WASHINGTON – Five new members have been appointed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, an expert panel that advises VA on issues and programs affecting women veterans. Larri Gerson, an Air Force veteran who serves as a claims examiner for the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs and webmaster for the National Association of State Women Veterans Coordinators, was among those selected. She is the former state women-veterans coordinator for the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
“VA relies on the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans to provide insight on key issues that impact the women veteran population. The Committee’s recommendations provide guidance that direct VA’s efforts to identify and address the diverse needs of women veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “VA welcomes the newest members.”
Established in 1983, the committee makes recommendations to the Secretary for administrative and legislative changes. In addition to Gerson, the new committee members, who are appointed to two-year terms, are: Gina Chandler, Bryant, Ark.; Mary Morin, Raymond, N.H.; Charlotte S. Smith, Farmington, N.M.; and Mary Westmoreland, Bronxville, N.Y..
“Women serving in the military continue to demonstrate their dedication in defense of our great Nation,” Shinseki added. “VA remains committed to providing women veterans with equitable, quality benefits and services that appropriately meet their needs.”
Women veterans are one of the fastest growing segments of the veterans’ population. Of the approximately 22 million living veterans, about 1.9 million are women. They comprise nearly 9 percent of the total veterans’ population and nearly 5 percent of all veterans who use VA health care services. There are about 140,000 women veterans in Florida.
VA has women-veterans-program managers at VA medical centers and women-veterans coordinators at VA regional offices to assist women veterans with health and benefits issues.
For more information, visit http://www.va.gov/womenvet/