Invisible No More: Adagio Health and RAND Corporation release key findings from Women Veterans Needs Assessment
A first-of-its kind needs assessment reveals challenges women veterans face in Western PA
Pittsburgh, PA (March 8, 2023) –
Today, Adagio Health and the RAND Corporation are releasing a first-of-its-kind report on the needs of women veterans in western Pennsylvania. The report follows a year of research and was made possible with funding from the Highmark Foundation and PA Department of Human Services.
According to the report, women veterans fare worse than veteran men and nonveteran women in terms of physical health, mental health, trauma and violence exposure, alcohol and substance use disorders, and social support. Few studies have been conducted on women veterans' needs, which has led to critical gaps and missed opportunities in the support and health of women veterans in the United States.
RAND researchers drew on national and regional surveys, Adagio Health patient data, literature on women veterans’ experiences, policies and available services and resources supporting women veterans, and interviews with women veterans and service providers to gain additional insights and context for the needs assessment.
Key findings from the report include:
- Unwelcoming environments and challenges navigating systems of care can leave women veterans feeling invisible and devalued.
- Past negative experiences in health care may prevent women veterans from seeking future care.
- There is a general lack of knowledge about women veteran resources.
- Transition support is not tailored to the individual and is often overwhelming.
- Women veterans experience inadequate social support, which often leaves them feeling isolated.
- Insufficient trauma-informed practices and resources create a gap in care.
- Lack of transportation, childcare, housing, and internet access may prevent women veterans from finding or going to health care appointments.
- Burden of caregiving responsibilities complicates situations, especially for women veterans who have small children or are experiencing homelessness.
Based on findings from the report, Adagio Health plans to expand and enhance their efforts to bring quality health care, social support, and care navigation to women veterans in Western PA.
“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. “And 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 the RAND report helps us better understand their needs.”
Recommendations from the report on how to better serve women veterans include:
- Develop strong relationships with women veteran patients.
- Create and develop partnerships with other agencies and organizations to form referral pathways for patients in need.
- Expand services to serve more key areas in which women veterans struggle.
- Help women veterans understand the services available to them and where to find them.
- Address the isolating feelings women veterans experience, and especially the lack of community and social support.
- Reduce barriers to accessing health care.
- Expand trauma-informed approaches to care.
Adagio Health launched its Women Veterans Initiative in 2018 with the goal to provide exceptional health care and other supports to the more than 15,000 women veterans in our service area. The Highmark Foundation has been a staunch supporter of Adagio Health’s efforts with women veteran programs and has now ensured that Adagio Health can further drive improvements in care and outcomes for women veterans with the RAND report’s recommendations.
“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. “Having insight to the health struggles female veterans face and better understanding their current needs, helps us to reimagine a new system of care.”
With a clearer picture of the unmet needs of women veterans in Western PA, Adagio Health can continue to work to expand health care and support this often underserved community.
To read the full RAND report, please go to adagiohealth.org/womenveterans
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 adagiohealth.org/womenveterans
to learn more about Adagio Health’s Women Veterans Initiative.