Adagio Health and RAND Corporation conduct Women Veterans Needs Assessment

Adagio Health and RAND Corporation conduct Women Veterans Needs Assessment
Highmark Foundation and Department of Human Services provide funding

Pittsburgh, PA (November 10, 2022) – “Don’t forget about us.” That’s one sentiment that has been shared as Adagio Health and RAND Corporation conduct one of western Pennsylvania’s first-ever Women Veterans Needs Assessment. The unique initiative is grant-funded in the amount of $168,000 from Highmark Foundation, along with funding from Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services that Pennsylvania Senator Jay Costa (D), Senator Lindsey Williams (D), Representative Natalie Mihalek (R), and former Senator Pam Iovino helped to secure on behalf of Adagio Health. 

At times referred to as “invisible veterans,” women veterans are a group that has been historically overlooked and underappreciated – with their needs left underexamined. Adagio Health has supported veterans accessing the organization’s health services since 2018. Many of those patients and clients are women veterans.

In 2018, Adagio Health set a goal of further expanding the organization’s services and care for women veterans. Now, Adagio Health has partnered with the RAND Corporation to conduct a Women Veterans Needs Assessment – reported to be the first-of-its-kind assessment on this topic in western Pennsylvania.

The RAND report will assist Adagio Health and other stakeholders working to identify the unmet needs of women veterans across all service areas. It will also summarize programs, services, and supports applicable to providing increased care; analyze gaps in programs and services; and recommend areas in which unmet needs can be addressed. 

“We are proud to be engaged in this work, and it is our privilege to provide care and services to women veterans in western Pennsylvania,” said BJ Leber, President and CEO of Adagio Health. “We are grateful for the generous support and ongoing commitment to women veterans demonstrated by our partners at Highmark Foundation, and by all those who support this work. Women veterans are a unique and oftentimes vulnerable population, and we look forward to better understanding their needs when the RAND report is released next year.”

Conducted over a 12-month period, Adagio Health expects to use the findings in the RAND report to provide improved health care services and supports, including:
  • Quality physical health care
  • Behavioral health services
  • Family planning education and resources
  • Community support services
According to a 2015 study by Carter and Kidder, only 38% of veterans are satisfied with veteran services in their communities. Another report by Perkins, Aronson, and Olson cites that women veterans are more likely than male veterans to be low-income, food insecure, and to be victims of military sexual abuse and trauma. Previous reports have also suggested that some women veterans choose not to receive care at their closest VA medical center – with reasons for that decision ranging from extended wait times for appointments, lack of transportation or access to a VA Center, or gender discrimination in a male-dominated military system.

Highmark Foundation has been a staunch supporter of Adagio Health’s women veterans’ initiatives. In 2019, Highmark Foundation provided funding for Adagio Health’s “I Am Not Invisible” women veterans photography and storytelling project, an offshoot of a national effort to better recognize women veterans. The Foundation has also supported additional programming around women veterans, including Adagio Health’s Better Health Outcomes Speaker Series. Now, Highmark Foundation is helping to ensure the new RAND report commissioned by Adagio Health can further inspire and drive improvements in care and outcomes for women veterans in western Pennsylvania. 

“Highmark Health has a long history of supporting veterans throughout the communities we serve. At the Highmark Foundation, we are thrilled to continue our partnership with Adagio Health to shine a spotlight on improving the overall health and well-being of female veterans living throughout Pennsylvania,” said Yvonne Cook, President of the Highmark Foundation. “Gaining insight to the health struggles female veterans face and better understanding their current needs, helps us to reimagine a new system of care.”

Adagio Health and RAND Corporation expect to release the final report in February 2023.

This month, Adagio Health is proud to partner with Highmark Foundation in recognition of Veteran’s Day. We honor all who have served and seek to recognize and lift-up women veterans in our region.  

If you are a woman veteran in need of care, please call 1-800-215-7494 to make an appointment regardless of discharge status, length of service, or documentation. You can also visit to learn more about Adagio Health’s women veterans initiative.

About Adagio Health – For more than fifty years, Adagio Health has provided health care, nutrition, and education services in western Pennsylvania. Today, the nonprofit organization’s footprint includes seven counties in West Virginia. Adagio Health’s services include low or no cost family planning and reproductive care for women, men, and teens; screenings for breast cancer, cervical cancer, and other chronic conditions; and adult immunizations including COVID-19, flu, MMR, pneumonia and more. Adagio Health also manages the state-funded Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (BCCEDP) in 62 counties across Pennsylvania. Adagio Health serves thousands of children and families through its WIC and Power Up (SNAP-ed) nutrition programs; provides tobacco cessation services to adults and teens; and offers reproductive health education for teens and young adults. Adagio Health receives funding from the State and Federal government, foundations, individuals, and the corporate community.

About Highmark Foundation – The Highmark Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) private, charitable organization dedicated to improving the health, wellbeing, and quality of life for individuals who reside in the communities served by Highmark, Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates. We fulfill our mission by awarding high-impact grants to charitable organizations that implement evidence-based programs aimed at improving community health. Central to the Foundation’s mission is identifying and continuously reevaluating our region’s prevailing health care needs. By doing so, the Foundation remains at the forefront of those needs, well-equipped to pinpoint the issues that more urgently need support. In 2021, two new restricted funds were established at the Highmark Foundation – the Highmark West Virginia Charitable Fund for Health and the United Concordia Dental Charitable Fund. These funds support the ongoing work of the Highmark Foundation across its footprint and beyond. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @HighmarkFdn.

 About RAND Corporation – The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier, and more prosperous. RAND is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and committed to the public interest. RAND's research and analysis address issues that impact people around the world, including security, health, education, sustainability, growth, and development. As a nonpartisan organization, RAND is widely respected for operating independent of political and commercial pressures.