with Kayla Williams, Director of the VA Center for Women Veterans
Posted Nov 02, 2017
Share the Video
Women comprise about 10 percent of the veteran population today, and are projected to make up about 16.3 percent by 2043. And while this population continues to grow rapidly, so does the need for proper health care and housing services. Kayla Williams, Director of the VA Center for Women Veterans discusses some of the challenges women veterans face today and how her organization is working to resolve them. This discussion continues in part 2 of Women Vets.
Robert Traynham:Since 2000, the number of female veterans receiving healthcare from the Veterans Health Administration has more than doubled. With half of all women veterans projected to use VA benefits by 2019, the VA services and approach are evolving. Hello everyone and welcome to Comcast Newsmakers, I'm Robert Traynham. My guest is Kayla Williams. She is director of the VA center for womens veterans. Kayla, welcome to the program.Kayla W:Thank you so much for having me, Robert.Robert Traynham:That's an interesting fact that I just mentioned a few moments ago. Tell me a little bit more about that.Kayla W:So there are about two million women [00:00:30] veterans today and a lot of people don't necessarily know that women have been serving in our military since the Revolutionary War. However, we haven't necessarily been recognized as veterans. I know when I came home from Iraq back in 2004, groups of us would go out to get a beer, celebrate coming home alive from a combat zone, and somebody would say, "Hey somebody get those guys a round." And would take it really literally, and buy the guys a round and assume that the women who were present were not veterans themselves. And so changing [00:01:00] that perception to help folks understand that women are veterans that we are serving, in a really vastly increasing number of roles as well, is one of the important parts of my position.Robert Traynham:You know, Kayla, thank you for mentioning that because I think there is a stereotype out there, or at least there was, that women perhaps maybe served in a nursing role, or a caregiver role, wearing a uniform but in a different role. But I think it's important to raise the awareness that women have and do continue to serve our country [00:01:30] in a various wider spectrum of job duties, so thank you for mentioning that. Walk me through specifically some of the unit challenges, if any, that women veterans have, particularly in the VA system?Kayla W:So because VA was established back when women were limited by law to only two percent of the military, the system as a whole really was established primarily to serve men. And as the percent of women in the military started to climb, it's now roughly 15 percent of the total force-Robert Traynham:Is it really 15 percent?Kayla W:Mm-hmm (affirmative). So we're projected, [00:02:00] we're about 10 percent of the veteran population today, we'll be about 15 percent of the veteran population by 2035. So VA has been working very hard to ensure that it can care properly for women veterans, dramatically increasing the providers who have the skills necessary to serve women veterans, making sure that facilities are well equipped to be able to serve them. Some of that effort has paid off incredibly well. Today women who come to VA for their healthcare are more [00:02:30] likely to get breast cancer screenings and cervical cancer screenings than women using any other sector of healthcare in America.Robert Traynham:It sounds like the front of the house, for lack of a better term, is really evolving, if you will. What about the back of the house? What about the staff? What about the culture of the VA? Has that evolved as well?Kayla W:We are working hard on culture change. I can tell you, as a patient, there are times when I come to VA to get my care and the parking lot attendant tries to direct me towards employee parking. I'd say, "No, no, no, I'm here as a patient." And every now and then, somebody will say, "Oh are you [00:03:00] here with your husband?" So we're working really hard to correct that and help make sure that everyone knows that women are veterans themselves. Fact, one of the projects that I worked on this year that I was really excited about, we did in partnership with an organization called The Veteran Artist Program. We worked with them to get an exhibit of art by 10 women veterans in 10 VA medical centers nationwide throughout march, which is women's history month. That exhibit has gone on to a couple dozen other VA medical centers nationwide. [00:03:30] It's been featured in Starbucks locations and beyond. So I'm really excited at the success of this innovative exhibit, this innovative partnership in raising awareness of women as veterans, our service, sacrifice, diversity, strength, and resilience.
As the Special Olympics celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018, we take a look back at the early days, when Eunice Kennedy Shriver created a backyard summer camp for people with intellectual disabilities. Today, there are 4.9 million Special Olympics athletes from more than 172 countries.
The LGBTQ fight for equal rights became organized in 1969, after the riots at New York City's Stonewall Inn. LGBTQ civil rights activist and author Mark Segal has been involved in the movement from its beginning. Mark joins Robert Traynham for a candid and intimate discussion about his life, his role in the fight for equality, and the state of LGBTQ rights across America and around the globe. Mark is the publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News. Interview recorded on May 17, 2017.
The Asian American Pacific Islander community makes up six percent of the U.S. population, but is growing more than four times as rapidly as the total U.S. population. Asians are the largest group of immigrants to enter the U.S. as immigrants. A conversation with Janelle Wong, Senior Researcher at AAPI Data about the fastest-growing but one of the understudied racial groups in the United States.
The 2018 Special Olympics USA Games will be hosted this summer in Seattle, with more than 4,000 athletes and coaches representing 50 states and the District of Columbia. Jason Schriml of the Special Olympics USA Games discussed the impact the games and this organization that highlights athletes with intellectual disabilities through highly competitive sports, uplifting experiences, and demonstrating inclusion for all.
Preparations are underway for the 2020 United States Census. A fair and accurate count of all communities is of major importance, as data gathered is used to determine federal funding, congressional representation and more. For some populations, including Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the process can be of concern due to immigration status, language barriers and fear of providing personal information. John Yang, President and Executive Director of Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC joins Robert Traynham to discuss the importance of an accurate count, especially for the AAPI population in America.
Filipino Americans make up the third largest subgroup of Asian Americans today, with millennials comprising nearly a quarter of this population. And while there about 4 million Filipino and Filipino Americans living in the U.S today, this population is underrepresented in political and leadership roles. Brendan Flores, National Chairman of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations joins Robert Traynam to discuss the welfare and well-being of Filipino Americans and efforts to strengthen the personal and professional development of young Filipino Americans.
Women comprise about 10 percent of the veteran population today, and are projected to make up about 16.3 percent by 2043. And while this population continues to grow rapidly, so does the need for proper health care and housing services. Kayla Williams, Director of the VA Center for Women Veterans discusses some of the challenges women veterans face today and how her organization is working to resolve them. Click here for part 1 of Women Vets.
On Saturday, April 21, 2018, members of the Fuller Park community, Comcast employees, and people from all over Chicago came together to perform a day of service to transform and uplift Tilden Career Community Academy High School in the Fuller Park neighborhood through physical service. In 2012, Tilden entered turnaround in order to provide a stronger school environment for their students. No longer in turnaround, Tilden is now a Convergence Academy. In partnership with Columbia College, Tilden has integrated digital media into teaching and learning, in order to give students a chance to Create, Consume, and Connect.
Volunteers participated in service projects that engender school pride, inspire student success outside of the classroom and after graduation, and made Tilden a more positive social environment for students.
Yolanda Vazquez speaks with Marilyn Pick, a Board Member from the Miles that Matter Pikesville 5K Run-Walk, about how the 5K is fun for the whole family. All money from the event will be donated to the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.