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War Related Illness and Injury Study Center

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Women’s Operational Military Exposure Network Center of Excellence (WOMEN CoE)

Women's Operational Military Exposure Network Center of Excellence (WOMEN CoE)

Mission: To provide clinical care consultation and cutting-edge research for women Veterans exposed to Military Environmental Exposure (MEE)

Vision: To enhance women Veterans’ health through research and dissemination of findings on MEE


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 military environmental exposures (MEE) on the health and well-being of women Veterans. This has been accomplished by providing post-MEE health expertise to Veterans through clinical programs, research, and education. WOMEN was established in October 2022 to research how military women’s post-MEE health concerns and needs differ from men, specifically how MEE may affect women differently in the long-term and how that affects their care needs. It became a Center of Excellence in February 2024. Using the WRIISC clinical, research, and educational teams, WOMEN CoE 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 MEE-related health conditions. 

      












Exposures

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 healthEnvironmental 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 CoE aims to do. 


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Who We Are

WOMEN CoE staff are a diverse group of clinicians, researchers, and health & wellness experts.