A recent supplementary edition of Women’s Health Issues, sponsored by the Veterans Affairs (VA) Cooperative Studies Program, features research reports and commentaries on the growing number of women veterans and their unique health needs. ORWH Associate Director for Clinical Research Margaret Bevans, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, and ORWH Director Janine A. Clayton, M.D., contributed a commentary, titled “Integrating the Influence of Sex and Gender in Research: Keeping Women Veterans in Focus.”
In the article, Drs. Bevans and Clayton posit that quality medical care for women veterans stems from an integrated consideration of military-related health needs and of the influence of sex and gender on health. The authors discuss how combat stress and exposure affect women differently than they affect men and how women veterans can have different health concerns than civilian women, including increased risk for some medical conditions. Drs. Bevans and Clayton also cite several studies relevant to military personnel and veterans that incorporate the influence of sex and gender. This research identifies, for example, how women and men require different ergonomic designs for military equipment, respond to pain differently, and cope with adversity differently.
The authors describe how recent policies demonstrate the VA’s commitment to delivering quality, sex- and gender-appropriate health care to women veterans. The authors point to consistencies between VA and NIH research initiatives, practices, and policies, including the NIH policies on sex as a biological variable and the inclusion of women in clinical research, which function to ensure that biomedical research remains relevant to all populations of women and men, including veterans and civilians.
The full text of the commentary is available here.
(Original article by Bevans and Clayton. 2019. Women’s Health Issues, 29 Supplement 1: S9–S11.)
Top image: Dr. Janine A. Clayton
Bottom image: Dr. Margaret Bevans