Atlanta VA Health Care System
New Women Veterans Program Manager arrives
At each VA Medical Center nationwide, a Women Veterans Program Manager is designated to assist women Veterans in coordinating multiple services that affect their healthcare and overall well-being. After more than a year of searching for the right candidate, the Atlanta VA Medical Center recently welcomed Dr. Tasha Felton Williams as the new Women Veterans Program Manager.“My job is to ensure women Veterans receive the care they deserve,” said Felton Williams. “It’s also to ensure good quality care, and to anticipate and fulfill the needs of our female Veterans as an inpatient or outpatient within the Atlanta VA Medical Center.”
Felton Williams, an active-duty Air Force Veteran, sat down with Paige Fluker, public affairs specialist at the Atlanta VAMC, to talk more about her vision and what she brings to the table.
Dr. Felton Williams, we are so excited about your arrival! Tell me about your position and what you hope to achieve.
Well, I am the Women Veterans Program Manager for the Atlanta VA Medical Center. What this means is that I am responsible for ensuring women Veterans receive timely, good quality, gender-specific care that meets their needs. In addition to managing our program, I’m also a practicing provider, so I see women Veterans at the Women’s Center of Excellence at Ft. McPherson, as well as the Women’s Wellness clinic at the new Atlanta Clinic in Decatur.
Okay, so women Veterans are able to be seen at two different sites of care?
Actually, women Veterans are able to be seen at three different sites of care for gender-specific healthcare. I know it can be a bit confusing at times, so here’s a breakdown. The Women’s Wellness clinic located at the new Atlanta Clinic is what we call a Primary Care clinic. This is general medicine devoted to comprehensive healthcare for female Veterans of all ages. We provide minimal gynecologic care there but our gender-specific care includes contraceptive counseling, vaginal exams, and Well Woman Exams; which include Pap tests, a screening for cervical cancer. The Gynecology clinic at the Atlanta VAMC main campus is comprehensive gynecologic care. They provide various services concerning heavy menstrual bleeding, evaluation of infertility, contraceptive counseling and IUD insertion, Urogynecology, sexually transmitted infection screening and treatment, and more. Finally, our Women’s Center of Excellence located at Ft. McPherson focuses on specialty and comprehensive gynecologic care. This would include all of the comprehensive care offered within the Gynecology clinic plus specialty care services like cardiology, dermatology, and psychiatry.
That is great information, thank you for distinguishing the sites of care and services. Now that you’ve arrived, do you have any specific goals as the new program manager?
I’d really like to focus on increasing our community outreach, expanding our services at the new Atlanta Clinic, growing our presence in rural areas, and providing more options for alternative medicine. Did you know that we have acupuncture services at the Women’s Center of Excellence? That’s a great holistic treatment for our female Veterans. Lastly, I’d really like to work on educating our Primary Care Providers on women’s care. I want them to be comfortable with providing care to women Veterans and knowledgeable about common gynecologic issues.
Is there anything that we can look forward to soon?
Actually, there is. Our Women’s Center of Excellence will hopefully be able to provide maternity care beginning in fiscal year 2016. Currently, the majority of Veterans that I service are Persian Gulf era and the median age group of our patients is 48. With the inclusion of maternity care we hope to begin seeing more OIF, OEF and OND Veterans enter into the VA healthcare system.
If there is one thing that you’d like to share with our female Veterans, what would that be?
I’m here to serve. I want to make things better, but I need to hear from you and I need your input. My desire is to have our female Veterans utilizing all of the services that are available to them.
Thank you Dr. Felton Williams for taking time out of your busy schedule to chat with me, and as a female Veteran, I look forward to working with you and your team in the near future.
Dr. Felton Williams earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Alabama and also holds a Master of Science in Nursing, Master of Human Environmental Studies with a focus in Family Financial Planning, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Prior to coming to the Atlanta VA, she worked for the Department of the Army in the Obstetrics and Gynecology Clinic at Womack Army Medical Center in Ft. Bragg, N.C., and currently serves in the U.S. Air Force reserves as the Chief Nurse Executive of the 434th AMDS. She is a native of Illinois.
For more information on the Women Veterans program, contact the Atlanta VA Medical Center at (404) 321-6111 ext. 4727, or 7559.