taught by women veterans who actively use VA health care services. The five-phase curriculum covers topics such as enrolling in the VA, understanding the Veterans Health Administration and utilizing available female-specific services.
“There's a lot of different challenges that women veterans face when they depart service, and I think different issues compared to their male peers, (it’s not that) one gender experiences it worse — it’s just one gender experiences it differently,” said Maj. Alea Nadeem, Women’s Initiative Team chair. “Women have different outcomes when they depart service, and so, this is why this was created — to acknowledge that … there's some differences, and we need to get some parity between men and women when they depart service.”
The course is available to all active duty, guard and reserve servicewomen. For Nadeem, the reasons women should attend the Women’s Health Transition Training is two-fold.
“Take advantage of someone educating you on very specific things to females--not a lot of times do we get that in the military … so I think it's kind of a neat opportunity,” Nadeem said. “I think women should take advantage of the program because it sends a demand signal to the VA, (the service is) going to need more of these specialty care items in the future as women go back into the growing population … it's really for the future generations to make sure that they have the healthcare that they need.”
Master Sgt. Bethaney Tolley, 365th Training Squadron heavy avionics flight chief, recently attended the training in preparation for her retirement, and recommends her fellow servicewomen do the same.
“Because of COVID, we're really not getting all the information we should get as far as the Veterans Health Administration goes, so this is a fantastic distance learning course that we can attend,” Tolley said. “In my opinion, when you have resources out there, it's better to have more information than not enough, so I figured since I'm getting ready to retire and this deals with the Veterans Health Administration, I wanted to learn as much as I could. I had no clue how the VA worked or how to find places to see the doctors and things of that nature, so this really helped a lot.”
Virtual training sessions are offered twice a day until December 21, 2020. The 2021 calendar is still being finalized.
Women may sign up for the course 24 months prior to separation. Those interested in attending, can register at www.va.gov/womenvet/whtt/. Participants are not limited to training sessions in their own time zone.
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