VA Palo Alto Health Care System
VA Palo Alto Celebrates Contributions of Women
VA Palo Alto Health Care System is no stranger to empowering women in their profession. From 20 years of dedicated leadership it saw with former director Lisa Freeman, to the more than 3,000 women that serve our Veterans every day, there’s no denying the influence of women at VAPAHCS. That is why in March, Women’s History Month acknowledges all the contributions of these women that help to make it the best place to work and for Veterans to receive their care.
With advancement in equality and a significant increase in women attaining higher education, there has been amazing growth in the number of women obtaining government positions. According to the Office of Personnel Management, the federal workforce employs nearly 900,000 women in entry positions, STEM occupations and leadership roles, accounting for 44 percent of the total workforce.
In VA, the importance of equality and inclusion of both employees and Veterans is evident in that more than half of the overall VA workforce is made up of women. According to the VA Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the number of women holding top level positions holds at 62.9 percent.
One of the positive motivating forces is the designation of a Federal Women’s Program (FWP) manager for each federal agency that helps to assist in recruitment, development, training and advancement of women.
At VAPAHCS, the FWP manager position is co-led by Nurse Manager, Rachel Mack, and Occupational Therapist, Georgette Cayabyab-Clark. Falling under the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Diversity and Inclusion, the Special Emphasis Programs receive full support from the Office of the Director.
These two women have been able to raise awareness in many different forms. For the past few years of being co-managers, they have led breast cancer walks, championed Wear Red days, initiated equality and women’s history educational campaigns, and have held speaking panel events featuring some of the brightest women in the health care system.
“Rachel and Georgette are a dynamic duo that is fully committed to women’s equality and promoting opportunities for growth and development in the workplace,” said Beth Stovall, Program Manager of EEO Diversity and Inclusion Office.
"Theirs is a story of great strength and perseverance, and one that has not always been recognized or appreciated."
For our women Veterans, this charge is led by the Women’s Health Program Manager Kathy Kulenich. Under this program, women Veterans have access to services such as the Women’s Health Center where they can receive specialty medical services.
There is also a Women’s Counseling Center (WCC) dedicated to the emotional health and well-being of women Veterans. The women’s Trauma Recovery Program provides even more intensive care with a residential treatment facility for women coping with post-traumatic stress disorder. It is the first and longest running program of its kind in the country.
As part of Women’s History Month, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Women’s Health Services (WHS) will celebrate by sharing information on the history of women in the military, their contributions and their journey to full status as Veterans, which hasn’t always been the case of women who served. The Center for Women Veterans is also highlighting stories of 10 women Veteran athletes through the Women Veteran Athletes Initiative.
From women who served as cooks, tailors and launderers during the Revolutionary War to women who toured Iraq and Afghanistan, and those on active duty today, all are an important part of America’s history. Theirs is a story of great strength and perseverance, and one that has not always been recognized or appreciated.
To learn more about the programs under the Women’s Health Program at VAPAHCS, visit the Women Veterans section of the website.