Women's Health Newsletter – June 2022 | VA Milwaukee Health Care – Veterans Affairs


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We’d like to welcome you to our new newsletter created especially for our female Veterans. The VA Women’s Health program strives to meet your diverse and special needs. We offer women’s health specialty clinics, timely health care, outreach programs and events. We are inspired to serve you every day as part of our mission. We honor you as a diverse, brave and resilient community of female Veterans.
We asked several of our team members the question, “What inspires you most about our Women Veterans?” Their responses could not be more supportive:
“I’m inspired by their strength and resilience. They encourage me to be strong in the face of adversity…to keep pushing forward.”
“They are hardworking, strong, courageous, and selfless.”
“What inspires me is their ability to do it all. To stand next to men and do the same job.”
“I enjoy their take-charge enthusiasm for their health care.”
They are "2tronger than the average woman.”
“They had the courage to fight for their country and what they believe in.”
“Women are now valued as much as our male Veterans. They go through the same training and can now hold higher job positions. Some experience sexual trauma and soldier on with their heads held high.”
“Women Veterans show the same bravery and strength as men. Amazing!”
“Although having experienced trauma, they still come here with a positive attitude.”
They have "strength and courage. … They are our heroes.”
“Hearing about their experiences inspires me to be my best self. This motivates me to continue working hard for our women Veterans.”
Our Milwaukee VA Women's Health team, from left, Santos Olmo, Ericka Johnson, Jessica Klink, Kathryn Dilkey, Katie Wisniewski and Erin Rourke. Not pictured: Christina Helms
We are your new health coordination team. Our focus is a seamless transition from your in-house care to community services. The team works with providers to address all aspects of your care. This includes patient education, chart updates, appointments and follow-ups on abnormal test results.
We help you navigate a sometimes complex medical system. From mammograms to maternity care coordination, our goal is safe, high-quality and effective health care.
Our comprehensive gynecology clinic offers help for a wide range of health issues:
Veterans interested in gynecology services should contact their VA care provider.
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles that create a sling at the base of the pelvis. These muscles stabilize your pelvis, control bowel and bladder movements, enhance sexual function and support your pelvic organs.
More than half of us will have pelvic health issues in our lifetime. The pelvic floor may be weak or stretched. The muscles may be tight, tense or function poorly. Any of these issues can cause pelvic floor dysfunction.
Common symptoms:
The good news is physical therapy can help!
The Milwaukee and Green Bay VA have specially trained pelvic health physical therapists to treat you. The physical therapist can:
Discuss any symptoms you may have with your doctor. Be sure to ask for a consultation for pelvic health physical therapy.
Women’s Health Primary Care (PACT Team) allows you to see multiple health care providers in one visit. A provider, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, medical service assistant, pharmacist, dietician, social worker and mental health professional manage your health care. Primary Care serves Milwaukee, Green Bay, Union Grove, Cleveland and Appleton.
Primary Care includes general medical care and preventive care.
General medical care treats urgent illnesses and chronic conditions.
Preventive care includes early measures to prevent disease or conditions. Examples:
Primary Care offers online VA Video Connect (VVC) and phone visits. Interact with your provider from your own home using a smartphone, computer or tablet.
We know these exams can be difficult for you. We will make you as comfortable as possible. Our team can get you the care you need if not available onsite.
My name is Dr. Amy Farkas, and I run our breast cancer risk assessment clinic at the Milwaukee VA. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives. The good news is we have great treatments. Women diagnosed with early breast cancer have excellent survival and cure rates. You can take steps to reduce your risk of breast cancer in several ways:
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
We know that being overweight or obese increases risk for breast cancer.
Exercise
We also know that exercise can help to reduce breast cancer risk.
Reduce Alcohol Intake
Even one glass of alcohol a day has been shown to increase a woman’s risk.
Screenings help detect early-stage disease when it is more easily treated:
Mammogram screenings are very important. The VA does not offer on-site mammograms, but they are covered by your VA benefits. Talk to your doctor about a testing schedule that’s right for you. Community Care can help set up an appointment at a facility near you!
Questions? Contact our mammogram coordinator at 414-384-2000, ext. 45004
Your VA now has a Maternity Care Coordinator to guide you through your maternity care. Services cover conception to postpartum, and community care.
VA maternity services include:
Contact your VA primary care provider or the maternity care coordinator for more information: 414-384-2000, ext. 46365
VA offers a new, four-session group for pregnant women called Healthy Beginnings. It prepares you for the physical and emotional challenges of pregnancy and having a baby.
