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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Women's Health Center Provides Top Quality Care

May 6, 2015

From left to right: Ireatha L. Wardsworth, RN, MSN, Maternity Care Coordinator; Rola El-Serag, MD, Medical Director of Women’s Health Program; and Carmen I. Rivera, RN, BSN, Breast Care Coordinator. Photo provided by the Women’s Health Center

The saying “everything is bigger in Texas” is not unfamiliar to VA employees and Veterans in the Houston area.  With more than 103,000 registered Veterans, MEDVAMC is one of the largest and most complex VA Medical Centers in the country.  What you may not know is that the state of Texas is also home to the largest population of women Veterans in the country.  More than 177,000 female Veterans reside in Texas and a growing number of them are seeking care at the MEDVAMC. 

“We are proud to provide top quality health care to more than 12,000 female Veterans,” said Dr. Rola El-Serag, Director of the Medical Center’s Women’s Health Center.  “More and more women are getting out of the military and seeking the specialized care we are ready and waiting to provide.  In the last few years, the number of women Veterans we treat has more than doubled and we expect that trend to continue.”

In addition to primary care, the Houston VA offers women Veterans a top notch Gynecology Department with full time 24/7 gynecology coverage and a full array of gynecological surgeries including limited infertility evaluations. The Medical Center has 55 providers in Primary Care, Women’s Health and our outpatient clinics, that are specially trained to treat women Veterans. 

To accommodate the growing number of women Veterans in their childbearing years, the Medical Center recently hired a Maternity Care Coordinator to specifically assist women Veterans with managing their maternity care.  The Medical Center also employs a full time Breast Care Coordinator and is looking at expanding Women’s Health Services even more in the future.

“We recognize that women Veterans have unique needs and we really tailor our program to offer them comprehensive gender-sensitive care,” El-Serag said.  “Our Women’s Health Center has a dedicated entrance and exit and we plan to expand to offer additional breast care services on-site soon.”

In addition to gynecology services, the MEDVAMC Women’s Health program offers women Veterans reproductive healthcare, menopause management, counseling and treatment for sexual trauma and assault that may have occurred during military service, breast exams and mammography, readjustment counseling and much more.  MEDVAMC is also home to the nationally  renowned Women’s Inpatient Specialty Environment of Recovery (WISER) program.  WISER is a trauma-informed, intensive 4-5 week inpatient treatment approach tailored specifically for women Veterans with a diagnosis of PTSD, mood or anxiety disorder, and a co-occurring substance abuse/dependence.

“MEDVAMC is committed to meeting the needs of women Veterans by delivering the highest quality of care while offering them privacy, dignity and sensitivity to gender-specific needs,” said El-Serag.  “Women Veterans have made and continue to make significant contributions in their service to our country.  It’s an honor and privilege for us to serve them.”

For more information about VA’s Women’s Health Center, call (713) 794-2834.