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Consortium focuses on servicewomen's health

The Defense Department’s largest longitudinal study on the long-term health effects of military service, the Millennium Cohort Study, is taking a new turn in 2015 and will be focusing on women.

The Naval Health Research Center has created the Consortium on the Health and Readiness of Servicewomen, which aims to address the gender gap in health research studies that affect military servicewomen.

“There’s years of research on males, but very little on females,” Jay Heaney, a consortium member and senior research physiologist at the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego, said in a release.

The consortium – which includes scientists from the Army, Air Force and Navy,  academic institutions, government, private organizations and members involved in the Millennium Cohort Study – aims to promote existing research and support new collaborative studies that can help guide Defense Department personnel policies. 

Some of the issues that will be studied include the effects of deployments on military families; gender differences in coping with trauma and stress; the integration of women into newly opened or nontraditional occupations; and differences in suicidal behavior for men and women.

“We need to reinforce the idea that a lot of these topics overlap and have a wide variety of implications for the military,” said Cynthia Thomsen, a consortium member and research psychologist with the Naval Health Research Center.

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