War Related Illness and Injury Study Center
WRIISC Women’s Operational Military Exposure Network (WOMEN)
Women's Operational Military Exposure Network (WOMEN)
Mission: WOMEN combines a comprehensive clinical care program with cutting-edge research to pursue answers to military exposure effects on women who served.
Vision: To enhance, educate, and promote women Veterans health by continually asking questions, studying possibilities with proven research techniques and disseminating findings to scientific and Veteran communities.
In 2022, VA’s Office of Patient Care Services, Health Outcomes of Military Exposures (HOME), designated CA War Related Illness and Injury Study Center (WRIISC) to explore the effects of deployment related exposures have on the health and well-being of women Veterans. This has been accomplished by providing post-deployment health expertise to Veterans through clinical programs, research, and education. WOMEN was established in October 2022 to research how military women’s post-deployment health concerns and needs differ from men. Specifically, how deployment-related exposures may affect women differently in the long-term and how that affects their care needs. Using the WRIISC clinical, research, and educational teams, WOMEN will be able to identify trends to develop research questions and studies, educational materials on exposures and their unique effect on women and help to educate providers on how to best care for women Veterans with deployment-related exposure health conditions.
Toxic exposures include water/air pollutants and chemicals that an individual is exposed to during military service. These exposures affect the body through inhalation (breathing), consumption (drinking/eating), absorption through the skin, and through injection. Regardless of the pathway by which the toxic substance enters the body, toxic exposures can impact an individual’s health. Environmental toxins may impact the female reproductive system, specifically organ and hormonal systems. These impairments can lead to fertility complications and poor pregnancy outcomes. Accordingly, more research is needed to understand the links between toxic exposures and adverse health impacts in women Veterans, which is what WOMEN aims to do.
Who We Are
WOMEN staff are a diverse group of clinicians, researchers, and health & wellness experts.