Healthcare Services for Female Veterans

As part of our "Help for Our Heroes" series, Steve Adubato goes One-on-One with Patrice Picard, CEO of Cornerstone Family Programs to discuss how her organization is helping female veterans get the healthcare services they need.

12/7/17 #2091






"Steve Adubato coming to you from the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey. We are having a series of conversations, part of a series we're doing called Help For Our Heroes, we just did an in depth panel discussion with a group of experts who care deeply about veterans. And we're now joined by Patrice Picard, CEO of Cornerstone Family Programs. Which does? Multidisciplinary organization. So we do programs from toddlers, all the way through seniors, even adult day centers. We serve a lot... we have a lot of children's programs, but really, what we are really excited about is our military program. We were founded in 1813 to serve families from the War of 1812. So for us, it's really incredible to be able to be serving military families at this point in time. You know, one of the topics that came up in our discussion, our roundtable discussion, was the need to provide help, services, for women veterans. And some said in that room, and I'm not even sure if it was you, is that women veterans don't identify as veterans. Explain that. So women tend to identify as mothers, as daughters, as caregivers, they don't identify as veterans. And what we found is that the women don't identify as veterans because they have not been in direct combat, they don't see their job as important as some of the men's jobs in their perception. So when we talk to them, we ask them, "Did you serve?" And when they say "Yes", they're almost surprised that we say, "Well, you're a veteran." But if they don't identify as veterans, how much harder is it Patrice, for them to access the help they need, whether it's mental health, whether it's oral, dental health, whether it's helping to get trained for employment, whatever? If they don't identify in that way, isn't there a conundrum there? Yeah, they don't... they don't access the services that they need. They don't even look to see what services they're eligible to access. So it's really difficult. We were in a conversation with a woman in a whole different setting, and we explained our program, and she said, "Oh, you know, I served in the military, and I've never spoken about it, even to my husband." So... How can we change that? I mean, for those of us in the media, what could and should we be doing? I think we need to talk about women's service. And I think we need to talk about it both in the issues that arise from sexual trauma, and all of the other things... Sexual trauma? Yes. Could you talk about that for me? Sure. Almost to a woman, most of..."