Women's Health Month
May 3, 2012
By Kirk Frady
May is National Women's Health Month and the Army is taking this opportunity to promote regular checkups as critical to the early detection of various diseases and is encouraging women to visit their health care professionals to receive or schedule a checkup.
Recognizing the need to evaluate health issues faced by female Soldiers, the Army Surgeon General, in December 2011, established the Army Medicine's Women's Health Task Force. The Task Force combines talent from different disciplines: civilian and military, officer and enlisted, as well as private industry partners to assess the unique health needs and concerns of female Soldiers. As such it will conduct a thorough review of the care currently provided; identify best practices and gaps and revise, adapt and initiate practices so that healthcare providers may continue to provide and improve first class care to our female Warriors.
Maj. Brianna Perata, Executive Officer for the Army Medicine's Women's Health Task Force, said, "The Surgeon General's establishment of the Women's Health Task Force speaks volumes and clearly identifies women's health as a priority for Army Medicine… and reminds women to take care of their health 365 days a year."
Representing 14 percent of the Army's active duty fighting force and 46 percent of the eligible (Army affiliated) TRICARE beneficiaries, the health of these women plays a vital role in the Army's overall readiness.
In order for women to be fully integrated and effective members of the team, Army Medicine strives to ensure their unique health needs are being considered and met, whether they are deployed or in garrison.
"Having been in the Army nearly twelve years myself, I have seen how critical women's health is to our Army," said Perata. "From serving as Soldiers and professionals, to caring for children and Families, if our women aren't healthy, the mission is dramatically impacted." She added, "And I am not just speaking about women's health while they are young, being healthy across one's lifespan is key as women play a fundamental role in the health of their Families and communities as well."
Army Medicine continues to research various health issues with specific focus on female soldiers. Among current studies are health interventions designed to decrease gynecologic problems in the deployed environment; use of the Female Urinary Diversion Device (FUDD); and health and illness behaviors in women in a deployed setting. Army health care professionals encourage women to make their health a top priority and to take steps to improve their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health and lower their risks of certain diseases. Exercising, eating right, regular checkups and preventive screenings, avoidance of risky behaviors, and paying attention to mental health are paramount in improving one's health.
Army Medicine encourages women to be resilient and find balance. Maj. Perata said, "Whether serving on the battlefield or running things on the home front, the strength of our Army as a whole, depends greatly on the health of these women."