The sessions are led by a physical therapist and mental health professional who help you learn skills for this special time of life. This includes simple exercises and strategies to manage common symptoms of pregnancy.
You’ll learn proper body mechanics, labor and delivery positions and ways to aid recovery after delivery.
The program also includes mental and emotional support through the ROSE program. ROSE stands for Reach Out Stay Strong Essentials. It builds self-care and community care. It teaches communication and goal-setting skills. ROSE has been shown to reduce rates of postpartum depression.
Classes meet once a month online. Pregnant women can call the maternity care coordinator if interested.
Women’s Health, in conjunction with Voluntary Service, will host its second Baby Shower for Female Veterans on Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, from 2-3 p.m. at Lake Wheeler (weather permitting).
Our first baby shower was last year. The community came together and donated more than $27,000 in cash and baby items. The Milwaukee VA provided a huge tote filled with brand new gifts for new and expecting moms.
Staff loaded up the women with goodies as they drove through the checkpoint. The moms also received pictures at a photo booth and enjoyed sweet treats too. The event was a great success!
Moms not able to attend picked up their presents from staff later.
If you would like to participate, RSVP no later than Friday, July 1, to katie.wisniewski@va.gov.
Whole Health is a Veteran-driven approach that puts you at the center of your health care. The process empowers and equips you to take charge of your health and well-being. Whole Health uses eight areas of well-being:
Are you looking to make a change in any of these areas? Then Whole Health programs are for you. Please join us any of our WH health and wellness groups such as yoga, tai chi, qigong, skill-building, pathway and
more to start living your best life!
For more information, contact 414-384-2000, ext. 43611.
Women Only – Taking Charge of My Life and Health (nine-week group):
Women Only – Group or Individual Health Coaching (eight weeks):
The Healthy Teaching Kitchen (HTK) is a series of cooking classes that provides nutrition knowledge, cooking skills and guided practice. Its purpose is to build Veteran confidence in cooking healthy meals at home.
The Milwaukee VA offers two different series of HTK Classes. HTK Basics is open to all enrolled Veterans while Women’s Health HTK is for female Veterans only. Both series are held online with VA Video Connect (VVC). HTK supports hands-on practice as Veterans cook along with the instructor. Learn new cooking techniques or polish your old skills. Prepare and enjoy delicious, healthy recipes. Women Veterans who complete the full four-week series of Women HTK Classes can receive a Healthy Cooking Toolkit (while supplies last).
To enroll, contact:
Sandy Raguse
414-384-2000, ext. 47387
 
My HealtheVet is an online site that allows you 24-hour access to your essential health and military records. Uploaded records can be safely and securely shared with providers, family members, or caregivers.
You can:
To set up your account or for questions, please contact:
My HEALTHeVET coordinator
414-384-2000, ext. 42141
www.myhealth.va.gov
The VA cares about Veterans affected by Intimate Partner Violence. Intimate Partner Violence is a public health problem that affects Veterans at a high rate. The VA Intimate Partner Violence Assistance Program (IPVAP) serves Veterans, family members and VA employees affected by Intimate Partner Violence.
IPVAP promotes relationship health and wellness. The program aids healing and growth for Veterans dealing with IPV. IPVAP aims to reduce conflict, support health, and improve health and quality of life. All of these are necessary for good physical and mental health.
We encourage Veterans, their partners, and VA staff to talk with their local IPVAP Coordinator for available resources and services. Together we can make a difference.
Please contact Andrea Knowlton, LCSW, for more information:
414-384-2000, ext. 43874
Partner with us to shape the Women’s Health program in the future. Join us for our focus group held every three months.
Your opinions, ideas and feelings matter. We value your feedback to help us improve the program to better meet your needs.
Email us to be placed on our list if you like future notifications: IAMAFEMALEVETERAN@va.gov.
Stay in touch with the latest news
VA provides quality health care to our national Veterans, and we are committed to Owning the Moment to make every encounter a positive patient experience! Your feedback is essential in helping your VA serve you better. You may receive a short survey from VA asking about your experience if you provided your email address.
Benefits of surveys:
You may receive surveys for your experience in the following areas:
Have concerns about your experience? Our Milwaukee VA has a Patient Advocate Office that can help with:
Advocates are available by phone Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
414-384-2000 or (toll free) 1-888-469-6614, ext. 42604
Community Care Scheduling
414-384-2000, extension 45252
Community Care Billing
844-839-6120
Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)
1-800-827-1000
Women Veteran Call Center
1-855-829-6636
Women Veteran Program Manager
414-384-2000, ext. 45795
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