The VA celebrates Womens History Month

Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers of Lowell (second from left) is one of those honored by the Veterans Administration for Womens History month.

The United States Veterans Administration (VA) celebrated Women’s History Month with a blog post highlighting women who led the fight for better health care for women veterans. One of those recognized was Edith Nourse Rogers, who represented Lowell in Congress for 35 years until her death in 1960. Below is the original post from the VA’s website.

VA celebrates 100 years of advancing health care for women Veterans. For this Women’s History Month, we wanted to share the names and achievements of some of the women who have shaped VA’s history.

Honored women

Some of the women who led the way in women Veterans’ health care are pictured above. They are, from left to right:

  • Margaret D. Craighill became VA’s first chief medical consultant on women Veterans’ medical care in 1946 and appointed the first 10 doctors at VA to treat women Veterans.
  • Congresswoman Edith Nourse Rogers, chairman of the House Veterans’ subcommittee on Hospitals, recommended the construction of Veterans hospitals for women to President Hoover after a 3-month survey in more than 24 states.
  • Viola Johnson was the first African American woman to lead a VA hospital when she became director of the Battle Creek, Michigan Medical Center.
  • Mary Antoinette (Toni) Lawrie, R.N., helped establish what was then called the Well Women’s Clinic at VA Bay Pines, Florida. At the time, only one other VA hospital in the country had a full-time gynecologist on staff.
  • Joan Furey, an Army Veteran and nurse, served at VA for 30 years in a variety of positions in nursing service, nursing administration and nursing education. In 1994, she became executive director of the Women Veterans Program Office and, in 1995, became director of VA’s newly established Center for Women Veterans.
  • Susan Mather, M.D., Ph.D., became head of the Women Veterans Health Program in 1988. During her tenure, she established eight Women Veterans Comprehensive Health Centers to develop new and enhanced programs focusing on the unique health care needs of women Veterans.
  • Captain Jennifer Moreno, a San Diego native and Army nurse, deployed as part of a special operation called Cultural Support Team. She gave her life during combat operations in Afghanistan in 2013.
  • Master Sergeant Silverine Vinyard James was a pioneer in civil rights, having joined the Army during a time of racial segregation and often served as the highest-ranking enlisted woman, in fully integrated Army units.
  • Patricia M. Hayes, Ph.D., was appointed chief consultant for VA’s Women’s Health Services in 2008. In addition to currently overseeing the delivery and quality of health care for women Veterans throughout VA systems, she has been instrumental in changing VA’s language, practice and culture to be more inclusive of women.