Women Veterans - VA Providence Healthcare System
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VA Providence Healthcare System


Women Veterans

The VA Providence Healthcare System serves more than 2,600 enrolled women Veterans. The program collaborates with the new Intimate Partner Violence Program and has spearheaded the End Harassment and Please Don’t Call Me Mister campaigns to educate staff and Veterans. We strive to continually to improve care for women Veterans, increasing the number of women’s health providers with comprehensive women’s health trainings. Most recently, we organized a Women’s Health Mini Residency for New England, organized events including Women’s Health Week and a Women Veteran Baby Shower. A women’s health education summit provided staff education about women’s comprehensive care and suicide prevention. A grant to reduce suicide risk among female Veterans engages telehealth in the effort. 

Women Veterans within the VA Providence HCS have a choice to receive their care at the Women’s Health Clinic, within the main hospital, or at one of our community-based outpatient clinics. Women will be assigned a women’s health provider skilled in the unique needs of women’s health. They will receive privacy, dignity and sensitivity to their gender-specific needs they have earned through their service and sacrifice. A full-time Women Veterans Program Manager is ready to assist women Veterans in getting timely access to the health care services they need, including primary care, mental and behavioral health services, and reproductive health care, such as maternity care and infertility evaluation. We have two gynecologists on staff, one of whom is the lead gynecologist for the VA New England Healthcare System.

                  March is Women's History Month!

Barrington, RI resident and WWII Veteran woman turns 100-years old!

Here is her story:

Yvette Vary (Richard) Barrington, RI

She was born March 22, 1921 in Central Falls. She was the oldest of 3 siblings and grew up in Central Falls. Her father was a house painter, and both her parents were from Canada. Her father actually served in WWI as a Private. He served in France from July 1918 to July 1919. She left high school with one year left to go at age 17 to work as a braid inspector in Pawtucket because money was tight. She, along with her younger brother and younger sister, all enlisted in the Navy. She enlisted in April of 1944 and received an honorable discharge in 1946. She served in Quonset and attained the rank of Seaman First Class, performing the duties of a Yeoman.

She met my father’s brother who served in the Navy (He was an Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd class) and they married after they were discharged. He died in a car accident in 1958. They were married for about 10 years. 

In 1947 she took flying lessons just to do it. 

After her Navy discharge she went on to earn her high school equivalency in 1951. And then graduated from Bryant College in 1954. She worked in the secretarial field after graduation from Bryant and lived in Pawtucket. She married again in her late 50’s to Paul Vary who was a WWII Vet and served in France during the conflict. (He was a Technical Sergeant). She worked with him at his construction company until they retired. He died in 2012.

She is remarkably agile, and her memory is not awful. She looks years younger than she is and is always elegantly dressed. Her favorite things to do are still shopping at Macy’s and going out to lunch and she enjoys going to the salon once a week. She loves her Veteran license plate, and you could often find us out at Newport Creamery or Talbots in town. 

She will absolutely know what is going on and will be delighted. She will wear her Navy uniform. She was actively involved in the Navy Wave organization throughout her life and I accompanied her on an Honor Flight and took her to the Women’s Memorial where she was honored for her service.

ABC6 Article 

(Governor Daniel McKee, Senator Jack Reed &Tonya Maselli McConnell, WVPM PVAHCS, Dr. Lauren Schlanger, Acting Women’s Health Medical Director PVAHCS, Director Kasim Yarn, State of RI Veterans Affairs, Senator David Cicilline, Ms. Vary’s niece Lynn  Ruggeri & WWII Veteran Yvette Vary (seated)

 Coventry HS ROTC marching in a parade 
(Coventry HS JROTC Color Guard presentation during parade)

See the Providence Journal story about ... A nurse in Vietnam, she’s still paying the price -- Kathy Murray, of Fall River, was just 19 when she enlisted in the Army in July of 1966. She was looking for adventure, a way to see beyond the state line of Massachusetts, and a means to pay her last $150 tuition bill for nursing school at St. Luke's School of Nursing in New Bedford... 

See the story of the first first Rhode Island all-women Veterans Honor Flight in 2019. The crew and 44 women Veterans flew from Rhode Island to spend the day in Washington, D.C. The group included Veterans from World War II to the Global War on Terrorism. The oldest was 96 years old and the youngest was 35: 

Women Veterans Program Manager
Your Women Veterans Program Manager here in Providence is Tonya Maselli McConnell, LICSW, BCD.  You can reach Tonya at (401) 273-7100, extension 16191.  She can answer your questions about the program and assist you with enrollment.

The following services are available for women Veterans:

General Health
- Primary Care
- Gynecological Care
- Maternity Care
- Birth Control
- Infertility Evaluation and Treatment
- Menopause Evaluation/Treatment
- Osteoporosis Screening/Treatment           
- Cancer Screenings
- Mammograms
- Wellness and Healthy Living
- Nutrition and Weight Management
- Stop Smoking Program

Mental Health
Management of Depression, Anxiety, and Stress
- Adjustment from Deployment        
- Counseling and Treatment for:
  - Military Sexual Trauma
  - Parenting and Caregiver Issues
  - Violence and Abuse
  - Alcohol and Drug Dependence

Special Programs
Vocational Rehabilitation
- Educational Opportunities
- Links to Job and Career Counseling
- Services for Homeless Veterans
- MOVE! – Managing Overweight Veterans Everywhere

For Women Veterans, VA is Here

VA welcomes women Veterans. We are committed to providing high-quality services in a sensitive and safe environment at all VA facilities. Women Veteran Program Managers are available at each VA medical center to assist women Veterans with questions and coordinate services (see contact information on this page).

Each woman Veteran is assigned a Women’s Health Primary Care Provider. These experienced providers are trained to deliver comprehensive primary care, as well as routine women’s health care. You will be at the center of a Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) where a provider, nurse, and others will work with you to manage your health care:

  • Primary care: general medical care for acute and chronic conditions, such as chronic pain, high blood pressure, and diabetes
  • Preventive care: immunizations and cancer screenings (breast and cervical), osteoporosis screening and management
  • Gender-specific care
  • Birth control, family planning, and preconception counseling

Learn more about the gender-specific services VA has to offer

Women Veterans Call Center

The Women Veterans Call Center provides women Veterans information about VA services and resources, benefits, and eligibility. The toll-free line is available Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m.–10:00 p.m. ET and on Saturdays 8:00 a.m.–6:30 p.m. ET. Please see our Women Veterans Call Center website or call 855-VA-WOMEN (855-829-6636). Call, chat, or text are all available.